Family slaying trial costs concern officials


WAVERLY, Ohio (AP) — The relief some officials have about arrests made in the 2016 slayings of eight family members in Pike County is tempered by concerns about the costs associated with holding trials for the suspects in the rural Ohio community.

County Commissioner Blaine Beekman says the county already faces a financial crunch. He says there’s “no book to refer to” on how to accommodate such a complex, high-interest case. He says officials plan to meet with the prosecutor and to reach out to state officials about assistance.

Beekman says officials “certainly want people brought to justice” and feel for the suffering of those who lost loved ones.

Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk says the investigation into the 2016 killings is one of the most complicated and extensive in Ohio’s history.

Junk also says it’s possible that pre-trial publicity could force the case to be moved to another county.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Tuesday a grand jury indicted four members of the Wagner family on aggravated murder charges. He says they could be sentenced to death if convicted.

DeWine gave scant detail about why the victims were killed but said the custody of a young child played a role.

An Ohio man who lost two brothers in the gruesome murders says family members are still processing the announcement that arrests were finally made.

Tony Rhoden is the brother of Christopher Rhoden Sr. and Gary Rhoden, who were shot to death in April 2016. He was among family members told by authorities Tuesday that a family of four had been arrested and charged in the killings.

Tony Rhoden tells the Columbus Dispatch the news is “a lot to take in.”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that a grand jury indicted four members of the Wagner family on aggravated murder charges. He says they could be sentenced to death if convicted.

DeWine suggested a custody battle between the families played a role in the killings.