WAVERLY, Ohio (WCMH) – For a second day, Angela Wagner testified against her son George Wagner IV, in the Pike County massacre trial.
While on the stand Wednesday, Angela said she stayed at home on the night of the murders, but admitted to helping her sons — George IV and Jake Wagner — and husband, George “Billy” Wagner III, prepare for them. All four Wagners are at some stage in the legal process for the killings of eight members of the Rhoden family.
Angela also confessed that her family members all agreed on an alibi. She said they planned to tell police that they were all at home during the killings. The murders stemmed from a custody dispute between Jake and Hanna Rhoden over the pair’s daughter. During her first day of testimony, Angela told the court that the family began plotting the murders after reportedly observing signs of abuse.
However, Angela said her sons began displaying signs of guilt. She noticed George was having nightmares and said Jake was acting withdrawn. At one point, Angela said that George told her he was willing to confess to the murders himself, which she opposed.
The prosecution finished their questioning by asking Angela whether she regretted her actions. She said yes, and then became visibly emotional in court.
“Because they’re my sons,” Angela said. “I should’ve protected them from that situation.”
According to prosecutors, Angela was given a 30-year sentence, to be served in full, so long as she admitted to her role in the killings of the Rhoden family in 2016. However, George’s defense attorney argued that it was only after Jake plead guilty that she decided to do so. The defense claimed that she only did so to prevent her sons from testifying against her.
Angela argued back, saying that was only partly true. She said there were multiple reasons for her coming forward, one of them being the possibility of her seeing her grandkids once she got out of prison.
George IV has pleaded not guilty to the murders, and his defense has said he did not participate in the killings. Jake, who pleaded guilty in 2021, previously testified that his brother hesitated to pull the trigger when the family was shooting the Rhodens.