Suspect in Rhoden family massacre appears for pre-trial hearing

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Bookmark our Rhoden family shootings: Murder trials for Wagner family members page for live coverage from all Wagner family court appearances.

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WAVERLY, Ohio (WCMH) — George Wagner IV appeared for a pre-trial hearing in a Pike County courthouse Tuesday. He and three other family members are accused of killing eight members of the Rhoden family in April of 2016.

The full hearing can be viewed in the video above.

The other three members accused are: George “Billy” Wagner, Angela Wagner, and Edward “Jake” Wagner. All face murder charges.

The shootings took place the night of April 21 and the morning of April 22, 2016. Eight members of the Rhoden family were shot and killed in four Pike County homes.

Christopher Rhoden Sr., Dana Rhoden, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, Christopher Rhoden Jr., Hanna Rhoden, Hannah Gilley, Gary Rhoden and Kenneth Rhoden were all found dead the morning of April 22, 2016. The Pike County Sheriff’s Office said three young children, including a baby, were discovered unharmed.

Redacted autopsy reports show most victims were shot multiple times.

Then-Attorney General Mike DeWine described the killings as a ‘pre-planned execution’ and a ‘sophisticated operation.’

The investigation went on for more than two years before arrests were made.

During the first weeks of the investigation, dozens of people were interviewed by detectives.

DeWine said that investigators did find marijuana-growing operations at three crime scenes, leading to early speculation that the crimes were drug-related.

In May of 2017, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents searched a farm on Peterson Road in Adams County. The farm was at one time owned by the Wagner family.

In June of 2017, the Ohio Attorney General’s office first identified a connection between the Wagner family and the Rhoden killings. The attorney general sought information from the public about the Wagners. At the time, the Wagners were believed to be residing in Alaska.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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