Rita Jo Newcomb. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Pike County murders: Grandmother to have final pretrial hearing today

Rita Jo Newcomb is facing charges of obstructing justice, perjury, and three counts of forgery. 

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Newcomb is the mother of Angela Wagner. Angela, her husband George “Billy” Wagner III and their sons George Wagner IV and Edward “Jake” Wagner were charged with planning and carrying out the deaths of the eight members of the Rhoden family on April 22, 2016. 

The apparent motive for the killings was a custody battle, according to officials, as Jake Wagner has a 2-year-old daughter with one of the victims. 

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During a pre-trial hearing held in January, the judge issued non-contact orders forbidding Newcomb from speaking to Fredericka Wagner, mother of Billy Wagner, or to each of the other four members of the Wagner family. 

Newcomb was placed on house arrest. 

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