Angela Wagner pleads guilty to several charges, but not murder, in Rhoden family killings

Wagner Trials

WAVERLY, Ohio (WCMH) — A second member of the Wagner family pleaded guilty Friday in the deaths of eight members of the Rhoden family from 2016.

Angela Wagner pleaded guilty to several charges Friday afternoon in Pike County Common Pleas Court, but not to any of the murder charges she was facing. She was one of four family members charged, along with husband George “Billy” Wagner III and sons George Wagner IV and Edward “Jake” Wagner.

In April, on the fifth anniversary of the killings, Jake Wagner changed his plea from not guilty and agreed to testify against his family members. In exchange, prosecutors agreed not to pursue the death penalty.

The four are charged with killing eight members of the Rhoden family overnight in four separate homes. The victims were: Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Dana Rhoden, 37; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Hanna Rhoden, 19; Hannah Gilley, 20; Gary Rhoden, 38; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

Angela Wagner pleaded guilty to 14 of 22 charges against her, including conspiracy to commit murder, aggravated burglary and tampering with evidence. It did not include eight charges of aggravated murder.

Prosecutors said she could be sent to prison for 30 years and that she will testify against other family members.

Prosecutors believe the plot to kill the Rhoden family stemmed from a failing relationship between Jake Wagner and Hanna Rhoden, who had a child together. Days after the murders, Wagner sought and was granted custody of the child.

The other two members of the Wagner family, George III and George IV, are scheduled to appear in court next week.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost issued the following statement following the plea agreement filed in the case of Angela Wagner:

Our society reveres mothers for taking care of their children and teaching them to do the right thing, even when it’s hard. But by actively plotting the murder of an entire family and encouraging her own kids to carry out the violence, Angela Wagner abjectly failed in her responsibilities. I send my thanks to the dedicated special agents, forensic scientists, and intelligence analysts at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation — at least 33 past and present by my office’s count — who have worked this case without ceasing since the start. Their work will continue until each of the perpetrators of these crimes are held accountable.

Dave Yost, Ohio Attorney General

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