George Wagner IV Found Guilty for Role in Pike County Massacre

After 12 weeks of testimony, including from his own brother, the trial of George Wagner IV has come to an end.

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click to enlarge George Wagner IV was convicted on all eight counts of aggravated murder for the 2016 deaths of eight members of the Rhoden family. - Photo: Bill Oxford
Photo: Bill Oxford
George Wagner IV was convicted on all eight counts of aggravated murder for the 2016 deaths of eight members of the Rhoden family.

After more than 12 weeks, the aggravated-murder trial of George Wagner IV has come to an end.

Jurors reached a decision on Nov. 30 after entering deliberation earlier that day. Wagner IV was convicted on all eight counts of aggravated murder for the 2016 deaths of eight members of the Rhoden family in Pike County. He also was found guilty of 14 counts related to the murders, including tampering with evidence and forgery.

Eight weeks into the trial, Jake Wagner testified against his brother, providing insight into the motive behind the 2016 custody-battle-turned-mass slaying of the eight Rhoden family members:
  • 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden
  • 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr.
  • 37-year-old Gary Rhoden
  • 37-year-old Dana Rhoden
  • 20-year-old Hannah Gilley
  • 20-year-old Clarence "Frankie" Rhoden
  • 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden
  • 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden Jr.

In his Oct. 24 testimony, Jake Wagner said he had “no choice” but to kill Hanna Rhoden, the mother of his 3-year-old daughter, the Associated Press reports. The child was caught in a contentious custody battle between the Wagner family and the Rhoden family before the killings.


In court on Oct. 24, Jake Wagner said he feared the 3-year-old was suffering abuse at the hands of Hanna Rhoden. Special prosecutor Angela Canepa told the court that members of the Wagner family spent months meticulously planning the killings, including buying a device to jam phone signals and two brothers dying their hair prior to the murders.

After years without leads, then-Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued a public inquiry in search of George “Billy” Wagner III, Angela Wagner and their sons George Wagner IV and Jake Wagner, who all had relocated to Alaska sometime after the murders.

All four Wagners were charged with all eight murders, including a slew of other charges related to the killings, like conspiracy, tampering with evidence and aggravated burglary.

Sentencing for Wagner IV is expected in mid-December.


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