© 2022 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Today is Giving Tuesday! Your gift to WOSU during this season of giving will make a huge difference.

Death penalty will not be considered if George Wagner IV convicted in Pike County massacre

George Wagner IV testifying during Pike County murder trial 11-16-22.jpg
Law & Crime Channel
George Wagner IV has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder charges in connection with a mass killing that happened in Pike County, Ohio in 2016.

A Pike County Judge has removed the possibility of the death penalty for George Wagner IV.

Wagner is accused in the 2016 killings of eight members of the Rhoden family.

A jury will consider all 22 original counts against Wagner, which include eight for aggravated murder, plus counts on conspiracy, burglary, tampering, forgery and obstruction.

Jurors have not been in the courtroom this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. Attorneys on both sides have been in court since Monday arguing for which evidence should remain in the case.

Wagner testified in his defense last week and denied being involved in the murders that his brother, Jake Wagner, confessed to.

Jake Wagner pleaded guilty last year to numerous murder charges in association with the eight deaths. Prosecutors say Jake was involved in a custody dispute with one of the victims.

The Wagners were first taken into custody in 2018.

George said he liked the Rhodens and had been friends with some of the victims. In addition to his denial of any involvement, George also testified he had no knowledge of the killings being planned.

Jake and George's father, Billy Wagner, also faces murder charges, and their mother, Angela Wagner, has already pleaded guilty to other charges.

Jake and Angela Wagner testified in court that George was involved in the murders.

Closing arguments in the case are scheduled to begin on Monday.