A man found guilty in the deaths of 8 family members in rural Ohio has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
A Pike County, Ohio courtroom applauded after Judge Randy Deering read 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 honestly finds that the defendant has shown no remorse. Just denial,” Deering said in sentencing Wagner.
Wagner potentially faces the death penalty for his charges, which included eight counts of aggravated murder, conspiracy and tampering with evidence.
Wagner declined to make a statement after his sentencing was completed, and his lawyers said he maintains his innocence. He has already said he intends to appeal the sentence.
The shocking massacre took place in April 2016. Authorities discovered the eight family members dead in three mobile homes and a camper in various areas across Pike County.
The victims were all members of the Rhoden family and were killed the same way: a gunshot to the head while 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.
The other victims were Clarence’s fiancee 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, was involved in a custody dispute with Hannah Rhoden, the mother of his 3-year-old daughter.
Investigators eventually discovered that the Wagner family was convinced that a member of the Rhoden family sexually abused Jake and Hannah’s daughter. The Wagner family then became “obsessed” with getting full custody of the child.
George was the first family member to stand trial for the murders. 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 murders.
His mother, Angela Wagner, also pleaded guilty and admitted to planning the murder with her husband. Angela finally testified against her husband and sons in November.
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