On Monday, Dec. 19, a man was given a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole for his involvement in the murder of eight people from an Ohio family in 2016, as stated in an article published by NBC4 on December 18, 2022. The killings were described as “cruel.”
George Wagner IV was sentenced to eight consecutive life sentences plus 121 more years in prison for his involvement in the murder of eight people from the Rhoden family in Ohio in 2016.
Wagner and his family are alleged by prosecutors to have plotted to kill the Rhodens due to a custody dispute involving Wagner’s brother, Edward “Jake” Wagner, and Hanna Rhoden. Hanna and Jake had a toddler daughter together.
Hanna Rhoden and her family members, including her parents, two brothers, her brother’s fiancé, her uncle, and her cousin, were all killed in or near their homes in rural southern Ohio, according to an article published by WLWT5 on December 20, 2022.
Wagner, who was not charged with shooting anyone and claimed at his trial that he was unaware of his family’s plans to commit murder, was argued by Judge Deering to still be held responsible for the murders due to his significant role in the killing spree, in which at least six victims were killed while they were asleep.
To secure testimony against him, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty against Wagner as part of a deal with other members of the Wagner family.
Both of Wagner’s brothers and his parents, Angela Wagner and George “Billy” Wagner III, have also been charged in relation to the killings. George “Billy” Wagner III has entered a plea of not guilty.
Angela Wagner admitted to being involved in the planning of the killings and received a 30-year prison sentence as part of a plea deal. Jake Wagner confessed to shooting five members of the Rhoden family and had the death penalty taken off the table as a potential punishment as part of a plea agreement.