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Pike County murders: Former county prosecutor at center of debate

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Posted at 4:07 PM, Jan 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-02 16:07:08-05

Whether a former Clark County prosecutor should be allowed to participate as a special prosecutor in the case surrounding eight family members killed in Pike County is at issue in several court filings.

Andy Wilson, who was the Clark County prosecutor between 2011 and 2019 before leaving to join Gov. Mike DeWine’s cabinet, was appointed special prosecutor earlier this year in the cases.

The Pike County murders caught the nation’s attention when eight people were killed in the middle of the night, a case that launched a mult-year investigation by Ohio authorities. Christopher Rhoden, 40, Kenneth Rhoden, 44, Gary Rhoden, Dana Lynn Rhoden, 37, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20, Hanna Mae Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Hannah Gilley were killed.

Four people, George “Billy” Wagner III; his wife, Angela Wagner; and their sons, George Wagner IV and Edward “Jake” Wagner, have been charged. They have all pleaded not guilty.

The defense for Jake Wagner is asking the court to remove Wilson from the case citing a conflict of interest and state law. They say that the governor’s office has major influence over the state’s public defense office — which employs the lawyers for Jake Wagner.

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