By John Seewer, Associated Press
A woman whose four family members are accused of carrying out the killings of eight people in Ohio will remain on house arrest until she goes to trial in July on charges of lying to investigators.
A judge on Thursday rejected a request from Fredericka Wagner’s attorneys to dismiss the obstruction and perjury charges, but the judge did say she could now attend church.
Wagner’s son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons were charged in November with shooting eight members of a family in Pike County nearly three years ago. All four have pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors say Wagner, 76, lied to investigators after they found two bulletproof vests at her home and that her attorney had many months to turn over records about when and where the vest were bought.
Wagner’s attorney argued Thursday that the charges should be dismissed because she bought the vests two weeks after the killings to protect her family and that she initially didn’t remember where she got them online.
“They charged her with a crime that never happened” said defense attorney Jim Owen.
Pike County Judge Randy Deering rejected the request, agreeing with prosecutors who said the issue of whether to dismiss the charges should be decided at trial. He then set that date for July 29.
The judge did grant Wagner’s request to go to church and visit a group home for disabled adults that she helps run. Both of those places are on her property in rural Pike County.
Wagner has said her family had no role in the killings, telling The Plain Dealer that she was terrified when she first heard about the massacre.
Authorities say her son, George “Billy” Wagner III; her daughter-in-law, Angela Wagner; and grandsons George Wagner and Edward “Jake” Wagner planned the attacks for months.
They could face the death penalty if convicted.
Investigators have said that a custody dispute between Jake Wagner and one of the victims was a possible motive in the slayings of the Rhoden family.
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