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George Wagner IV's Trial In 8 Slayings Set For April After Brother's Plea

Authorities set up roadblocks at the perimeter of one of four properties near Piketon, Ohio following the murders of the Rhoden family on June 21, 2016.
John Minchillo
/
Associated Press

A trial is scheduled next spring for a man who along with his brother and parents was charged in the slayings of eight people from another southern Ohio family.

A judge announced the April 4 trial date for George Wagner IV during his court appearance Monday in Ohio’s Pike County.

The 29-year-old has pleaded not guilty in the 2016 slayings of seven adults and a teenage boy from the Rhoden family.

His 28-year-old brother, Edward “Jake” Wagner, pleaded guilty two months ago and agreed to cooperate against the other defendants, under a deal to help spare them all potential death sentences. The brothers' parents have pleaded not guilty.

Investigators say the murders stemmed from a custody dispute between Wagner and Hana May Rhoden, one of the victims who had a child with Wagner. From there, Wagner and three of his family members allegedly conspired to forge documents transferring custody of the child and then kill members of the Rhoden family.

The four Wagner family members were arrested in 2018.

Edward “Jake” Wagner will be sentenced at a later date, and he could face as many as eight consecutive life sentences—one for each of the Rhoden family members murdered in 2016.