Closing arguments in the Pike County murders case begin today.
Our news partners at WCPO reported, both the prosecution and the defense officially rested their cases on November 18 before the jury.
There was no court held during the week of Thanksgiving because of the holiday and medical appointments made by members of the jury, Judge Randy Deering announced.
Last week prosecutors planned to take the death penalty off the table and during proceedings, prosecutors said they intend to drop the death penalty specifications against George Wagner IV. This was an agreement within plea deals set with both Jake and Angela Wagner.
Both Jake and Angela traded their testimony in any trials related to the murders for the dismissal of the death penalty against themselves, George and George “Billy” Wagner, all of which have been accused of murder eight people six years ago, WCPO reports.
The members of the Wagner family have been accused of killing Hanna Rhoden, 19; her father, Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his wife, Dana Rhoden, 37; their sons, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Frankie’s fiancé, Hannah Gilley, 20; and relatives Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and Gary Rhoden, 38, execution-style in April 2016.
Jake pleaded guilty to eight counts of aggravated murder and a list of other charges for his role in April 2021. Five months later, Angela Wagner pleaded guilty to her role in the killings.
This trial is the first time someone has faced a jury for the deaths of the Rhoden family six years ago.