Eight family members were executed-style following a custody fight in the Pike County Massacre.
Edward ‘Jake’ Wagner, 29, pleaded guilty to killing his ex-girlfriend Hannah Rodden and seven of her relatives.
Hannah, 19, was shot many times while sleeping near to her newborn baby after Wagner attempted to persuade her to split custody.
Christopher Rhoden Sr, 40, Dana Rhoden, 37, and brothers Clarence, 20, and Christopher Jr., 16, all died.
Clarence Rhoden’s fiancée, Hannah Gilley, 20, Christopher Srbrother’s Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and cousin Gary Rhoden, 38, were all killed.
Four relatives of Wagner are suspected with murder.
Angela Wagner, 51, was sentenced to 30 years in jail for conspiring to kill her eight children. Edward ‘Jake’ Wagner pleaded guilty and received eight life sentences.
George ‘Billy’ Wagner III, 50, and George Wager IV, 28, pleaded not guilty.
Monday’s trial will begin with George IV. George IV’s defense counsel maintain he didn’t fire or kill anybody.
Wagner was given eight life sentences without parole in 2021 after agreeing to a plea agreement that spared him and his family the death penalty.
His mother pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence, and other offenses.
Wagner and his mother agreed to testify against the other defendants in the impending trial.
Billy Wagner will be tried later this year, after two years and millions of cash.
Rita Newcomb, Angela Wagner’s mother, was charged with preventing justice and perjury, while Billy Wagner’s mother had charges dismissed.
Prosecutors allege the family plotted the killings for months to give Wagner exclusive custody of Sophia, 9.
Hanna stated on Facebook months before the deaths, ‘they will have to kill me first’ while talking about signing child custody documents.
Christopher Rhoden Srbrother .’s Kenneth Rhoden, 44, (left) and a cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38, were also shot dead.
Jake Wagner said he was ‘directly responsible’ for five of the headshot killings.
Clarence’s 4-year-old son Brentley, 6-month-old son Ruger Lee, and Hanna’s 5-day-old daughter Kyle were saved.
The cold-blooded scheme to kill everybody who stood in the way of Wagner obtaining custody of his daughter took detectives six years to uncover.
When Hannah was 15, he started seeing her when she was only 13 years old. After their relationship ended, she had a second kid with another guy.
As he was caring for Sophia at the time of the killings, Wagner then started to put pressure on her over the custody of her daughter.
According to investigators, the family purchased a bug detector, brass catcher, a magazine clip, and ammo to prepare for the crimes.
It is alleged that they built a homemade silencer that was used in the killings, employed “countersurveillance devices” on the premises, tampered with phones, cameras, and other components of a home security system, in addition to using those items as “surveillance devices .”
On the computer, forged paperwork were discovered that claimed Hanna Rhoden had consented to joint custody.
Six victims’ phones, a recording device, and trail cameras were all taken by the Wagners.
According to reports, Angela admitted that her husband and both of her sons had voted in favor of carrying out the murders during a family vote.
Billy allegedly set up a fictitious, “lucrative,” narcotics transaction at the Union Hill Road Property before shooting Christopher Sr. to death, according to the prosecution.
Before moving on to three other houses nearby, George and Jake are accused of ambushing Hanna’s father while hiding in the vehicle.
Christopher Sr., who had nine bullet wounds in his forearm, body, and face, was the only victim who was thought to have been conscious when they were shot.
A “muzzle stain” was found on his skull, according to the autopsy report, indicating that at some point a shot was fired while the pistol was pushed against him.
His brother Gary was shot three times, twice in the head and once in the face.
Dana Rhoden was expertly shot five times, one from beneath her chin and four times around her head.
She was living in a trailer with Hanna and Christopher Jr., both of whom had multiple gunshot wounds to the head.
Although their six-month-old baby was resting between the pair when Frankie Rhoden and Hannah Gilley were shot in the head, they were unharmed.
Kenneth Rhoden was only shot once, striking his right eye, whereas Hannah was shot five times overall, with one bullet striking her left eye.
After the gunshots, a lady hurriedly called 911 and said, “I believe my brother-in-law is dead.” She sounded out of breath. The home is covered with blood.
“The home is covered with blood.” My brother-in-law is in the bedroom and seems to have been severely beaten.
At 8.21 am, when seven of the victims were discovered shot to death in the head “execution style,” crime scene investigators were first called to Union Hill Road.
The first three deaths were discovered in residences only a few miles apart on a road with few people, while the eighth body, a guy, was discovered shortly before 2 pm in a property within 30 miles of the first three.
Following the murders, the Wagner family relocated to Kenai, Alaska, with Jake Wagner bringing his daughter along. However, in 2018, after running out of money, the family returned to Ohio. In that year’s November, they were taken into custody.
The family said at the time that they were relocating to avoid what they believed to be unjust conjecture that was to blame for the killings.
Following the plea deal for Angela, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost issued a statement in which he said that she had “failed in her obligations” as a mother.
According to Yost, “Our culture reveres moms for raising their children and instilling in them the value of doing the right thing, even when it’s challenging.”
But Angela Wagner “abjectly failed in her duty” when she “actively plotted the murder of a whole family and encouraged her own kids to carry out the atrocities.”