Pike County massacre suspect Edward "Jake" Wagner pleads not guilty

Posted at 6:30 AM, Nov 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-27 14:26:47-05

WAVERLY, Ohio -- One of the four suspects charged in the murder of the Rhoden family pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday morning. 

Edward “Jake” Wagner pleaded not guilty to 23 counts and specifications. A judge agreed he would be held without bond. Jake Wagner also waived his right to a speedy trial.

Judge Randy Deering granted a gag order requested by the prosecution and defense, which prevents all parties, including law enforcement, from talking to the media about the case. 

It’s not clear what role Jake Wagner is suspected of playing in the 2016 murders of eight members of the Rhoden family. Investigators believe Jake Wagner was in a custody dispute with one of the victims, 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden.

The family trees of the Wagners and the Rhodens. Graphic courtesy of The Journal-News.

Authorities arrested Jake Wagner, his brother, George Wagner IV, and parents, George “Billy” Wagner III and Angela Wagner on Nov. 13. 

Jake Wagner faces additional charges for having sexual contact with Hanna Rhoden when she was 15 years old and he was 20.

Jake Wanger’s first pre-trial date is scheduled for 11 a.m. Dec. 20. 

Officials set the following court dates:

Edward “Jake” Wagner

  •  9 a.m. Nov. 27

George Wagner IV 

  • 10 a.m. Nov. 28 

Angela Wagner 

  • 1:30 p.m. Nov. 29

George “Billy” Wagner

  • 1:30 p.m. Dec. 4