Judge rules death penalty still on the table for George Wagner III despite family member’s plea agreement with prosecutors

Ohio

PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — George “Billy” Wagner III was in a Pike County courtroom Thursday for a motion hearing in the Rhoden family murder trial.  

Wagner III is one of four family members accused in the 2016 killing eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County.  He is facing 22 charges, including aggravated murder, aggravated burglarly and tampering with evidence.  

During Thursday’s hearing, Wagner’s attorneys argued that the death penalty should be removed from their client’s case because of the plea agreement his son, Edward “Jake” Wagner, made with prosecutors in April.  

Prosecutors argued that the plea agreement with Jake only extended in that case, and did not include George Wagner III.   

The judge ruled in favor of the prosecutors because of the language of the agreement.

Wagner’s wife Angela has also pleaded guilty to the several charges in the case, as part of an agreement with prosecutors not to pursue the death penalty.  

Wagner’s other son, George Wagner IV was in court Monday for his own pre-trial hearing.

The next hearing for Wagner III is scheduled for Nov. 17.

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