The Pike County Massacre sentences George Wagner IV to life in prison for his role in the murder of 8 members of the same family

A MAN involved in the 2016 killing of eight people from the same family will face the rest of his life in prison after surviving family members asked the judge to show “no mercy”.

George Wagner IV, 31, will serve life without the possibility of parole after an emotional hearing on Monday.

George Wagner IV, 31, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in the Pike County murders

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George Wagner IV, 31, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for his role in the Pike County murdersCredit: AP
Eight members of the Rhoden family were shot dead in April 2016

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Eight members of the Rhoden family were shot dead in April 2016Credit: AP

“None of these victims deserved to die,” said Special Prosecutor Angela Canepa.

“None of them did anything to justify the death sentences they received from the defendant and his family.”

Wagner declined to speak in court, but his attorney said he maintains his innocence.

He claimed he was unaware of his family’s involvement in the fatal shooting of seven adults and a teenager from the Rhoden family in Pike County, Ohio.

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According to prosecutors, most of the victims were killed in their sleep, in some cases alongside their young children, who were not injured.

Authorities believe Wagner, his brother and their parents planned the killings over a dispute over custody of Wagner’s niece – whose mother was among the dead.

The April 2016 killings occurred in three trailers and an RV in rural Ohio, with law enforcement initially believing a possible drug cartel was involved.

Andrea Shoemaker, whose daughter Hannah Gilley died in the shooting, became emotional as she grieved the loss of “my little girl” and her daughter’s fiancé, Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden.

Both victims were only 20 years old and parents of a small boy.

“We are all suffering, hurt, always heartbroken, forever without our children! All because devils like the dark, devils hunt at night, just like you, George Wagner IV, and your evil family,” Shoemaker said.

Tony Rhoden lost his brothers Chris Sr. and Kenneth in the shootings.

He described growing up with his siblings, playing in the local creek and racing homemade toy boats, before telling the court his family members’ lives were “shortened by the selfish actions of others.”

Wagner was convicted of 22 counts, including aggravated murder, but received no death penalty after his brother pleaded to testify against the others.

Prosecutors argued that Wagner showed no remorse and that he was spared death only through his brother’s actions, not his own.

However, Wagner’s attorneys maintained that he did not kill anyone, arguing that denying him “a reasonable chance of parole” would be unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

So far, Wagner is the only one of the four accused to be brought to justice.

His brother, Edward “Jake” Wagner, pleaded guilty to murder and other charges and is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Angela Wagner pleaded guilty to helping plan the murders. Prosecutors recommended a 30-year prison sentence.

Her husband, George “Billy” Wagner, has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

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Christopher Rhoden Sr, 40, his ex-wife Dana Rhoden, 37, and their three children Clarence, 20, Hannah, 19, and Christopher Jr, 16, were killed in the shooting.

Christopher Sr.’s older brother Kenneth, 44, and Clarence’s fiancee Hannah Gilley, 20, and a cousin, Gary, 38, were also killed.

Hannah Rhoden was killed in a custody battle over her little daughter

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Hannah Rhoden was killed in a custody battle over her little daughterPhoto credit: Facebook/Hanna May Rhoden

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“We’re all suffering, hurting, always heartbroken, forever without our children,” said Hannah Gilley’s mother, Andrea ShoemakerCredit: AP

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6951196/pike-county-massacre-sentencing-george-wagner-update-prison/ The Pike County Massacre sentences George Wagner IV to life in prison for his role in the murder of 8 members of the same family

DevanCole

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