Pike County Murders: Grandmothers have pretrial hearings, next court date set

WAVERLY — Two women accused of helping cover up the Pike County murders had pretrial hearings Thursday.
Fredericka Wagner and Rita Jo Newcomb are facing a count of obstructing justice and a count of perjury in the Rhoden family murders.

Newcomb was also indicted on three counts of forgery.

In both cases the judge issued non contact orders, forbidding the women from speaking to each other or the four members of the Wanger family accused of killing the Rhodens.

Defense teams for both women said that they are still waiting for the transcripts from their clients’ grand jury testimonies.

Wagner’s team said that she is hard of hearing and want the transcript from her testimony to see how the questions were phrased.

Her defense also asked that her house arrest be modified to allow her to attend church and visit a non-profit where she was a former administrator.

Newcomb’s team requested a modified house arrest to allow her to tend to a non-working farm at her home.

Newcomb has been placed on house arrest at her mother’s home so that she can help care for her.

The prosecution objected to the requests and has until the end of January to present evidence opposing the request.

While in court, it was revealed that Wagner was accused of lying about bulletproof vests that were seized during a search of her property.

Wagner’s next hearing is March 28. Her trial is scheduled to begin July 31.

Newcomb’s next hearing also is March 28.

Wagner is the mother of George “Billy” Wagner III. Billy, his wife, Angela Wagner, and their sons, George Wagner IV and Edward “Jake” Wagner, are accused of killing eight members of the Rhoden family.

Newcomb is Angela’s mother.


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