Written By: Ishton W. Morton – June 27th, 2019
On Wednesday, June 26th, 2019; Judge Randy D. Deering ordered the charges against Fredericka Wagner be dismissed without prejudice. Also, Deering issued a gag order against the attorneys regarding her case.
Fredericka Wagner’s charges resulted from what then-Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine referenced as the massacre in tiny Pike County.
Even though I am not a legal scholar; what this means, if a defendant’s case is dismissed without prejudice the government has decided not to continue to pursue the criminal case against the defendant at this time. However, it does not mean the defendant will never be tried or that the state may not decide to indict or retry the defendant for the same criminal charge at a later date.
Although there are a variety of reasons a case may be dismissed without prejudice, the grounds must be constitutional and does not violate the rights of the accused. For example if the court decides the government is not ready to proceed with the criminal case or the witnesses are not available, the court may decide to dismiss a case without prejudice.
Also, dismissing a case without prejudice is an indication that at a later date the defendant cannot claim double jeopardy. Also, this dismissal varies with dismissing a case with prejudice, which bars the state from pursing criminal charges the defendant at any later date. Clearly, Fredericka may not be out of the woods as yet.
Reportedly, eight family members were killed during their sleep. Which included Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Dana Rhoden, 37, Christopher Sr.’s former wife; their daughter, Hanna, 19; son Christopher, 16; and son Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20.
Also, exterminated were Christopher Sr.’s brother, Kenneth, 44; their cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38; and Hannah Gilley, 20, who was the fiancée of Clarence Rhoden.
Nonetheless, on Wednesday the state dropped charges against the 76-year-old woman who is recognized as being the head of a family. Also, the woman whose family has been accused of eight murders in the Rhoden family massacre in Pike County in 2016.
Accordingly, Wagner was arrested back in November and was held on house arrest until spring. She was released on $100,000 bond. Subsequently, in January, Wagner’s attorneys filed a motion that allowed her to leave home to attend church and teach Sunday school. Reportedly, she has been doing for more than 40 years.
Reportedly, Wagner was driven into a extensive grin as she hugged her daughter, Robin, and attorneys Owen and Charles Koenig after Deering dismissed the case. She smiled for cameras and walked out of the courtroom, the same one she entered seven months ago in handcuffs.
From her home after the hearing Wagner said; “I’m a free woman! Trust in the Lord, with all your heart. He moved the mountain. I told you he would.’’
Wagner quoted the Bible, suggesting she was confident that her faith would lead to Wednesday’s outcome.
She continued to say; “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.”
Pike County Common Pleas Judge Randy Deering agreed with Canepa’s motion. And, by doing so, he made Fredericka Wagner free from criminal prosecution, at least for the time being.