George Wagner IV, 27, appeared in the Pike County Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday for his first pretrial.
He appeared in civilian clothes before Judge Randy Deering for a short session preceded by a long meeting behind closed doors between prosecutors and defense attorneys.
During the proceedings, Deering discussed the progression of the defendant’s demand for discovery. The defense indicated that they are satisfied with the state’s progression in answering the demand for discovery. According to https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discovery#legalDictionary, discovery means “the methods used by parties to a civil or criminal action to obtain information held by the other party that is relevant to the action” or “the disclosure of information held by the opposing party in an action.”
Deering also noted that the defendant’s motion for a bill of particulars is still being worked on by the state, and Deering granted the defendant’s motion to extend the time for filing pretrial motions.
The judge also granted a motion from the prosecution forbidding contact with Wagner’s co-defendants. Defense attorney Charles H. Knight indicated that the defense would not argue against the motion, and he stated that the defense had already cautioned Wagner not to contact co-defendants directly or through a third party. The same no contact order was placed on Wagner’s mother, Angela Wagner, at her pretrial on Monday.
George Wagner IV is scheduled for his next pretrial on March 22.
On Nov. 13, four members of the Wagner family, of South Webster, were arrested and charged in connection with the murders of Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40, his ex-wife Dana Manley Rhoden, 37, their three children, Hanna May Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20, Frankie Rhoden’s fiancée, Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 20, Christopher Rhoden’s brother Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and cousin Gary Rhoden, 38, at four different homes in Pike County.
Arrested in addition to George Wagner IV were his father, George “Billy” Wagner III, 47, mother, Angela Wagner, 48, and his brother, Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26. All four were indicted with death penalty specifications. All have pleaded not guilty to the charges alleged against them.
Angela Wagner appeared in court on Monday for her first pre-trial. Her next pretrial is scheduled for March 20.