The first defendant will stand trial for allegedly helping kill eight members of an Ohio family. George Wagner IV will possibly see his brother Edward “Jake” Wagner and their mother Angela Wagner sit in the witness box but not on his behalf. They pleaded guilty as part of their plea deals. The case against George Wagner III, who is the brothers’ father and Angela’s husband, remains pending. You can watch George IV’s trial in the video above.
Prosecutors in Pike County, Ohio, say they murdered eight members of the Rhoden family in the night of April 21, 2016, into the early morning of April 22. It happened across three trailers and one camper. The victims:
- Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40
- his ex-wife Dana Manley Rhoden, 38,
- their children Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, Hanna Rhoden, 19, and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20,
- Christopher Sr.’s cousin Gary Rhoden, 38,
- Sr.’s brother Kenneth Rhoden, 44,
- and Frankie’s fiancée Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 20
The Wagners did it so they could get custody of the young daughter Jake had with his ex Hanna Rhoden, prosecutors said. Jake indeed won sole custody of the child, now 8, after the murders. The Wagners moved to Alaska. That all changed after authorities arrested them in November 2018, sparking a legal battle lasting almost four years.
Angela is set to spend 30 years behind bars. Jake is set to spend the rest of his life in prison. He expressed remorse in his plea hearing last year.
“Yes, your honor, I agree to what state’s provided, and I am deeply and very sorry,” he said.
The judge asked for his plea in the count of aggravated murder that covered Hanna Rhoden’s death.
“I am guilty your honor,” he said.
[Mugshot via Pike County Jail]
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