By Grace Wong
PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (Court TV) — The state’s case against George Wagner IV begins with a tour of the four crime scenes, where 8 members of the Rhoden family were shot to death, many as they slept.
All 12 jurors will be sworn in and transported as a group by bus to the jury view. Jurors were instructed to wear appropriate clothing, ‘no open-toed shoes,’ and told they could expect to be walking about outdoors.
Judge Randy Deering, who is presiding over the trial, also instructed the jurors that they would be asked to observe certain things along the way. Judge Deering advised the group that the view would take up to 2 days, and that they would not be permitted to ask questions, take notes, or bring their cell phones, though their phones would be made available in an emergency.
One alternate juror asked if she could drive her own car, fearing the van ride would make her nauseated and vomit, as she is prone to motion sickness. The judge rejected the idea and told her she would have to risk feeling sick and ride with the other jurors in the van. The judge told her it was important to remain with the group.
Over the next 2 days, the jury will visit five other locations where evidence was found.
The mobile homes at the crime scenes were removed for forensic processing, and the jury will be taken to an impound lot to view those structures and a pick up truck processed by investigators.
According to court documents, jurors will also be asked to scrutinize the roads connecting the four crime scenes with the defendants’ residences and pertinent points along those roads.
The defendant, George Wagner IV, has waived his right to be present at the jury view.
The judge has scheduled a hearing in the morning at 8:00 AM to hear the media motion’s objection to the exclusion of the media from the jury view.
Opening statements are set to begin Tuesday, Sept. 6. Court TV will provide live coverage of the trial, expected to last eight weeks.