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Suspects’ mom is 3rd arraigned in Rhoden family slayings

WAVERLY (AP) — The third of four family members charged with killing eight people from another family will be arraigned in the southern Ohio court where her adult sons pleaded not guilty this week.

Forty-eight-year-old Angela Wagner was scheduled for arraignment Thursday afternoon in Pike County on charges including aggravated murder.

Wagner, her husband and sons are charged in the 2016 Rhoden family shootings. An attorney who has represented the Wagners has said they’ll be vindicated.

Twenty-six-year-old Edward “Jake” Wagner and 27-year-old George Wagner IV are being held without bond. Lawyers and authorities involved in their cases are banned from publicly discussing it.

Forty-seven-year-old George “Billy” Wagner III will be arraigned Tuesday.

Authorities have said a possible motive was a custody dispute over Jake Wagner’s daughter with one of the victims.

Jake Wagner is the father of Hanna May Rhoden’s older daughter, who was staying with the Wagners on the night the homicides took place. All four suspects are accused of forging custody documents.

Jake Wagner is also charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor for having sexual contact with Hanna May Rhoden when she was 15 years old and he was 20 years old.

The indictments accuse the Wagners of tampering with phones, cameras, a silencer, shell casings, and parts of a home security system.

Also arrested today were Angela Wagner’s mother, Rita Newcomb, 65, of South Webster, and Billy Wagner’s mother, Fredericka Wagner, 76, of Lucasville. They are facing felony charges of obstructing justice and perjury for allegedly misleading investigators over the course of the investigation. Newcomb is also charged with forgery. They were arraigned last week and both pleaded not guilty.

The Wagners are accused of killing seven members of the Rhoden family, plus the fiancée of one of the Rhoden victims, at four different Pike County homes.

Killed were Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40, his ex-wife Dana Manley Rhoden, 37, and their three children, Hanna May Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20. Frankie Rhoden’s fiancée, Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 20, was also killed, along with the elder Christopher Rhoden’s brother Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and cousin Gary Rhoden, 38.

Most of the victims were killed as they slept. Three young children, including a five-day-old baby, at home at the time of the murders were left physically unharmed.