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Fourth Wagner family member pleads not guilty to murder

(AP) — Just as other family members did last week, George “Billy” Wagner III, 47, pleaded not guilty to murder and all other charges alleged against him in the Pike County Court of Common Pleas on Tuesday.

Judge Randy Deering ordered that Wagner be held without bail.

Charges against George “Billy” Wagner III include eight counts of aggravated murder, one count of conspiracy, four counts of aggravated burglary, one count of unlawful possession of dangerous ordnance, three counts of tampering with evidence, one count of forgery, one count of unauthorized use of computer or telecommunications, one count of interception of wire, oral, or electronic communication, one count of obstructing justice, and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

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 on April 22, 2016.

Arrested in addition to George “Billy” Wagner were his wife Angela Wagner, 48, and sons, George Wagner IV, 27, and Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26. All four were indicted with death penalty specifications.

Two others, Rita Newcomb (Angela Wagner’s mother), 65, of South Webster, and Fredericka Wagner (George “Billy Wagner III’s mother), 76, of Lucasville, were also arrested on Nov. 13 and charged with assisting and covering up the murders. They face charges of obstructing justice and perjury. Newcomb is also charged with forgery. Newcomb and Fredericka  Wagner were arraigned on Nov. 15, both pleading not guilty to their charges. After posting bond, the two are currently under electronically-monitored house arrest and pretrial supervision.

Angela, George IV, and Edward Wagner appeared in court last week, and all of them pleaded not guilty to all charges. They are all currently being held in jail without bond.

A pre-trial for George “Billy” Wagner III has been scheduled for Jan. 17.