WAVERLY — Angela Wagner, whose two sons already have pleaded not guilty to killing eight people in a calculated attack in 2016, made her first appearance in court Thursday.
Wagner, 48, pleaded not guilty to all 22 charges against her in the Rhoden family killings.
Just as her sons did earlier this week, Wagner showed no emotion during her hourlong arraignment in Pike County Common Pleas Court. Her attorneys did not ask for bail.
Facing eight counts of aggravated murder — with the possibility of the death penalty upon conviction — and more than a dozen other charges each are Angela Wagner; her husband, 47-year-old George “Billy” Wagner III, who is due in court Tuesday; and their sons, Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26, and George Wagner IV, 27, who both pleaded not guilty this week.
Also charged with helping to cover up the crimes are Rita Newcomb, 65, the mother of Angela Wagner; and Fredericka Wagner, 76, the mother of Billy Wagner. Newcomb also is charged with forging custody documents. Both of them have posted bond and are out of jail on house arrest.
As Angela Wagner prepared for court, attorneys for Fredericka Wagner were asking Judge Randy D. Deering to allow her to leave her home to work at a group home for the developmentally disabled that she owns and runs.
Court records indicate that Crystal Springs Home is about a half-mile from the Wagners’ Flying W Farms, where the family raises championship show horses, potbelly pigs and mastiff dogs. The records say Fredericka Wagner has been administrator at the home since 1986.
Deering hasn't ruled on that request.
The relatives killed in four separate homes in rural Pike County on April 22, 2016, were: Christopher Rhoden; Dana Manley Rhoden; their daughter, Hanna May Rhoden; their sons, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden and Christopher Rhoden Jr.; Frankie’s fiancée, Hannah Gilley; Kenneth Rhoden, Chris Sr.’s brother; and Gary Rhoden, a cousin.
Hanna Rhoden and Jake Wagner had a daughter, Sophia, together, and investigators have said “obsession” and “fixation” with custody and control of that child, now 5 years old, were at the center of the murders.
Angela Wagner is at the Delaware County jail, as all the defendants are being held separately.