Recorded conversations introduced as evidence in Pike County murders trial
Monday marked the start of week seven in the trial against George Wagner IV in the Pike County killings.
Prosecutors played covertly recorded conversations collected by agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Wagner pleaded not guilty to 22 charges including aggravated murder in connection to the 2016 shooting deaths of eight people in the Rhoden family in Pike County. His father pleaded not guilty to similar charges and is scheduled to go on trial later this year.
BCI agent Julia Eveslage described the methods the agency used to intercept George Wagner's conversations while they investigated the murders and to gather electronic data from the family's devices.
Eveslage said one thing they recovered from a laptop was screenshots of a conversation where one of the victims, the mother at the center of the custody dispute, stated the Wagners would "have to kill her" before she would sign over guardianship.
She said they recorded conversations in Wagner’s vehicle, on several phone lines and monitored text messages from a listening post in Franklin County. Prosecutors played a recording between Wagner and a toddler in the car.
“They want us all to die and they want to take you away and give you to bad people," he said to the child who sounded upset.
Evesalge said agents placed listening devices in Wagner's car at the Montana border while Wagner was being distracted with a law enforcement interview.
In another call, the Wagner asked his mother and father to google a GPS tracking device he found in his vehicle.
In another, Wagner tells someone else to stop talking about how he and his brother sold guns and ammunition after the murders.
Wagner’s mother Angela Wagner pleaded guilty to conspiracy, tampering and burglary charges in 2021. Wagner's brother Jake Wagner pleaded guilty to murder charges last year. Both are expected to testify against George Wagner during the trial.