Pike County murder trial not happening this week; defense and prosecution rest

WAVERLY — Both the prosecution and the defense officially rested their cases before the jury on Friday after spending days arguing and entering evidence the jury will have during upcoming deliberations.

Judge Randy Deering announced there would be no court the entire week of Thanksgiving, however, both for the holiday and for medical appointments made by members of the jury.

Closing arguments will be Monday, Nov. 28.

Attorneys have spent several days combing through the thousands of pieces of evidence presented by the state before they verbally — but not officially — rested their case on Nov. 10; the hearings are typical procedure after the prosecution completes their arguments.

As a result, the defense has presented their witnesses alongside the state’s attempt to wrap its case, with the jury sometimes seeing witnesses from both sides in the same day.

For the last two days, George Wagner IV was on the witness stand testifying in his own trial.

George — along with his mother Angela, father George “Billy” Wagner and brother Edward “Jake” Wagner — is accused of shooting and killing the Rhoden family members “execution-style.” The family’s bodies were found on April 22, 2016. He faces eight charges of aggravated murder, along with other charges associated with tampering with evidence, conspiracy and forgery.

Found dead that day were 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr., 37-year-old Dana Rhoden, 20-year-old Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden Jr., 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 37-year-old Gary Rhoden, 19-year-old Hanna May Rhoden, and 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden.

The trial is the first time a person has faced a jury for the deaths of the Rhoden family six years ago.

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