Man who killed 8 family members in their sleep sentenced to life in prison

George Wagner IV, center, stands next to attorneys John P. Parker and Richard M. Nash as he receives his sentence from Judge Randy Deering during a hearing, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Waverly, Ohio.  Wagner, who was convicted of murdering eight members of an Ohio family, was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  (Brooke LaValley/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

George Wagner IV (centre) was found guilty of eight counts of aggravated murder (Picture: AP)

A man convicted of the deaths of 8 family members in rural Ohio has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A courtroom in Pike County, Ohio cheered after Judge Randy Deering read the life sentence of George Wagner IV, who had previously been convicted for his role in the massacre of eight members of the neighboring Rhoden family in their rural community.

“The court, quite frankly, finds that the defendant has shown no remorse. Just a denial,” Deering said in condemning Wagner.

Wagner was potentially facing the death penalty for his charges, which included eight counts of aggravated murder, conspiracy and tampering with evidence.

Mugshot of George Wagner IV after his arrest in 2018 (Picture: AP)

Wagner declined to make a statement after his sentence ended, and his lawyers said he maintained his innocence. He has already indicated his intention to appeal his conviction.

The shocking massacre took place in April 2016. Authorities discovered the eight dead family members in three mobile homes and an RV in different areas of Pike County.

The victims were all members of the Rhoden family and were killed the same way: shot in the head as they slept.

The victims included Christopher Rhoden Sr, 40, his ex-wife Dana Rhoden, 37, their and children Clarence Rhoden, 20, Hanna Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Jr, 16.

George Wagner IV is escorted out of the courtroom following his arraignment on November 28, 2018 (Picture: AP)

The other victims were Clarence’s fiancée, Hannah Gilley, Christopher Sr’s brother, Kenneth Rhoden, and his cousin Gary Rhoden.

A massive multi-million dollar investigation eventually identified the Wagner family as suspects. A family member, Edward ‘Jake’ Wagner, was embroiled in a custody dispute with Hannah Rhoden, the mother of his 3-year-old daughter.

Investigators eventually discovered that the Wagner family was convinced that a member of the Rhoden family was sexually abusing Jake and Hannah’s daughter. The Wagners then became “obsessed” with obtaining full custody of the child.

George was the first member of his family to stand trial for the murders. Her father, George ‘Billy’ Wagner III, is currently awaiting trial after pleading not guilty.

In October, her brother Edward Wagner pleaded guilty and took responsibility for five of the murders.

His mother, Angela Wagner, also pleaded guilty and confessed to planning the murder with her husband. Angela finally testified against her husband and sons in November.

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