George Wagner IV appears in court for motion hearing Monday


WAVERLY, Ohio (WDTN) – George Wagner IV, one of four family members accused of killing eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County, appeared in court Monday.

Wagner’s motion hearing was originally scheduled for April 28, but was postponed after one of Wagner’s defense attorneys said they needed to “step back and reassess” the case.

George Wagner IV has previously pleaded not guilty to 22 charges, including eight counts of aggravated murder with death penalty specifications.

Along with George Wagner IV, those facing charges are: Angela Wagner, George “Billy” Wagner III and Jake Wagner.

The shootings took place the night of April 21 and the morning of April 22, 2016. Eight members of the Rhoden family were shot and killed in four Pike County homes.

Christopher Rhoden Sr., Dana Rhoden, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, Christopher Rhoden Jr., Hanna Rhoden, Hannah Gilley, Gary Rhoden and Kenneth Rhoden were all found dead the morning of April 22, 2016. The Pike County Sheriff’s Office said three young children, including a baby, were discovered unharmed.

Redacted autopsy reports show most victims were shot multiple times.

Then-Attorney General Mike DeWine described the killings as a ‘pre-planned execution’ and a ‘sophisticated operation.’

All four originally entered not guilty pleas. Prosecutors said they would seek death penalties.

DeWine said the four spent months planning the killings, studying the habits and routines of the Rhoden family. The Wagners knew the layouts of the homes and knew where family members slept.

George Wagner IV is scheduled to appear in court next on September 13 for another motion hearing. His trial date has been set for April 4, 2022.

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