Wagner matriarch accused of lying about bulletproof vests in Rhoden murder investigation
WAVERLY, Ohio (WKRC) - Wagner matriarch Fredericka Wagner appeared in court earlier on Thursday, where it was revealed that she's accused of lying to the grand jury about one thing - the purchase of two bulletproof vests seized from her son's room at her home.
Her son, Billy, his wife, Angela, and their sons, George and Jake, are accused of murdering seven members of the Rhoden family and Hannah Gilley in April of 2016.
The victims are Christopher Rhoden, Sr., his cousin, Gary Rhoden and Christopher’s ex-wife, Dana. Christopher and Dana’s children, Frankie, Christopher Jr. and Hanna were also shot to death along with Frankie’s fiancée, Hannah Gilley. Kenneth Rhoden was found shot once in his camper several miles away later in the day.
Few details have been released about the murders. This was the first that had been discussed in court about the bulletproof vests.
Fredericka Wagner is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for her testimony about the vests to the grand jury.
There was some back-and-forth between the prosecution and defense about how much of her testimony should be given to the defense as part of their case. The defense wants a transcription of all of her testimony, the prosecution says it's only required by law to give the portion related to the charges. The defense says it wants to know more about the context of the questions and if Wagner's difficulty hearing impacted her testimony.
Judge Randy Deering will decide how much will be handed over at a later date.
The judge heard arguments about whether Fredericka Wagner should be allowed to go to her work and church, both of which are very close to her home. The prosecution questioned her need to go to the Crystal Springs Home, since she is no longer an administrator. Assistant Attorney General Angela Canepa said it was her understanding Wagner hadn't been there in three years except to hand out bonuses. Canepa said she hadn't heard anything about a request to go to church until the hearing.
The judge wanted the state to investigate to make sure the court was getting accurate information about the home and the church. That should come at the end of the month.
Canepa requested a gag order in Fredericka Wagner's case similar to the one in effect for the four charged in the murders. Defense attorney James Owen found the request unfair, claiming the state has already tainted the jury pool. "The day the indictments were issued, they had a big press conference, they put out all this false information. They made false allegations about Fredericka. At some point in time, we may want to counter that."
Canepa responded that the state just announced the indictments, which are just allegations. The judge said he'll consider that at a later date.
As in the other recent hearings, the judge ordered Wagner to not contact any of her family members facing charges. Owen said Wagner hadn't had any such communication and he wouldn't object to an order keeping her from communicating her relatives who are incarcerated. "Our position from the beginning is that Fredericka is an honest, decent and law abiding citizen who is falsely accused of being on the wrong side of the law."
Fredericka Wagner's next hearing is set for March 28.