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First suspect pleads not guilty in Ohio family slayings of 8

FILE - These undated file images released by the Ohio Attorney General's office, show, top row from left, George "Billy" Wagner III and Angela Wagner, and bottom row from left, George Wagner IV and Edward "Jake" Wagner. The four members of the Wagner family have been charged in the slayings of eight members of the Rhoden family in rural Ohio two years ago. (Ohio Attorney General's office via AP, File)

WAVERLY, Ohio (AP) — The first of four family members charged with killing eight people from another Ohio family has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges in the potential death penalty case.

Twenty-six-year-old Edward “Jake” Wagner acknowledged the 23 counts against him but said little else Tuesday in Pike County court. He’s being held without bond.

Wagner, his parents and his brother are charged in the 2016 shootings of seven adults and a teenager from the Rhoden family.

The Wagners will be arraigned over the next week. An attorney who’s represented them has said they’ll be vindicated.

Authorities say a custody dispute was a possible motive. Jake Wagner shared a daughter with one of the victims.

The judge says he’s prohibiting lawyers and authorities involved from publicly discussing Wagner’s case.

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