Former BCI agent testifies in motions hearing for eldest Wagner
PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) -A former BCI agent testified in court during a motion hearing for George Wagner IV, the eldest of four family members who are accused of killing eight members of the Rhoden family.
Seth Hagaman, who is now a captain with the West Chester Police Department, was cross-examined on his role during the investigation.
Hagaman stated that he was a homicide investigator with the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, BCI, during the Pike County Massacre in 2016.
Hagaman told Special Prosecutor Angela Canepa that he issued 35 intercept warrants for wiretaps and cyber listening for the Wagners.
According to Hagaman, interception warrants are trickier to issue because there are specific statutory requirements, and they have to prove that there is probable cause that a person committed the crime.
The interception warrants gave investigators 30 days to listen to cell calls and read text messages from the Wagners and place four listening devices in an R-L Carriers semi-truck. George IV and Jake Wagner were working for R-L Carriers out of the Warren County location.
They were installed in Montana when the brothers were crossing the border from Canada, according to Hagaman.
Hagaman stated to the special prosecutor that BCI had to “tickle the wires” to get the suspects to talk about the crime.
The BCI agents had to monitor the conversations the Wagners would have through electronic devices and only listen to those pertinent to the crime.
The prosecution presented a sheet of phone numbers that Hagaman says belonged to all four Wagners.
According to the sheet, BCI started listening to the conversations two years after the murders of all eight members of the Rhoden family.
Hagaman said they would put out feelers on social media to try and get the Wagners to talk about the case.
BCI also sent a court order to Angela Wagner’s mother, Rita, to spur conversation between the two brothers while they were on the road and had to use cell phones to communicate because they were not face-to face with their mother and father.
Hagaman stated to an George’s attorney John Parker that when the brothers were in the truck, they knew they were under investigation before the devices were installed.
During the investigation, the brothers thought that they were being monitored so they thought that they should change their phone numbers.
Hagamen then stated to the prosecution that George got tattoos of four aces and eights, symbols of the dead man’s hand, months before the murders. He also had tattoos of skulls and an eight ball.
It is speculated by BCI that the eight ball connects to the eight members of the Rhoden family.
The judge stated that the motion for the jury to be allowed to hear the testimony will come in June.
George IV’s trial date is set for Aug. 29.
His father George “Billy” Wagner III, who hasn’t made a court appearance since Feb. 1st, will go to trial in late October.
George and his father have pleaded not guilty.
Both Wagner’s maintain their innocence despite statements to prosecutors by both Angela and Jake Wagner that Billy and George the IV took part in the Pike County massacre in 2016.
The victims are Christopher Rhoden, 40; his older brother, Kenneth Rhoden, 44; his cousin, Gary Rhoden; his former wife, Dana Lynn Rhoden, 37, and their children: Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20, Hanna Mae Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Frankie’s fiancé, Hannah Gilley.
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