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Pike County murders: 1 of 6 suspects makes first court appearance

UPDATE @ 2:42 p.m. (Nov. 14):

George “Billy” Wagner III waived extradition on the murder charges filed against him during his initial appearance in a Fayette County, Kentucky, courtroom, according to CNN affiliate LEX18.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: 

>>Death penalty possible for 4 of 6 arrested in Rhoden slayings

>>Ohio AG DeWine lays out charges in 2016 Rhoden family killings

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>>Who are the Wagners? Pike County murder investigators want to know

Extradition is when one law enforcement agency captures a suspect who is wanted in another jurisdiction and returns the suspect to the law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed.

George “Billy” Wagner III must be back in Ohio by Dec. 7, however, the deputy Ohio attorney general said he would return well before that, according to LEX18.

George “Billy” Wagner III was arrested Tuesday by Lexington police on Georgetown Road.

According to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, he was contacted by the Pike County sheriff a couple days ago and asked if he could house George "Billy" Wagner III in the Butler County Jail in Hamilton. Jones told the sheriff that he would.

“I have heard he has waived extradition, but I do not know for sure if he is coming. I haven’t heard from the sheriff and I haven’t bothered him; he has been busy,” Jones said.

Jones said Pike County prisoners have routinely been housed in the Butler County Jail, as many as 80 at a time. 

The four Wagner family members are being held in jails in separate counties.

“I assume that they don’t want them in the same jail (to avoid contact with each other). The grapevine in a jail travels fast,” Jones said.

Prosecutor Stephen Shoemaker talked to the media regarding the hearing of Billy Wagner who was arrested in Lexington, Ky., on suspicion in the deaths of 8 people in Pike County, Ohio.

UPDATE @ 11:04 a.m.: 

The mothers of two suspects in the 2016 Pike County killings are scheduled to be in court Thursday for their roles in an alleged coverup.

Fredericka Wagner, mother of  George “Billy” Wagner III, and Rita Newcomb, mother of Angela Wagner, are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon in Pike County, according to a court official.
Wagner and Newcomb are charged with perjury and obstruction of justice.

Newcomb also is facing a forgery charge.

INITIAL STORY:

George “Billy” Wagner III is scheduled to appear in a Kentucky courtroom a day after he and other family members were arrested in connection to the 2016 killings of eight Rhoden family members in Pike County. 

LATEST COVERAGE: Pike County murders: 5 questions answered Wednesday morning

>>Attorney General: A ‘picture emerged’ as Pike County murder investigation progressed

Billy will appear for an extradition hearing at 1 p.m. in a Lexington courtroom, according to court records. 

COMPLETE COVERAGE: 

>>Death penalty possible for 4 of 6 arrested in Rhoden slayings

>>Ohio AG DeWine lays out charges in 2016 Rhoden family killings

>>Who are the Wagners? Pike County murder investigators want to know

Billy was arrested in Lexington Tuesday after he and other family members were indicted on several charges connected to the murders of the eight Rhodens. 

We are still working to learn when the other members of the Wagner family will appear in Ohio courtrooms. The other family members were arrested in Ohio and are being detained in four county jails -- Pickaway, Franklin, Ross, and Delaware counties. 

Tuesday, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office announced the arrests of Billy, 47, Angela Wagner, 48, and their sons George Wagner IV, 27, and Edward “Jake” Wagner after they were indicted on eight counts of aggravated murder, among other charges connected to the killings. 

Each count, for each victim, carries a death penalty specification. 

Authorities made two additional arrests for the “cover-up” of the crime, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. 

Fredericka Wagner, the mother of Billy Wagner, and Rita Newcomb, the mother of Angela Wagner, were indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice. Newcomb also was indicted on forgery charges, according to court documents.

PREVIOUS REPORTS: 

Pike County murders: ‘Active and ongoing’ continues 

Pike County murders: 3 big questions, 2 years later

Rhoden family member’s Pike County death came from gunshot to chest

Pike County murders: Alaska, Ohio police ‘inundated’ with tips

The six were indicted in the deaths of Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Dana Manley Rhoden, 37; Hanna May Rhoden, 19; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 20; Kenneth Rhoden, 44; and Gary Rhoden, 38, all found dead April 22, 2016. 

This story will be updated throughout the day with the latest as it becomes available. 

PHOTO CREDIT WCPO-TV

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