Man who killed eight family members in their sleep sentenced to life in prison


George Wagner IV (center) was found guilty of eight charges of aggravated murder (Picture: AP)

A man found guilty for the death of 8 family members in rural Ohio has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A courtroom in Pike County, Ohio applauded after Judge Randy Deering read out the life sentence for George Wagner IV, who was previously found guilty for his role in carrying out the massacre of eight members of the neighboring Rhoden family in his rural community.

‘The court, quite frankly, finds that the defendant has shown no remorse. Just denial,’ Deering said as he sentenced Wagner.

Wagner potentially faced the death penalty for his charges, which included eight counts of aggravated murder, conspiracy, and tampering with evidence.

George Wagner IV’s mugshot after he was arrested in 2018 (Picture: AP)

Wagner declined to make a statement after his sentencing was complete, and his attorneys said that he maintains his innocence. He has already indicated he intends to appeal his conviction.

The shocking massacre took place in April 2016. Authorities discovered the eight family members dead in three mobile homes and a camper in different areas across Pike County.

The victims were all members of the Rhoden family and were killed in the same manner: a gunshot to the head as they slept.

The victims included Christopher Rhoden Sr, 40, his ex-wife Dana Rhoden, 37, their and children Clarence Rhoden, 20, Hanna Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr, 16.

George Wagner IV is escorted out of the courtroom after his arraignment on Nov 28, 2018 (Picture: AP)

The other victims were Clarence’s fiancée Hannah Gilley, Christopher Sr’s brother Kenneth Rhoden, and his cousin Gary Rhoden.

A massive, multi-million dollar investigation eventually identified the Wagner family as suspects. One family member, Edward ‘Jake’ Wagner, as involved in a custody dispute with the Hannah Rhoden, the mother of his 3-year-old daughter.

Investigators eventually discovered the Wagner family was convinced a member of the Rhoden family was sexually abusing Jake and Hannah’s daughter. The Wagners then became ‘obsessed’ with gaining full custody of the child.

George was the first member of his family to face trial for the killings. His father, George ‘Billy’ Wagner III, is currently awaiting trial after pleading not guilty.

In October, his brother Edward Wagner pleaded guilty and took responsibility for five of the killings.

His mother, Angela Wagner, also pleaded guilty and confessed to planning the murder with her husband. Angela eventually testified against her husband and sons in November.

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