WAVERLY, Ohio — The trial for the matriarch of the Pike County family accused of killing eight people was delayed on Monday.
Rita Jo Newcomb, 66, stands accused of perjury, obstructing justice and forgery to protect her daughter, son-in-law and grandsons charged in the murders of eight members of the Rhoden family in 2016.
Jury selection for Newcomb’s trial was supposed to begin on Monday, but her trial was delayed. Now, a hearing will be held on Dec. 2.
Prosecutors asked for a delay in the trial earlier this month because of late evidence, but Judge Randy Deering denied this motion last week.
MORE: Here’s why this was such a surprise - earlier this month, prosecutors asked for a delay because of late evidence. Defense fired back saying this needed to get done. Judge Deering agreed - here’s his decision denying the delay last week. @wcpo pic.twitter.com/REn4aRJpGb— Evan Millward (@EvanMillward) November 18, 2019
Newcomb is accused of lying to cover up her family's involvement in the Pike County massacre, but she isn’t implicated in the murder itself. Her charges stem from reportedly lying to a grand jury and forging custody documents. In subsequent hearings, she's been warned against aiding the legal defense of four members of the Wagner family charged with the murders after a judge issued a no-contact order.
Newcomb’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons were charged with the aggravated murders of eight members of the Rhoden family, charges which carry death penalty specifications, and other crimes.
Her daughter is Angela Wagner, who is married to George “Billy” Wagner and is the mother of Edward “Jake” Wagner and George Wagner IV. They have all pleaded not guilty.
Eight members of the Rhoden family, including Kenneth Rhoden, 44; Christopher Rhoden, Sr., 40; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 37; Hannah Gilley, 20; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Hanna Rhoden, 19; and Christopher Rhoden, Jr., 16, were found dead in four homes on April 22, 2016.