PIKE COUNTY MASSACRE TRIAL | George Wagner IV found guilty
PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – The jury returned a verdict in the Pike County massacre trial Wednesday afternoon.
George Wagner, IV was found guilty on all 22 charges including eight counts of aggravated murder. The jury also found beyond a reasonable doubt that Wagner IV was guilty of all charges, including conspiracy, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence and obstructing justice.
Wagner and three other members of his family: his brother Jake Wagner, 28, and their parents Angela Wagner, 52, and Billy Wagner, 51, were all indicted on capital murder charges in the April 21-22, 2016, execution-style shootings of eight members of the Rhoden and Gilley families.
The victims of the Pike County massacre were Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his older brother, Kenneth Rhoden, 44; his cousin, Gary Rhoden, 38; Chris Rhoden Sr.’s former wife, Dana Lynn Rhoden, 37, and their children: Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20, Hanna May Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Frankie’s fiancé, Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 20.
Two infants, including a five-day old baby and a toddler were spared and left behind at the murder scenes.
George faced the following counts:
- 8 counts of aggravated murder;
- 4 counts of aggravated burglary;
- 3 counts of tampering with evidence;
- 1 count of conspiracy;
- 1 count of unlawful possession of a dangerous ordnance;
- 1 count of forgery;
- 1 count of unauthorized use of property;
- 1 count of interception of wire, oral or electronic communications;
- 1 count of obstructing justice; and
- 1 count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
The trial began in September and lasted 11 weeks.
The jury in the George Wagner IV trial began deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Officials say this is Ohio’s largest and most expensive homicide case to date. According to prosecutors this is the longest-serving jury in any criminal case in Ohio with some 60 witnesses testifying and more than 1,000 trial exhibits over the past three months.
The death penalty is now off the table, but Wagner IV could face life in prison.
A sentencing hearing is expected sometime during the last two weeks of December.
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