Episode 8- A Pike County Roundtable
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Find a specialist today at children's national dot org slash stronger. Welcome to the patron massacre a production of iheartradio and katie studios season. Two episode. eight expert. Roundtable i'm courtney armstrong television producer at kt studios with stephanie. Lie decker and jeff. Shane on june twenty first twenty twenty one accused brother george wagner the fourth appeared in court for a pretrial hearing and the road and murder case assist. Long defense pretrial motions. It was the first full hearings take place in stores younger brother. Jake wagner pled guilty to killing five of the eight slain members of the rodent family and twenty sixteen and it was jake's plea and what he potentially told authorities that became the defenses primary focus during these proceedings. I think we need more than sixty days to investigate. Whatever we learn. Jake's prophet because we've been provided that even though it's been available to all we have not received that we are entitled to that under sixteen and once we get it. I understand. it's more than ten hours of record statement but once we get that we'd inadequate amount of time to investigate whatever we need to investigate and we'll certainly comply with our every out. The state agree to work towards providing. George wagner's attorneys with jake's confession the court also scheduled georgia's next motion hearing to take place on september thirteenth but before court was dismissed judge randy during provided one critical piece of information. George moving forward we lose case for four with accused brother. George wagner said to begin trial on april fourth. Twenty twenty two. There will surely be a lot to cover moving forward. But just a few days before. George wagner's most recent hearing we got some of our regular contributors together for discussion reporters and jennifer levy and jodi bar and criminal forensic expert joseph morgan. We covered a range of topics that span their years covering the road and murder case. We started out with a talk about some of the details. They had heard leading up to george wagner's trial last week and what they expected the outcome to be engineered. Levi's started us off some documents filed by george. The fourths lawyers saying they still haven't received jake statements to law enforcement and they were led to believe that jake's interviews were between ten and eighteen hours so they subpoenaed great myers. Who is the lead counsel for jake and they filed a motion demanding that the additional discovery including jake's interviews be turned over so we don't know you know veracity of his statements or how truthful they are other than he allegedly led them to the vehicle used and the weapons used so i mean he did quite a bit of talking jody. How rare is it for. One attorneys is the peanut another attorney. I don't recall a specific instance of that. But i mean that that is a clear indication that one side does not feel that they are getting the information. They need to defend their clients. So i think it's of worth a deeper look at. Why either the state or jake's own attorneys or are not playing ball here. That's been a complaint. The entire time that defense attorneys have complained consistently that they're not getting material as quickly as they would like and you would think they would just make a copy and send it over. And this one i would venture a guess that it was at least audio recorded. Perhaps if not video recorded the statement that jay gave so they need to produce this. I don't know how these three defense teams can adequately prepare for trial when the there's this huge evidence dumped from jake wagner's mouth at apparently they don't have access to right now. You've got one of the four. Saying i did it. I did it and What did he do exactly. I didn't hear it in court. You know maybe he. He told that story in the statements but ten to eighteen hours. A heck of a long time to have a conversation. Cover a lot of ground in that time so at a quote normal. Pretrial what happens. What's the broad strokes. They usually ask the defendant if they're happy with their lawyer and they're meeting with their boyer enough and they discussed the pace of discovery. And what have you. But i feel like in this case. Nothing ever happens. I mean they go into chambers for an hour and they come out and put something on the record because these are death penalty cases now. They're really not death penalty cases because they've taken that off the table. If jake testifies against everyone they typically are pretty uneventful. We've had some sparks fly in some of the motions hearings. But i haven't you know these pretrial tend to be pretty dry. Yeah i thought that too until. What was that april. The twenty first of this year the night before jake wagner pled guilty. I was told by some family members that we see. I reached out and said you want to be at the courthouse tomorrow. Pike county and then that was just dock as a pretrial hearing and there was no indication that jack wagner will be pleading guilty other than the state calling the family is suggesting they be there so that actually turned into the end of his prosecution. So man i think if you get a call from the family anyone of these pre-trials it just seemed like a routine. Where are we in this prosecution. Does everybody have what they need. So we can try this thing man. I think you gotta be careful in this case. You don't know what may come next. I mean jake was. I think a complete surprised everybody even the family or your thoughts on that day. Just of none of us were expecting this. You remember. We were all texting between one. Another one the hell off because the same drop like thunder are the heavens and we never saw it coming. I didn't certain had no idea that this was about to happen. So you could knock me over with a feather that day. There is a distinct possibility that he could come. In and plea. I don't think he's going to plead guilty if he if he was going to plead guilty. I don't think as lawyer be like filing a demand for discovery in a trial date so just my opinion but i now probably get out there and something crazy will happen the pike to massacre. You never know where this is going next coming this story. Who did you guys. I didn't i thought it could have been related to the pot. You know the marijuana growing operation. But i had been told early on by some law enforcement. Sources federal law enforcement sources that the cartel thing wasn't true because they ran that down because of the level of violence that was involved in it and it didn't seem like messaging so much to me as you would see with an organized crime hit. There's generally something net will be left. That is substantial. You know the elements that we've talked about quite a bit relative to overkill in cases obscene and then you know displayed before us. It seemed very intimate to me very very intimate and cartels loved their money. But they're not intimate with intimacy comes that level of familiarity and the fact that in tight little space you know and it is a tight little space when you travel down that road you have these locations where all these people inhabited this. These very specific pinpoint locations and there's other structures and other families around that area. They knew where they were going. There were no mistakes many times if somebody's not familiar with area and they're going to go out and kill somebody. You'll have mistakes. Along the way that they had pinpointed. Four separate locations and that again goes back. I think there's connective de with that. Seed of intimacy. The whole thing about the dogs not barking. Because they said those dogs would have. That was very strange. We knew there was a baby. We knew there was a child. You know we knew about the little girl. And we knew about the wagner's but i didn't hear the wagner name and any association with the murders or suspected association until may of twenty seventeen and then jodi was that your experience as well. I got over there heavily in june july right after the murders and made people you talk with. Even the family members had already. And i don't know what the reasons were but had already suspected something to do with the wagner's i mean they had already floated farm out as being the base of operations for this family. There was also a drug case in adams county. Which is just right. Next door to pike that the rumor mill believed could have been linked to the wagner's the wagner forum. Or at. Least you know what happened over as far as drug angle that ended up not being connected in the end or as far as we know it's not connected but you know we went as far as you know covering a court hearing over there for someone who had a substantial amount of drugs on them so anyway there was a lot swirling around but the wagner name. We heard early on that. Some people suspected that they were somehow involved. But you know back. Dan is like how do you even. Where do you start on something like that. I went out past that the flying w. farm. You try to dig it in the property records background these people and i off there wasn't a lot to background. What these folks and secondly it's just you know what you did find didn't scream mass murderers i. I didn't see anything there. That would cause me to continue digging. It was nothing that i found at least in looking into the wagner family then went okay there. It is smoking gun. The rumors are true. It's just collected it as information you try to vet it you get nowhere you just move on and then it yeah. I'm curious your perspective. On certain to develop an idea of them. I started looking into them. And you know when you see that. Jake and george and the house and the mom lived there with them. I was kind of like. Oh that's weird. And then i remember being out there in hearing a little bit about you know how they lived in learning more about george's wife now ex wife. It all started kind of sound very interesting so I remember specifically going up to the flying w. and you go up there and it's like this steep would say it's like a sixty or seventy degree kind of like driveway gravel driveway in driving up there and being basically told to get off the property just seeing if they wanted to comment so it was a little creepy a little scary as a beautiful property. Don't get me wrong but when your cellphone doesn't work and you're driving up somewhere to go. Try to talk to somebody and somebody you know basically comes out and tells you to out of there. They felt a little weird you know. Obviously it wasn't very welcoming. I started digging around on facebook quite a bit too and it didn't seem like on the surface that you would suspect anything. You know the mom. Angela was running some type of little organic farm. Type thing at that peterson road house. You know she was trying to breed animals and sell them and she had pictures of the children on their on facebook. So you know at first. It didn't seem weird. But then i contacted her and said look. I'd love to do an interview with you. And then some of the things angela wagner said to me on facebook messenger kind of made me feel a little uncomfortable the way she was trying to dictate what i said what i would be reporting about our conversations on facebook messenger. She said you know. You are not to report any of this. What i said you know. I do not give you permission to report anything. I just told you. She said that. She was being slandered. She and her family. Do you think jake is lying about being personally responsible for five of the eight. I don't know what is incentive to lie about that is not that afraid of the death penalty the economics of that equation. Just does not make sense to me where he would openly confessed to murdering five people. Probably the worst act you could commit as a human is taking the life of another and he did that five times over. I think we got a good idea of what happened here. Jaguar told his story in court and he took the guilty plea and said he did it. Five of the you know i. I think that's the best shot we've had so far at some confirmation of repealing the story back in the world to know what happened when they woke up that morning. Put this plan in place. Who went where did what as i think. All of us have done since april two thousand. Sixteen when this happened. Is you roll. Around these scenarios in your mind trying to figure out first off what's the mindset of someone to pull this off and then to just run free for what two years afterward and you live with this every day of your life it may have been passion driven and it was certainly anger driven. But it wasn't like somebody just suddenly flew off the handle and decided to go and visit hell down upon roads. This is something that took planning in my estimation at least so in began thinking this confederacy. What do you think about when you're moving from some place like the last house. Itchy hit with multiple pink linen drive out kim's house at some distance away you know. What is that conversation of. You talked about what music you're gonna listen to radio talk about. Who's going to handle what. I don't know ultra jake said. He killed five. Oh but i can't imagine to jody's point wine a world. That man would say that he killed five people in an open court. He didn't do it so that leaves us with the other three. Who do this and do it in the presence of these babies and just leave them. And i can only imagine having wallet around about net blood. I don't know it. It leaves me dumbfounded. That's harder hannah gilly. She was attacked on only second to her throat and she was shot this woman five times in the face which is an unbelievable overkill. So the thought is a y. And then also is it possible. Be a connection or rage. Because her brother charlie gilly is the father of hannah. Rodents new baby. That would be my suspicion. But i i really don't know for sure i mean i. I would be speculating because of that connection. There's a whole lot more going on hanna. Julie shot five times in the face. You looking anger well. Is that a message. Being sent one shot is a message. You know five. I don't know what you're doing at that point. J wagner least set out with a plan that night to do what he did to five of the eight you know who killed the other three. I just i just hope we all get these answers now. This brings us to the point. I'm gonna reflect back to an old old case real quick that many people will be aware of an absolutely horrendous in its dennis rader with btk killing and kansas. He stood up and he said. I will in fact admit to everything i've done. Since nineteen seventy three or seventy four winter winter. Was he started this horrific murder scrape his serial killings. They put this one caveat in there. They said okay. That's fine we'll take death off the table and you have to stand in court and you have standing delivered this moment. Tom and he was compelled to what is framed as an allocution. He had to stand there. And it's one of the most chilling things you've ever seen because this guy is a psychopath and so when you listen to him. Give the details behind these horrific crimes. He participated in. It really. makes you wonder if you want this thing that people talk about they frame is closure causes horror show but in this particular case it. This is the route you're going to go. I think that these individuals should be compelled to aliquo listening but these babies that are left behind. These children don't think they're going to explanation at some point. I mean yeah no the community does but what about. These kids was just assume that they do get convictions on all frontier. What are you push them off into deep dark hole never to be heard from again and we'll never hear anything else about this and people keep talking about well. We'll never hear the story will never because deal was cut and they weren't compelled the perpetrators if if it is them and they are so convicted. They were never compelled to say okay. This is what happened. This is how the planning took place and this is what we did that night. And those questions will always exist and on a a abroad or no. You're always gonna. Have you know people sitting in their basement with tinfoil hats on saying well. It wasn't now You know they'll be crazy conspiracy theories that will created for years and years to come but what actually happened that nine. We're going to take a quick break. Here will be back in a moment. Shell brothers is now building new homes and ten unique communities across tax friendly coastal delaware with twelve models available to virtually tour you can discover shaw brothers unique curb appeal and sensational floor plans from the comfort of your own home. Spring is the perfect time to start planning your dream home to start exploring everything shell brothers has to offer visit us today at shaw brothers dot com models currently open by appointment. Only remember the saying if you love something set it free. If it doesn't come back it was never yours to begin with well when it comes to identity the folks lifelock totally disagree. 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Few really kind of watched these hearings very closely. She was apparently on jail calls. She was calling her mother against the judge's orders and telling renew come. You don't have to testify against us. People who are completely innocent. They don't call their mothers and say you don't have to testify against us and her mother came out in court and said she asked me to lie about notarized. The documents the custody documents the forged custody documents that have been discussed in this case it was stated the they were declaration documents and it was stated in read. A new comes case because she was the one accused of charged with forgery or obstruction. It said that it was declarations for the children of hannah. Roden george the fourth and jake and so basically these documents designated a guardian should any of them die in these documents. Had been signed and notarized nineteen days before the murders at designated the children go to angela. Should any of them die. Let's just one of those puzzle pieces that i felt like showed that angela. She may have been the driving force here since she was the one that had the facebook message. That's been referenced in court. That showed that. Hannah said they'd have to kill me first before i gave up my child and she showed that message to jag. Angie kappa said that in court. When jake pleaded guilty the next thing i wanted to talk about was alaska when they all have been moved to. Your point together. Sold all of their stuff. I went through. This doesn't look good on paper. It looks like what you would suspect someone involved in a crime like this would do is to go to the other side of the world so i mean that was just my initial impression of it but to end up thinking everything. You own. Up and burrowing in multiple trailers in moving to alaska. That's not like moving just out of state. That's that's a long way to go and then to come right back. I would love to know more about the reasons behind that. Did they feel the heat at that point in time where they really trying to get away. I think what i'm so interested in. Is jake's wife who we don't know all that much about but obviously he goes to. Alaska meets a woman and then ends up marrying her. This other woman. I mean what were those conversations. Like i mean i would love to be able to sit down and talk with her now about you know. She watched that video. Feed of jake pleading guilty to these murders. I mean if he hid that from her to you know it's like a whole 'nother level. Another layer on this sadistic twisted personality turned out to be. Elizabeth then came back to pike county with the family and then she went to the police claiming threats harassment and potential identity. Ray it's been very frustrating because that case is now years old and they won't release anymore records about it or any more of the report than just the first page which basically says a name and you know a complaint lodged doesn't say anything else. I talked to a lawyer about it. Awhile back who did not think it would be successful to pursue obtaining that it still listed as an open case even though it's been many years this of course all speculation on my part but because to elizabeth filed those harassment charges. Because she was living with jake and his family. And alaska came back to piped-in it seems like a possibility. She could be the informant. Who do you think the informant or informants are. I think jay wagner's wife. We have edited to find her so many times so many ways and roadblock after roadblock just we haven't been able to speak with her well i kind of suspected for a while now that it was it was her and then what i thought was interesting in this was said in court someone or more than prison referred to the informant as she right ryan scheider said she during his testimony last august so that was the final thing to lead me to believe it was her but it could be could be wrong. Could be a curve ball out of nowhere though. What if it's grandmothers. I know that's hard to believe. I don't know how impossible it is about the grandmothers. A obviously they're also tighten it. And i do think it's interesting. Frederica has not said one word knowledge. Probably since jake has made his confession but even with no come. I can't imagine the pressure. She was under when she had to talk about. You know my daughter said she did have something to say and they were pressing her for time again. That's why you know it's like there's so much left unknown with this one day down the road we could rip this case file opening when it's all said and done and it's more of the truth here and tonight and jody. I know you live pretty local types than have been there joseph. Can you tell us what you recent first trip was like. It's not unlike a lot of appalachian towns and communities it's You can tell you know church just about every corner and the people are found. Were very warm. They didn't put it in the vernacular they can give us the side. I when we got there you know they were very friendly and welcoming by even now live in southern appalachia. So i wasn't too far removed from my home from that location but when i got there from the perspective of a forensics guy and a debt investigator everything has got to be contextualised for the environment which it occurs. You know these these horrible events and horrible events occur everywhere no one is immune to but you know for me going to heighten and kind of seeing that you kinda get a feel for the rats that people would run and that there there are a limited number of points of egress. I think to get from point. Eight point be. It's not like you got multiple surface roads where you can get to a variety of different locations. Essentially there's one way in one way out. This is not a location. Where if you pull in your average joe and just slapped him down. They're gonna know where to go. It informs you as an investigator that whoever ran these routes in rando route knew the area because several locations along union hill. Where essentially only one car can pass it atop in certain locations of predictably dependent upon the vehicle. And one other note. If there's someone that is not of their of that place you will be noticed you will be noticed. People will take notice of your presence there because it is not heavily populated sparse and so to move through that space. You have to know where all the twists and turns are. You'd have to know what to avoid what point of view. It's no one might have a location. All of these things are going to play into any kind of scenario that you're constructing your mind where you're thinking. How can i go about getting away with slaughter. Let's stop here for another quick break. We'll be back in a moment like most people. I barely have time to get everything done. Let alone make a healthy indecent dinner for my family every night. 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Today that's friends without the our best fiends So if the four wagner's committed this crime together who was watching. Jake and hannah rodin's daughter. Was she in the car which is unimaginable. Or was she home. I mean that's a special kinda crazy if you're gonna take children along to kill people and just have them in their car seats so i can't imagine anyone would do such a thing so i would think somebody had to have been with those children. Hopefully we'll get that question answered. I mean in the end. Does it really matter now. It's been alleged many times that each one of them had a role in this. I mean we've kind of heard that discussed before. Yeah because to your question of does it. Matter i mean in my mind would certainly is if someone outside the four is because then that person has been living with this secret knowledge. That is hard to imagine bearing. It's not like you just dial up a baby sitter and say hey. Can you come by. Watch my kids for the night i mean. Can you imagine or my grandkids. I mean you would think they would have spoken to that person already if there was a fifth person and watching the children or something like that then he kinda closing bites engine and thoughts at this moment. Yeah i mean i. I would love to see what jake told the. Investigators what was behind this. Was it just the child. And why and i know why jake jake confessed. He found god. That's what i. That's what i heard so don't be all the you know. If you've ever covered a bond hearing you think some kind of find god. I think some find god and i guess he. He really found him how. 'bout that it will be interesting to see if it was more than just the child because to wipe out eight people for a child is you know that's it. That's a whole different type of thing that i'm you know you hear about domestic violence incidents over children and divorces going ugly and a spouse kills another spouse over control but to kill an entire family. Because you want one child is. It is hard to wrap your head around. Fat is indeed. All this was about so right now all we know is what j. wagner did so i think we can all speak with with certainty that he had a major role in this. But you're you're looking at trying to make sense of this. It's the custody issue but then on top of that. It does luke hannah gilly to some extent because her brother apparently he got this. Hannah rodent pregnant. You know. it's not just hannah in this child. It's hannah her mother her father. You know all centered around this baby. Everyone who could get custody of this baby you. That may be driving him at that point but then you now have. Hannah guilt looped in through her brother in that tied to hanna road. And i don't. Is that enough. I mean what if it comes out that and i know we all. We've all heard the theory from from the state at this point in time to this was a concerted effort by four members of the wagner family. But what if it comes out that you know jake was truly the trigger guy and the rest are are. On the periphery helping and supporting you know again. I mean this is just me shooting the breeze here about this but you know it's just you try to put yourself in that mindset of doing what we know jake did at this point in time and the result of whoever's actions you still got eight people dead children laying in the blood and the aftermath of that so the hell of a situation over there will continue to monitor movements and george wagons trial as well as any developments regarding accused father billy wagner and accused mother angela wagner but while we wait we want to turn our attention back to the michael moran story that we covered an episode seven. I really thought there was no way. There was no way this could be going on for so long. Nobody did anything about it. One of the best lawyers a politician and a sitting judge all possibly involved in this network. That's how deep this win. And that's when we knew we needed to get more women who had been through this experience to talk about what they said they'd been through with michael. We'll have part two of that next week. For more information on the case and relevant photos follow us on instagram at kt underscore studios the piped-in massacre returns. Pike county is executive produced by stephanie. Lie decker and me. Courtney armstrong editing and sound design by executive producer. Jared aston additional producing by jeff. Shane andrew better and chris graves. The pike massacre returned to pay. County is a production of iheartradio and katie studios for more podcasts. From iheartradio visit the iheartradio app apple podcasts. 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