Pike County Massacre: 7 years since Rhoden, Gilley family slayings

The bodies of members of the Rhoden family were discovered the morning of April 22, 2016. All...
The bodies of members of the Rhoden family were discovered the morning of April 22, 2016. All were shot execution style.(WXIX)
Published: Apr. 22, 2023 at 12:33 PM EDT
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PIKE COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) -It has been seven years since the bodies of eight members of the Rhoden and Gilley families were found inside their Pike County homes in what is considered the state’s largest and most expensive homicide investigation to date.

On the night of April 21, 2016, and the early morning of April 22, the families were shot and killed “execution-style,” according to Gov. Mike DeWine, the Ohio Attorney General at the time of the murders.

The victims of the 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.

>> Kendra Rhoden: I could have been the ninth victim in Pike Co. family massacre

The Rhodens were found in four separate trailers at two locations near Piketon on April 22, 2016.

Prosecutors said the motive in the murders was the custody of the young daughter of Jake Wagner, one of the victims he confessed to shooting twice in the head, Hanna May Rhoden.

Four members of the Wagner family were arrested more than two years after the murders, according to BCI agents investigating the case.

Court records show that George, his brother Jake Wagner, 28, and their parents, Angela Wagner, 52, and Billy Wagner, 51, were all indicted on capital murder charges in November 2018.

George was convicted in late 2022 and found guilty on all charges, including eight counts of aggravated murder, according to Pike County Judge Randy Deering.

The death penalty is off the table for George after his brother and mother testified against him for the state.

Jake and Angela pleaded guilty to their roles in the slayings in 2021. Their testimonies were part of their plea deals with prosecutors.

>> ‘Nobody expected this:’ Why a legal expert is shocked by Jake Wagner’s plea deal

George’s father, Billy, continues to fight the charges and will be tried in 2024.

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