The Pike County Murders: A Family Massacre on Oxygen is investigating the shooting of eight members of the Rhoden family who were brutally gunned down in Pike County, Ohio, by Edward “Jake” Wagner and George W. Wagner IV.
The massacre occurred on April 22, 2016, at four different locations near the small town of Peebles, Ohio, about 60 miles east of Cincinnati. Most of the victims were asleep when they were murdered.
The victims were 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr. and his ex-wife, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden, and their children, 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden Jr., 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, and 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden.
Also murdered were Christopher Sr.’s brother, 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden, and 20-year-old Hannah Gilley, who was the fiance of the fiancée of Clarence Rhoden. Finally, 38-year-old Gary Rhoden, a cousin of the family, was also killed.
The family were all shot execution-style during one night. There were young children at some of the murder scenes, including Hannah Gilley’s baby, who was likely nursing at the time. All the children were physically unharmed, but first responders remarked that Gilley’s baby was covered in blood.
The cops arrested multiple members of the Wagner family on various charges to do with the massacre. But the main focus has been on George Wagner IV, Edward “Jake” Wagner, and their parents, George “Billy” Wagner and Angela Wagner. These four were charged with organizing the murders.
Motive for the Pike County murders was a custody battle between Jake Wagner and Hanna Rhoden
Prosecutors say the primary motive for the murder was a custody battle over a 2-year-old girl between Jake Wagner and Hanna Rhoden.Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel
In April 2021, Jake Wagner agreed to plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty for himself and other members of his family. He also agreed to testify against his family.
He pleaded guilty to eight counts of murder but insisted he’d only killed five people himself. He was given eight life sentences.
A few months later, his mother, Angela Wagner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated murder. The more severe charge of murder was dropped, and prosecutors recommended she be sentenced to 30 years. She is still awaiting sentencing.
More Wagner family members put on trial for Rhoden massacre in Pike County
In December 2022, George Wagner IV was convicted on eight counts of murder and was sentenced to eight life sentences plus 121 years.
The trial of Wagner patriarch George “Billy” Wagner III hasn’t happened yet but is expected to start in Spring 2024.
The Pike County Murders: A Family Massacre airs from Friday at 8/7c on Oxygen.