Lawmakers Pass Bill to Help Fund Trials of Defendants in Rhoden Murders

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Ohio House Lawmakers have passed a bill to help pay for the trials in the Rhoden family murders.

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State Rep Shane Wilkin, a Hillsboro Republican, testified on the House floor Wednesday about the bill designed to help Pike County pay for the trials of six members of the Wagner family. A mother, father, and two sons from the Wagner family are charged with the murders. Two additional senior family members are charged with crimes related to the murders.

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“Pike County operates on one the smallest budgets in the state, just around $10-million,” said Wilkin. “Early estimates for these trials are estimated to surpass $4-million.”

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The bill's co-sponsor, John Rogers, a Mentor on the Lake Democrat, said the county would not be able to cover the costs associated with the trials on its own.

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“In the case of Pike County and its 28,000 residents, the capital case involving multiple victims and defendants has placed on that county’s shoulders a financial burden difficult to bear alone,” said Rogers.

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Without state help, the trials are estimated to wipe out as much as 40-percent of Pike County's tax income for a year. The bill sets up a law to cover any county should such a heinous crime occur there in the future. The Senate takes it up next.

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