Rhoden family murder suspect Jake Wagner faces judge wearing stun vest


One of four family members accused of murdering eight people in Pike County in April of 2016 faced a judge Thursday afternoon.

Jake Wagner appeared in court wearing street clothes rather than a jail jumpsuit. The defendant was also free of handcuffs and leg restraints. However, the Pike County Sheriff's Office said Wagner is wearing a vest concealed beneath his clothing that is capable of delivering a powerful jolt.

The court granted a request for Wagner to appear in non-visible restraints, so as not to taint potential jurors.

Advertisement - Story continues below

The company that manufactures the vest mandates law enforcement officers trained to use the device experience the shock themselves, to discourage any misuse.

"You're using it in good judgment," said Lt. Brock Clemmons with the Pike County Sheriff's Office.

10TV obtained training video which depicted Pike County Sheriff's experiencing the jolt of electricity. Lt. Clemmons said he didn't know what to expect, but admitted he was apprehensive.

"It's kind of like when you're at the top of a roller coaster, and you're about to take that big drop towards the bottom. That's probably how I would describe it," said Lt. Clemmons.

The video is more graphic than you might anticipate, as the deputy cries out in clear pain before formulating the words, "stop, stop, stop."

Lt. Clemmons said the vest left burn marks on his body and said deputies who have experienced being tased called the vest "10 times worse."

There's a reason why Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader is taking courtroom security so seriously. Prosecutors have said Bill and Angela Wagner and the couple's sons, George and Jake, had a plan in case one of them got arrested for the murders.

Prosecutors said the plot included an escape and a plan to seek revenge against former Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Sheriff Reader and an investigator with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

All four Wagners are being held without bond facing charges of aggravated murder that carry death penalty specifications.

Filed under: