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Watch Live: Pike County Massacre Trial - OH v. George Wagner IV Day Seven
- Published on Sep 19, 2022
- George Wagner, IV is standing trial for the April 2016 murders of eight members of the Rhoden and Gilley families. Wagner IV faces 22 counts including eight counts of aggravated murder with death penalty specifications, aggravated burglary, conspiracy, tampering with evidence and forgery.
Wagner’s brother, Edward “Jake” Wagner, and his mother, Angela Wagner, have already pleaded guilty to taking part in the conspiracy to murder the eight Rhoden and Gilley family members over their desire to obtain full custody of the then two-year-old daughter Jake shared with victim Hanna May Rhoden. Angela and Jake Wagner have agreed to testify against their family members.
George “Billy” Wagner, the father of Jake and George, faces the same 22 counts.
On the morning of April 22, 2016, family members found Chris Rhoden, Sr., 40, and his cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38, dead in Chris’ mobile home on Union Hill Rd. Chris Sr.’s ex-wife, Dana Manley Rhoden, 37, and their children, Hanna May Rhoden, 19, and Chris Rhoden Jr., 16, were found shot in the head in their sleep in their mobile home down the road. Hanna May had given birth days earlier to a baby girl who was not harmed. Clarence "Frankie" Rhoden, 20 and his fiancee, Hannah "Hazel" Gilley, 20, were also found shot to death in their sleep. Their six-month-old son was in between them covered in blood but unharmed. Frankie’s four-year-old son was unharmed in the home as well.
Kenneth Rhoden, 44, was found shot once in the eye in his camper on Left Fork Rd. more than seven miles away.
Angela Wagner’s mother, Rita Newcomb, pleaded guilty in 2019 to a misdemeanor count of obstruction. She had been charged with forgery and obstruction of justice for lying about signing and notarizing custody documents related to Hanna May, Jake and George’s children. Newcomb has agreed to testify against her family members.
Billy Wagner’s mother, Fredericka Wagner, was initially charged with obstruction of justice and forgery for allegedly lying about purchasing a bullet-resistant vest for Billy. The charges were dropped after it was discovered a plate in the vest was manufactured after the homicides. Prosecutors have said they may refile the charges at a later date. Fredericka has been subpoenaed to testify.
Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40
his ex-wife Dana Manley Rhoden, 38,
their children Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, Hanna May 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.
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