Pike County massacre suspect George Wagner IV ordered to have no contact with co-defendants

Posted at 11:16 AM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 18:24:19-05

WAVERLY, Ohio — George Wagner IV, one of the suspects in the Pike County massacre, appeared in court wearing civilian clothes for a brief pretrial hearing Wednesday.

Wagner, wearing a black shirt and vest and striped tie red tie, listened quietly as Judge Randy Deering ordered that he have no contact with his co-defendants in the case of eight killings. His attorneys said they had already instructed him not to contact them and to report any attempts by them to contact him.

He is charged with 22 crimes, including eight counts of aggravated murder, in the deaths of eight members of the Rhoden family in April 2016. Authorities said Wagner, along with his parents and brother, spent months conspiring before fatally shooting the eight victims in four separate homes in rural Pike County.

Wagner pleaded not guilty in November. He is being held without bond until his trial.

His next pretrial hearing is scheduled for March 22.

Earlier this week, Wagner's mother, Angela Wagner, appeared in court for a pretrial hearing. Deering also ordered that she have no contact with her family members who are charged with the crimes. Unlike her son, she appeared wearing a jail uniform. Her attorneys have filed a motion seeking to allow her to wear civilian clothes in court.

On Thursday, George Wagner's maternal and paternal grandmothers, Rita Jo Newcomb and Fredericka Wagner, are also due in court for pretrial hearings. Investigators said they lied to an investigative grand jury and helped cover up the crimes. Both women were released from jail but are placed under house arrest.