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May 26, 2021 41 mins

In episode three, we focus on the impact that Jake Wagner’s confession could have on his mother, father and older brother. Additionally, we unpack the current state of their trials and the future proceedings that will decide the fate of the family at the center of Ohio's biggest criminal investigation. Will they ultimately protect each other or will it become... Wagner vs. Wagner?

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to The Piked and Massacre, a production of iHeartRadio
and Katie Studios. I gotta tell you from kind of
a visceral standpoint, when I heard the news that this
kid had rolled over on this case, one thing that
kind of came to mind from me is, you know,

(00:21):
I kind of envisioned his mother in almost a mob
Barker kind of way, that she's kind of the puppet
master that's controlling everything. He's sitting there all along, and
suddenly he has this lucid moment where he's out from
under that though, and he realizes, I'm going to get

(00:46):
the needle for all of this. This is The Piked
and Massacre. Returned to Pike County Season two, Episode three,
Wagner Versus Wagner m Courtney Armstrong, a television producer at
Katie Studios with Stephanie Lydecker and Jeff Shane. On April

(01:06):
twenty second, twenty twenty one, Jake Wagner pleaded guilty to
eight aggravated murder charges in the Rodent family massacre. As
part of his plea deal, he implicated his mother, Angela Wagner,
father Billy Wagner, and brother George Wagner as co conspirators
in the killings. He's also agreeing to testify against his
parents and brother, who are also charged in these murders.

(01:28):
Here's reporter Anjeanette Levy. I don't believe anybody knew he
was going to do this, So it's it's a pretty
stunning development to see Jake Wagner, the youngest of the
entire family, who would you would think would be, you know,
maybe the most pliable in some respects because he is
the youngest. But to see him just break away from

(01:49):
his family, I don't know, it's it's pretty interesting. The
significance of Jake Wagner folding on his family cannot be overstated.
But what does it mean moving forward? Criminal defense attorney
Mike Allen told Stephanie that it could signal an impending
legal chess match. In terms of Jake Wagner's admission of guilt.
I'm just curious about what that means altogether. He's confessed

(02:12):
to killing five of the eight Rodents. Personally, is he
trying to save himself or trying to save his family?
You know, obviously, you know, if he did five out
of eight, you still have three left, and you know
it'll come out who who actually did the killing on
those other three, but it was probably a strategic move

(02:32):
on the prosecutor's part not to let that out yet.
And you know Proscue is not going to show his cards,
or in this case, she Angie when she's got three
other defendants to try, so they're still going to hold
it close to the vest I think. Stephanie asked reporter
James Pilcher if there were still moves left for Jake
to play. Is it possible that he'll say that Jacob

(02:54):
could say I was in a very controlling environment. My mother,
Angela Wagner, controlled us, My father was a bully and
said I had to do these things, and we were
coerced into it. Is there any value in that even?
I mean, that's entirely possible, and some of the reporting
that's what we've heard Lee Coal. The other thing I

(03:15):
will say is that maybe they're going after bigger game
than Jake, and they figured we'll cut this deal. Now
he'll give us what we want and then we can
go get the mom and the dad. But clearly they
were going after the people who plotted it. This was
not Jake's idea, right or at least not according to
the prosecutors. This was a family coming together. That's what
the prosecutors are after, is that, Okay, we get Jake

(03:38):
to help us, we get Jake to plead out. It
shows that this really did happen. Now we can go
after the people who actually planned it. On April twenty eighth,
just six days after Jake Wagner's hearing, his accused brother,
George Wagner, walked into the Pike County Courthouse. The first
court hearing since last week's surprise plea deal in the
Pike County murder trials took place today. This hearing for

(04:00):
George Wagner was supposed to center on a few defense
emotions involving discovery evidence. Anette Levy was on the scene
that day. She spoke to producer Chris Graves. He kind
of described the mood and what was going on. The
mood was a lot lighter than it had been in
the past. The Roden family is a little bit that
I saw of them. They just seemed happy for the
first time in a long time. And I think I
saw Hannah Gilly's mother and she actually seemed happy. And

(04:23):
they can start to finally look fitthered, So it was
just a much lighter mood. But you know George the Fourth,
obviously it wasn't a lighter mood for him. He looked
very stressed. He looked very thin. He doesn't look good.
You can see it on his face. In the aftermath
of Jake Wagner's shocking confession, many wondered how accused older
brother George Wagner's hearing would play out. We spoke at

(04:45):
length about George in the last two episodes. It was
at his wedding that the last known picture of the
Roden and Wagner families was taken. Also, George and his
ex wife dealt with eerily similar custody issues that would
foreshadow what would happen between victim Hannah Roden and Jake Wagner.
His lawyer, Rick Nash, has been very assertive and maintained
that George the Fourth there was no case against him,

(05:07):
that there was no evidence against him. But now he's
kind of having to swallow his pride a little bit,
I think and realize that there may be some really
good evidence tying his client to this and this emotion.
Hearing was for like all these boilerplate death penalty motions.
Death penalty is off the table now. People following the

(05:28):
case wondered would George Wagner strike a plea deal as well.
My opinion of George the fourth is that he's kind
of is the weakest link in this family because he's
got the most to lose. He has a son who
he loves dearly, and he wants to be with his son.
And so I was wondering, what's George going to do?

(05:51):
Instead of a guilty plead, the court heard something far
less dramatic. It took us in five minutes for George
wage to the fourth to ask for more time to
evaluate the situation. No, Judge, I don't think so. We
I think everybody's agreed that, given recent events, that everybody
needs to step back and reassess. The hearing concluded with

(06:14):
an agreement to reschedule the motion for June twenty first,
twenty one. Though there were no bombshell developments, it's clear
that the next few weeks will be pivotal. George Wagner
and his accused parents, Angela and Billy Wagner must now
decide how they will proceed. Do you think that it's
possible that now that Jake took the plea deal and
admitted to the murders that we may see Billy Angela

(06:36):
and or George doing this same thing. I think it's
possible that the others could plead out. But at the
same time, what's the point They have nothing to lose
by going to trial, because they either to plead out
get life in prison, or they roll the dice and
go to trial and maybe they can hang a jury.
As Mike Allen points out, there's no one case that

(06:59):
assures an Is there any version of this where one
of them is found guilty and the other are found innocent.
It's possible, Yeah, I mean, it just it all depends
on what the individual juries want to do. Yeah, I mean,
that's very possible, And it's happened on trials that where
they're two defendants that have been severed, where one has

(07:21):
found guilty and the other one is not. You know,
different juries are different and it'll be a different jury
for every one of these trials, and lawyers will tell you,
especially criminal lawyers, you never know what is going to
happen with the jury. And I've been at this for
forty years and juries are becoming even more unpredictable. I

(07:45):
don't know why, but they are. But in answer to
your question, yeah, that's a possibility. Last episode, we heard
Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent Ryan Scheiderer testify about the
Wagner's cult like family dynamic. They're very They lived together,
They've always lived together. Their finances are intermingled, the homeschool together,

(08:06):
they raise their kids together. Everything is done together. As
well as we have an informat who says that every
decision within that family is made as a family decision.
Without any of the other Wagners coming forward with plea deals,
there are still a lot of questions that need to
be answered about the family that is alleged to have
carried out Ohio's most notorious crime. It's worth noting that

(08:28):
while Jake Wagner pleaded guilty, Angela Billy and George Wagner
have pleaded not guilty. The state is kind of maintained
that each person in this conspiracy had their own role,
They had their own kind of part to play, And
you know, it's going to be interesting to see how
strong the evidence is to support their assertion that each

(08:49):
person had a role in this conspiracy. At this point,
one thing is clear, Jake Wagner holds the fate of
his family in his hands, and the united front the
Wagner family has built is beginning to erode. How it
will all unfold is anyone's guess. Remember, we don't know
exactly what Jake said and how he said it. We
just know that he confessed and led them to evidence.

(09:11):
So there's still a lot we don't know based on
what the prosecution outlined in court. So let's take a
look at the evidence we know about based on what
we've heard through preliminary hearings over the past three years.
One of the most informative was a hearing for accused
brother George Wagner that took place on August thirty first,
twenty twenty. That day, George's attorneys requested that he be

(09:34):
allowed to post bail, arguing that there was no evidence
to tie him to the case, and Neette Levy was
at the Pike County courthouse that day. It was actually
a fool's errand because in the state of Ohio, someone
charged with aggravated murder in which the deaf count Vias thought,
can be held without bail automatically. There's really no question
about it. So they were kind of wanting to, I

(09:55):
think get some more information about the evidence in the
case and the BCI agent on the case. The lead agent,
Ryan Scheiterer, took the stand and answered a series of
questions about the evidence in the case that they have
against George. Swear or firm testimony were about gears true
the whole I see that special Agent Ryan Scheiderer of

(10:20):
the Bureau of Criminal Investigation taking his oath in court.
During the hearing, George Wagner's attorney tried to distance his
client from the crime and his accused family. His attorney
had set something to the effect of the evidence of
you know, if it tied anybody to this, it was
Jake and Angela, not George. What text or digital communications
did you find too or from him? If you think

(10:43):
is relevant specifically about text messages with George, I don't
remember any. Did you collect a cell phone from George?
I don't believe we ever collected George celler What connection
does George had to do with that laptime? The device
was registered to Jake, specifically Angela, who seemed to be
the primary user of that laptop, but there was some

(11:06):
evidence that implicated George Wagner along with his brother Jake
and the crimes. One of the most striking parts of
Agent Scheider's testimony had to do with the type of
guns used in the homicides. We know the three calibers
of firearms that were used to convent these murders, and
they were a twenty two caliber long rifle, a forty

(11:26):
caliber and a thirty caliber. Scheiderer went on to make
a direct correlation between the twenty two caliber shell casings
found at victims Dana Rodin and Frankie Roden's homes and
the property owned by the Wagner family. Here's Agent Scheiterer
being questioned by Prosecutor Angie Kaneppa. We recovered twenty two
caliber shell casings and where we recovered those which at

(11:49):
two sixty Peterson Road, which was a property that was
owned by George Wager and his brother Jake. And were
those shell casings submitted to the lab or comparison to
the shell casings that had been recovered from both Frankie's
and Dana's residences. Yes, and what was the opinion of

(12:11):
the The weapon that fired the shell casings at two
sixty Pierson Road also fired the shell casings at Anna's
and Dana's residence as well as Frankie and Anna Gillis residence.
So the same firearm had been suspired on the same properties. Okay,
So he eat exact same gun, not just the same

(12:32):
type of gun, the same firearms, okay. Forensic expert Joseph
Morgan explained the intricate science involved in tying a shell
casing back to a specific gun. The inside of a
handgun like this has got rifling. That means it's got lands,
which are kind of flat plateau looking formations. And also

(12:54):
because these are soft metal brass casings that are being
ejected once the round is fired, you have what are
referred to as extraction marks. This spent case in it
leaves these little marks that are unique to the interior
housing of this particular weapon. And even you can have
a weapon that rolls off the line with fifty other

(13:17):
weapons that are the same same model, but they're all
going to be unique at a microscopic level, and that's
how they tied back the projectile to a specific weapon.
Another suspicious item was found during a different search of
the same Wagner property. The police went back and they
found what the ATF says was likely used as a

(13:41):
homemade silencer for a gun. Agent Scheiderer elaborated recovered a
maglite flashlight turned into the suppressor. Yeah adapter at one
end that as a solid adapter, they closed in and
they at the other end you add a thread adapter
and it's designed to catch cleaning solvent when you're cleaning

(14:04):
your firearm, but it can easily be converted into a suppressor.
They determined that it was a suppressor as defined by
federal statue, been fired at least one time because they
could see a bull of striking inside the suppressor. Thing.
That was pretty interesting because that wasn't found. That was
found in I think October of twenty eighteen, right before

(14:25):
the indictments came out, and that property, the Peterson Road home,
had been searched in May of twenty seventeen. I mean,
when I hear that, it sounds like someone told them
about it. We know, but Jake led them to the guns,
the murder weapons, the car used purchased and news and
so who knows. Maybe. During cross examination by George Wagner's attorney,

(14:49):
Agent Scheiderer highlighted some of the other evidence the state
has on George, including wire tap surveillance. Could you approximate
to the nearest hundred many hours you have regarding this
recording of George Wagner hours? Not really, but I would

(15:10):
say over one hundred days, over agred days, Okay, And
so I want you to focus on those hundred days,
and maybe your answer is the same, but I'm going
to ask it a different way. Could you tell us
over that one hundred days of recording George Wagner what
statement he made that you recorded that ties him into

(15:32):
this case. I mean, he never confessed, if that's what
you're getting at, but he made incriminating statements. At a
different hearing, George Wagner appeared in court for an unusual
request to be put in solitary confinement. Here's Jeff speaking
with Mike Allen. What about George Wagner asking for solitary confinement?
What do you make of that? His stated reason was

(15:54):
that he wanted to be able to study the Bible
in peace. That's a little unusual when inmates ask for
solitary A lot of times, although they may not say it,
they're asking for that because they've been threatened, and you know,
they want to make sure that they're as safe as
they can be in jail. Yeah, it's hard. It's hard

(16:16):
to know what's going through his head. But I mean,
either he's immersing himself in the Holy Bible or somebody
saying that they're going to do something to him. Either way,
his mental state is probably not good. But when I
read that, I kind of wondered, is that the real reason?
I mean, you know, you just have to wonder what
the motivation is. Since his arrest in twenty eighteen, accused

(16:39):
father Billy Wagner has also staunchly maintained his innocence. Billy
Wagner's attorney has been very adamant that there's no evidence.
There's no case against Billy Wagner, but there's nothing. They have,
nothing that ties him to this. Last year, Billy Wagner
made an audacious move to separate himself from the other
members of his family and move his trial word. He

(17:01):
took it upon himself to file a motion in court.
It had to do with his right to what's referred
to as a speedy trial, an Ohio procedural rule stipulating
that anyone charged with a felony must be brought to
trial within two hundred and seventy days of their arrest.
While accused father Billy Wagner, had initially waived his right
to a speedy trial, it seems he suddenly had a
change of heart. The court received a handwritten motion from

(17:24):
Billy Wagner asking that his right to a speedy trial
be invoked and that he withdraw his waiver of this
speedy trial right. He was pretty frustrated. I guess that
he's sitting in jail. He says he's innocent and was
frustrated and submitted this or to the court. But it
was actually some fairly good jailhouse lawyering. I'm assuming he

(17:46):
had somebody in the jail can write this for him
and his attorneys. They became aware of it and talked
with him and withdrew it immediately. Mike Allen gave us
his professional opinion on Billy's homespun legal strategy. I don't
care how small your jail is, you're going to have
jail house lawyers and criminal defense attorneys instruct their clients.

(18:06):
Do not listen to the jail house lawyers. They don't
know what they're talking about. If they did, they wouldn't
be where they are. So that's every criminal defense lawyer's
worst nightmare is when your client files a motion without
consulting the attorney. It's a very stupid thing to do.

(18:29):
So Billy Wagner's lawyer, I'm sure, probably had some strong
words for him for doing that. Well, Billy and George
Wagner have been busy filing legal motions to help their cases.
The same camp be said about accused mother Angela Wagner.
Bob Craypence is what you would call, you know, the
first chair on this case for her defense team, and

(18:50):
he's been very it's been very quiet on that front. However,
Angela Wagner has appeared in court for other reasons. At
a r in twenty nineteen, Judge Randy Deering revoked Angelo
Wagner's mail and phone privileges after she was caught trying
to discuss case strategy with her family. Here's her lawyer
speaking in court that day, which stipulated that Vita she

(19:13):
was in fact instructed she was having no contact with
the codefendants in this case. This team half presented as
was some information indicative of a violation of that stipulated
that she did in fact hilate that court or some
of Angelo Wagner's alleged orchestration was presented by Agent Scheiterer
at George's bail hearing last year. He testified about shoe

(19:36):
prints that were found at a few of the crime scenes.
This evidence points directly to Angelo Wagner's role in the conspiracy.
Exhibits eight and nine. These are the shoe impression prints
that were lifted from Chris Rogan Senior's residence, and those

(19:56):
are shoe impressons that are later determined to be from
a specific shoe that is determined to be sold by Walmart. Correct?
And then did you ultimately execute a search warrant up
on State out for you? One? Yes? And you described
to us what you were searching there there were two

(20:17):
pickup trucks and three trailers that were parked at that
location that belonged to the Wagoner family. Did you find
a receipt? Yes, we did. There was a Walmart receipt
resin Weird. The receipt was and Jake Wagner's okay, and

(20:39):
specifically in a tub marked important things or something correct, Okay,
what was the significance of that receipt? So this Walmart
receipt is for the Waverley Ohio walmart on Emma Avenue.
It is dated April seventh, twenty sixteen, time stamp at
sixteen fifty eight hours. On there there are the purchase

(20:59):
of two Athletic brand tennis shoes, which is consistent with
the shoes that we were looking for. And you indicated
that Angela told made a statement to your fellow agents
that she had purchased those shoes specifically for Jacob George. Correct.
And you were asked if you've recovered those shoes, if

(21:22):
you found those shoes, yes, and you did not correct. Correct,
And isn't it true that Angela said that she had
thrown those shoes away the very same day that she
bought them. Yes, because the boys didn't like the shoes. Correct,
But Jacob George told they denied knowledge of the shoes

(21:43):
ever seen. Correct. We're going to take a quick break here.
We'll be back in a moment. Altogether, it appears the

(22:05):
prosecution has amassed an overwhelming amount of evidence against the
Wagner family. Here is Agent Scheider telling George Wagner's attorney
just how much audio evidence the state has at their disposal.
What reportings do you have that you feel are relevant
for this or some evidence. Here. In these case, we
have you know, approximately eight thousand recordings primarily of the

(22:29):
Wagner individuals, the family. You know, we also have interviews where,
you know, I feel there was incriminating statements made within
the interviews. They've got wire taps in this case. They
have video surveillance evidence, they have, you know, countless interviews
with people. The prosecution has said, you know, this is

(22:50):
a voluminous file. They've said it takes up terabytes and terabytes.
A terabyte is a huge amount of space on a computer.
So like it kind of gives you an idea of
what they've gathered. The sheer volume of evidence shocked even
seasoned attorney Mike Allen. Here he is talking to Jeff

(23:10):
you as an expert. Is that a high amount? Is
that a normal amount of evidence? No, that's just astronomical.
I would not have expected it to be that high.
It's not normal at all. According to investigative reporter Jodi Barr,
George and the other accused Wagners could have implicated each
other without even knowing. What we don't know is whether

(23:31):
the Waggoners gave statements and what statements they made. Two
investigators before during or after the charge. We don't know
what the contents of any intercepted phone calls as they've
been in jail might be. Who knows what the state
of Ohio has as far as whether you know, statements
made by one Wagner could almost assure a conviction of another.

(23:56):
So how could we see the legal battles play out
in the courtroom if the Wagner's aside to go to trial.
As it stands, Billy Angela and George Wagner have all
been charged with eight counts of aggravated murder. If convicted, they,
like Jake, will spend the rest of their lives in prison.
Never have I seen anything even remotely close to this case.

(24:16):
I've been involved in some bad ones, but this one
is by far the worst. One of the many things
that's so unique about this offense is you do have
generations of family members just taken out completely excuse hard
to imagine a fact scenario, you know, more bizarre than
this one. It's so unique in so many ways. One

(24:40):
of them is the enormous burden the trials will place
on the legal teams and the Ohio criminal justice system.
You're trying the case in a small county with limited resources.
I don't know how they're going to do it. It's
just going to be a logistical nightmare. Can the Wagner
lawyers work together on the defense or does it all
have to be separate. They can work together, and that

(25:01):
happens sometimes when you have code defendants. I think at
some point you run into some strategy problems. But to
a certain extent they can. But the lawyer obviously has
to zealously represent his client. But if it's in this
client's best interest to work with the other lawyers, yeah,
they definitely would. Witness testimony could also prove to be

(25:22):
a challenge. You're going to have witness burnout because many
most probably of the witnesses in one trial will be
witnesses in the other. And you know that's a burden
upon the witnesses, but the prosecution has no choice that
they have to go forward in that nature. Another obstacle
seating a jury of twelve impartial Pike County residence. Here's

(25:46):
Chris speaking to reporter James Pilcher. It's Ohio state law
that you initially have to try and seed a jury
in the county the crime was committed, correct, So Angela
Wagner has already requested that her trial be moved out
of Pike County, but under High I legal procedures, you
have to try to see the jury in the county
where the crime was committed before you're allowed to move it.

(26:06):
So they've got a pull from a jury pool of
registered voters, will narrow it down to twelve plus a
couple of alternates, and that process can take anywhere from
three days to a week, depending on the complexity of
the case. I mean, that's going to be really difficult,
isn't it. I Mean there's only I think what twenty
seven twenty eight thousand residents in all of Pike County.
You have to pick jurors for cases out of a

(26:29):
jury pool that small. I would not be surprised to
see them have to move some of these trials to
another county. Again, here's Mike Allen. That's probably the judge's
the biggest headache in this case is to ultimately be
able to see separate juries that can be fair both
to the state and to the defense, because I think

(26:51):
you'd be hard pressed to find any county in the
stateable Ohio that just was not innundated with media coverage
about this. But it's important to keep this in mind.
If a potential juror says under own that, yes, I
have seen things in the media about this, but I
can divorce myself from those things and render a fair

(27:15):
and impartial verdict based upon the evidence that we see
from the witness stand, the testimony, and the instructions given
by the judge. That's then a good and acceptable juror.
And that's the only way that this case is going
to work. Because unless you're living in some kind of
a cave, I don't care who you are, you've heard

(27:37):
about it, and you know you're just not going to
be able to see a jury of twelve in any
of these cases where they've not heard anything about it.
How are each of the cases likely to affect the other?
Are there things that we should be keeping an eye
on The first one that goes I think as the
tougher road, and the guy going last or next to last,

(27:59):
they're going to have advantage by knowing which way the
judge will rule on evidentiary motions and things of that nature.
They'll have the benefit of watching the tape, so to speak,
like a like a football coach would. But there could
be one overlooked factor that determines the outcome of the cases,
the drive of the prosecuting attorneys. When you see a

(28:22):
case like this and see the position these young kids
have been put in, what does that make you feel?
When you see a case like this, it's just absolutely heartbreaking.
It just is because you just know that that is
going to permanently affect that child. There's no way that
it couldn't, but a prosecutors driven by justice for the

(28:45):
victim and the victim's family. But if you have a
particularly violent and hand this crime like you have here,
it's tough. But as a prosecutor, honestly, it makes you
want to work all the harder to get a conviction.
And yeah, it's just the way it is. We've heard

(29:06):
Special Agent Ryan Scheiderer mentioned witnesses who were close to
the Wagner's and excerpts of his testimony. Since Jake Wagner's confession,
we haven't heard anything from grandmother of the accused, Frederica Wagner.
Last season, we talked about how she was arrested on
obstruction of justice and perjury charges pertaining to bulletproof ESTs
she purchased for her son, Billy Wagner. Prosecutors believe she

(29:27):
purchased the best for him to use in the killings.
Her charges were dropped after a hearing in twenty nineteen,
as the prosecution feared not being able to try the
case before the two hundred and seventy days Speedy Trial statute.
But her case isn't closed yet, Frederica. They've indicated in
court documents that they may charge her again with obstruction.
Frederica Wagner has vehemently defended her family's innocence, but is

(29:52):
it possible that she knows more about what happened the
night of April twenty first, twenty sixteen than she's let on.
Depending on what Jake wagen her nose and reveals, it's
possible that grandmother Frederica Wagner could be looking at new charges.
Do you know what Jake pleading guilty, how that will
impact his grandmother? Well, they can always be reindicted if

(30:14):
there's additional new evidence. He kind of seems to be
like he's the key to this entire case. So yeah,
I suppose it's possible. To our knowledge, Frederica Wagner has
not been implicated in any other crimes, nor has she
made any plea deals with the prosecution, but the same
camp he said for the other grandmother who was charged

(30:34):
in the case, Rita Newcome, Angela Wagner's mother, had initially
told investigators that she had notarized and signed some custody
documents for the child that Jake and Hannah shared in
the event that they died. But then later as her
trial approached, on the day of trial, all of the sudden,
we were all out there ready to go, and the
trial was canceled. And then a short time later she

(30:57):
pleaded guilty, and in court the prosecution and outlined how
they said that Rita admitted that she had lied and
that her daughter Angela, had asked her to lie about
signing and notarizing those custody documents. Here's a statement read
a newcommade during her plea deal, as anyone promised you
anything at all, or threatened you in any way at all,

(31:18):
in order to induce you to withdraw your former plea
of not guilty entered to the original charge of obstructing justice,
a fifth degree felony in count four, and to enter
a plea of guilty to the amended charge of obstructing
official business a misdemeanor of the second degree. No, I

(31:40):
just feel that it's not a good Christian thing to
line and I couldn't input it in the more. This
is all despite Angela Wagner's repeated attempts to further manipulate
her mother. During court hearings for Angela's mother, Rita Newcome,
it was stated that Angela Wagner was on jail calls
telling her mother, you don't have to testify against us.

(32:05):
Mike Allen told Stephanie about the challenges Rita Newcomb's testimony
could present if the trials move forward. If it's obvious
to the trial judge that she doesn't want to be
testifying to the state, the judge can and probably would,
designate her as a hostile witness. What is a hostile
witness If the prosecution has to call a witness to

(32:25):
establish or help establish one of the elements of the offense,
and that witnesses someone who's more sympathetic with the defense
in all likelihood than the judge would designate that person
a hostile witness, giving the prosecutor the opportunity to ask
leading questions. So it's not a matter whether they get
up on the stand and act at crazy or act
like an idiot. It's a matter of is this person

(32:49):
going to cooperate with whoever is calling them. Another possibility
is hearing from one of the long rumored informants we
discussed last season. Mike Allen discussed the role in formants
usually play in cases like the Wagner's. Are you able to, Mike,
just tell us what an informant is. It usually is
a situation where they go to the police with some information.

(33:10):
I mean, police can seek out people too, and you know,
just say hey, you know, you tell us what you
know about this, And I mean it happens both ways,
but more often than not, it's it's the police know
that somebody there's a good chance somebody would know something,
and they seek that person out. But the thing of
it is, it's a confidential and reliable informant. So it

(33:32):
has to be someone that you can build a case
that they are reliable. At George Wagner's bond hearing last year,
agent Ryan Scheidier told the court that one informant had
disclosed a deadly plot that the Wagner family was planning
on carrying out. It included then Attorney General Mike Dwine,
Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, and Scheiderer himself. There is

(33:54):
a witness that testified that she was present when Sure,
his brother, Jake, his mom, and his dad were basically
organizing a retaliation plan should they get arrested and charged,
specifically targeting myself and the wine and Share for a year. Okay,

(34:16):
And according to the person who gave you this information,
when was that stage summer of twenty eighteen. Anjanette Levy
heard Agent Scheiderer's testimony that day. I think there's supposed
to be a couple of informants in this case, and
one of them, which is very interesting, happens to be

(34:37):
a woman who married Jake Wagner when the family went
to Alaska. Let's stop here for another quick break. We'll
be back in a moment. Last season, we talked about

(35:02):
the Wagner suspicious move to Alaska in June of twenty seventeen,
at the height of the rod and murder investigation. They
said this had been planned for some time. The boys
were looking for good jobs up there, and then Jake
met a woman at church. They became married, and in
the discovery documents that detail what was handed over by

(35:24):
the state to the Wagner attorneys. It states that there
are several interviews between a Bureau of Criminal Investigations agent
and the woman that Jake Wagner married while he was
living in Alaska. So there are a number of interviews
with her and recorded phone calls between this woman and
Jake Wagner. What about the witnesses who were left alive

(35:48):
at the scene the rod and children who were spared
that fateful night in twenty sixteen. One of the kids
was a three year old toddler. If that child witnessed
the murder, I don't know if he's said something when
the investors came in that pointed to possibly someone in
the Wagner family, because they would have all known each other.
You know, he's eight now, if he had any memory

(36:12):
or had said something at the time when they found him,
is there any potential that he might be called as
a witness? Although eight now, in Ohio the rule is
a child under the age of ten is presumed incompetent
to testify. Now, if a judge does what they call
a border of that potential witness and determines that the

(36:33):
young person does know the difference between telling the truth
and telling a lie. It's possible that the judge could
permit the testimony, but boy, any defense attorney are going
to fight like crazy to keep something like that out.
It comes down to the reliability. Is it a reliable statement?
Can you rely on something that a three year old

(36:54):
saw and something that an eight year old years after
the fact is trying to explain. It's tough, not impossible
to get a statement like that in, but I think
highly unlikely. Mike Allen points it out a compelling entry
in one of the discovery documents that implies another piece
of the evidentiary puzzle. Is there one piece of evidence

(37:16):
just based on what you've seen in terms of the
discovery list, that is the AHA or something that really
surprised you. Yeah, there's definitely one thing, says trash poll
from June eighth, twenty and seventeen, and that can only
mean one thing that DNA is involved in this case.

(37:36):
What a trash poll is is when somebody sets their
trash out at the curb, they do not have a
privacy interest anymore in that trash. So it's open season
for the police if they want to go rooting through
somebody's trash and that's how in many instances, that's how
law enforcement gets DNA evidence is from trash polls. That's

(38:00):
the thing that closes the deal, right, that that like
closes the case essentially, that's the part of the CSI
thing that you know, jurors watch and that's one thing
that's accurate. I mean, if it gets into evidence, it's
it's just devastating. Another revelation we're likely to witness at
the trial is more information about the rodents autopsy reports.

(38:23):
Though the documents were released months after the murders in
twenty sixteen, they were heavily redacted due to a gag
order imposed by the judge on the case. This is
just a situation where, you know, the trial judge, who
has to shepherd these trials through fairly doesn't want the
public getting this information before trial. One of the reasons

(38:43):
being you don't want a tainted jury pool, and of
course the prosecution they don't want to telegraph anything from
that autopsy with respect of their strategy. Reporter James Pilcher
told us what journalists were able to glean from the
initial really he basically laid out where they were found,
how many times they were shot. You know, where they

(39:05):
were shot, and you know they did list specifically where
the kids, the young kids were found. So what can
we expect from the full reports. A good autopsy, I'll
tell you a lot about how the victim lived and
how they died and gets a pivotal critical piece of
the investigation and possibly reveal information that maybe only the

(39:28):
killer would know. But the most powerful part of the
state's case could come from the prosecutor's recreation of the
events of April twenty first, twenty sixteen. According to forensics
expert Joseph Morgan, this narrative helps give a voice to
each member of the slain family. It's something that we'll
be revealing in real time as the trials for Billy

(39:51):
Angela and George Wagner proceed. In the case of the
Masker in Piked and every single human remain every body
that was there has an individual tale to be told.
The prosecution is trying to paint a picture here, and

(40:12):
they're going to do that through these bodies there. That's
going to be the vessel they're going to travel through here.
And the more vibrant that the prosecution can make that picture,
the more effective it shocks the conscience of just people
that go about their normal day life. They don't expect
this type of thing to happen and it is pure.

(40:38):
More on that next time. For more information on the
case and relevant photos, follow us on Instagram at Katie
Underscore Studios. The Pikedon Massacre Returned to Pike County is
executive produced by Stephanie Lydecker and me Courtney Armstrong. Editing
and sound designed by executive producer Jared Aston. Additional producing

(40:59):
by Jeff Andrew Becker and Chris Graves. The piked In
Massacre Returned to Pike County is a production of iHeartRadio
and Katie Studios. For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your
favorite shows.
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