George Wagner IV found guilty

George Wagner IV convicted in the Pike County Massacre

Georg Wagner IV

Georg Wagner IVone of four family members accused of conspiring to murder eight members of the Rhoden and Gilley families over a custody dispute has been found guilty of all charges including aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence, conspiracy and forgery.

The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for more than seven hours after hearing testimonies for ten weeks. Prosecutors argued that Wagner IV was involved in the murders and helped and supported his family in the planning and cover-up.

On April 22, 2016, a family member was found Chris Rhoden Sr. and his cousin Garry Rhodenshot in Chris Sr.’s trailer on Union Hill Rd. In a trailer next door, Chris’ son Frankie Rhodes and Frankie’s fiancee Hannah Hasel Gilley were found shot dead in her bed. Their 6-month-old son lay between them, covered in blood and wearing a diaper. Down the road, Chris Sr.’s ex-wife. Dana Manley Rhodenand their children Hanna May Rhodenand Chris Rhoden Jr. were also found shot dead in their homes.

Kenneth Rhodes, Chris Sr.’s older brother, was found shot in the eye in his RV several miles away on Left Fork Rd. The younger brother of Wagner IV. Jak Wagnertestified against him as part of a plea deal he finalized with prosecutors in April 2021 that removed the death penalty information from Jake’s case and the cases of his family members who chose to go to trial.

Jake Wagner testified over four days that his father, George “Billy” Wagner suggested killing Hanna May and her family in January 2016 so they could have sole custody of the daughter Jake shares with Hanna May. The little girl’s name was Sophia. Jake testified that he loved his brother and wanted him to be able to go home. However, he told the jury that George was involved in planning the murders and was with him and her father when they made the 15-mile drive to Union Hill Road. on April 21, 2016 to carry out the killing spree. Jake said George helped him build a fake bed in a truck they bought to carry out the murders so they could hide under it while Billy drove that night.

Victims of the Pike County massacre

Dana Manley Rhoden and Christopher Rhoden Sr., Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, Hanna Rhoden, Christopher Rhoden Jr., Kenneth Rhoden, Gary Rhoden

Jake said George should have shot Chris Rhoden Sr. in the head from afar with his SKS rifle, but he froze. So Jake said he took George’s gun from him and shot the mobile home multiple times, hitting Chris Sr. once in the arm. Jake said George stayed with him and Billy all evening and later helped him dismantle the wrong bed in the truck and dig a hole to hide the murder weapons. Jake testified that he and his family carried out the murders because they were concerned that Sophia would be molested and felt they had to do whatever they could to protect her. Prosecutors said the Wagners were simply obsessed with controlling the children born into their family.

“He didn’t have to pull the trigger once to be guilty of any of those aggravated murders,” the special prosecutor said Andy Wilson said in his counter-argument. “George is the protector. George is the strong one. George is the good shot. George is the fighter.”

“What were Angela’s words? George loves Sophia. He wouldn’t let anything happen to Sophia. We all wanted to protect Sophia. Do you think for a second that the guy you heard on that recording is gonna sit it out? No way,” he added.

Evidence against George Wagner IV included wiretaps and other classified recordings captured by law enforcement, in which he told family members not to speak to BCI agents while they were investigating the murders. George also discussed the legal strategy for the recordings with his mother. Angela Wagnerand told her, “I won’t give in and I won’t crumble.”

George testified that he believed BCI would blame his family and he only realized Jake, Angela and Billy were involved after Jake pleaded guilty to all charges in April 2021. In return, Angela Wagner also pleaded guilty to her role in the murders for her testimony and received a 30-year prison sentence. Angela testified against George that her entire family was guilty of the crimes and that George had told her that a bloody footprint left at the scene by a size 11 sneaker belonged to him. Angela claimed George wanted to smear the footprint, but his father, Billy, told him not to worry.

George’s lawyer portrayed him as the black sheep of the family, the victim of childbirth into a family that committed crimes in order to survive.

“He couldn’t take Jake’s personality. He spent as much time as possible without her. Well, did they live together? Yes. Did they work together? Yes. That doesn’t mean they like each other, agree with each other. And you know he grew up in this family that’s really hard to describe. It’s a swamp. He couldn’t get away from it.” John Parker argued.

The jury had asked for evidence in the case, which included more than 2,000 exhibits, and also asked for transcripts of Jake Wagner’s testimony. Judge Randy Deering had agreed to give the jury a copy of the 764-page testimony, despite objections from the prosecution. George’s attorneys did not object to the jury getting the transcript. However, the foreman later said the protocol was not necessary.

Attorney General of Ohio David Yost released a statement after prosecutors cleared all charges against Wagner IV. He praised investigators’ “persistent” efforts.

“This case was a test of BCI’s capabilities, and BCI passed with flying colors,” he said. “Today’s verdict by the jury confirms the work of the office.

“I am grateful for the countless hours, days and weeks that our investigators and forensic scientists have devoted to this case – it reinforces the team’s steadfast determination to bring justice to the victims and their families,” the AG added.

[Image via Liz Dufour/Cincinnati Enquirer/Pool]

Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected] George Wagner IV found guilty

Hung is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button