County needs help paying for trials in Ohio family massacre

Rhoden family.jpg
File: Undated photos of the{ }victims of the murders : Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40, his ex-wife Dana Manley Rhoden, 37, and their three children, Hanna May Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Clarence "Frankie" Rhoden, 20. Frankie Rhoden's fiancĂ©e, Hannah "Hazel" Gilley, 20, was also killed, along with the elder Christopher Rhoden's brother Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and cousin Gary Rhoden, 38.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio's attorney general says the state should cover the majority of the costs for prosecuting the four suspects in the slayings of eight people in an Ohio county.

Officials in Pike County estimate they'll spend well over $1 million on the upcoming cases involving the 2016 killings of eight members of the Rhoden family

State Attorney General Dave Yost said Thursday he doesn't want the costs to cripple the small county in southern Ohio.

He feels the state should pick up all of the costs, outside of salaries for those handling the case. “Justice should not depend on how fat your wallet is,” said Attorney General Yost in a statement. “The capital case involving the 2016 murders of eight Pike County family members illustrates the financial strain that a community can face from cases involving multiple victims and defendants."

State lawmakers would need to approve that spending.

Ohio lawmakers at the end of last year already agreed to provide an initial $100,000 to help pay for the trials of four family members charged in the killings.

All four have pleaded not guilty to charges that could bring the death penalty if they’re convicted.

Authorities have suggested a custody dispute was a possible motive.