Rhoden relative on lack of arrests: Investigators 'couldn't catch a cold'

Raw video - Rhoden Family member speaks
Updated: May. 17, 2017 at 4:48 PM EDT
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(FOX19 Now)
(FOX19 Now)

WAVERLY, OH (FOX19 NOW) - The father of the only person to be charged in the Rhoden family massacre spoke out after his son appeared in court for the first time on Wednesday.

Len Manley walked out of court Tuesday morning and right into a swarm of cameras.

"Pardon my expression, but that's a bunch of bull---t!," Manley said. Manley was angry over the $80,000 bond a Pike County judge put on his son. A bond set on two felony counts connected to the Rhoden massacre investigation.

James Manley, 40, is accused of destroying a GPS tracking device that was part of the investigation. The elder Manley told FOX19 NOW Investigative Reporter Jody Barr, state agents put the tracking device on his son's truck sometime before April 28.

April 28 was the day agents found the GPS had stopped transmitting.

"He f---ing destroyed that son of a b—ch, that's what he done," Len Manley told FOX19 NOW Tuesday afternoon at his Union Hill Road home.

Investigators charged James Manley with one count of evidence tampering and one count of vandalism—both felony charges.

James is the brother of Dana Rhoden, one of the 8 people killed in the overnight hours of April 21 and 22, 2016.

Len Manley, the father of Dana Rhoden and James Manley, claims a text message between his son and Jake Wagner around 2 a.m. the night of the murders prompted investigators to put the GPS tracker on the truck.

"I don't know why, but if they put one on mine, I'm gonna destroy it too," said Len when asked why his son removed and destroyed the GPS tracker.

During a FOX19 NOW investigation into the security at the Rhoden evidence warehouse last fall, we uncovered information that showed James Manley and his sister, Bobby Jo Manley, were being watched by investigators from the start.

"Tell me about the question they asked your daughter about her sister," Barr asked Len Manley in September. "They just asked her how much someone paid them to kill that whole family," Len said.

"Investigators asked your daughter that?" Barr questioned the elder Manley again, "Yeah. Asked my daughter and my son, both."

That question was asked of both Manley siblings the day the bodies were found, the elder Manley said. Investigators had taken the siblings to the Pike County Sheriff's Office for interrogation, Manley said.

James and Bobby Jo Manley were the first to find the bodies of the Rhoden massacre victims on April 22, 2016. Bobby Jo Manley found Chris Rhoden, Sr and Gary Rhoden shot to death in their home. Manley said she went next door and found Frankie Rhoden and Hanna Gilley shot to death in bed.

Children were inside that second home unharmed, but some were covered in blood, Len said last September.

James Manley discovered Dana Rhoden dead inside her home that morning. Dana lived in a mobile home about a mile away from the first two scenes discovered by Bobby Jo Manley.

Since the initial interrogation, Len said his son has submitted to a lie detector test as part of the investigation, but "failed" that examination.

Bobby Jo Manley told FOX19 NOW that she's submitted to three tests and "passed each one of them," she said standing on her father's porch Tuesday afternoon.

Len, though, says he has no confidence that investigators will make arrests in the murders of his daughter and the other victims.

"As dumb as these guys is?" Leonard said, then laughed.

"I always said, 'they couldn't catch a cold,'" said Leonard. "And I'll say it til the day I die."

"I can stake my life that my son or my daughter didn't kill the family. I don't know about the rest of them…but I guarantee you," Len told FOX19 NOW.

All eight people were shot to death in four homes near Piketon last spring.  Six adults and a 16-year-old boy were discovered to have been shot execution-style. An eighth victim was found with nine gunshot wounds.

Three young children and two infants were left alive during the shooting.

The victims in the case are: Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40, Clarence "Frankie" Rhoden, 20, Dana Rhoden, 37, Gary Rhoden, 38, Hanna Rhoden, 19, Hannah Gilley, 20, Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

When asked who he thought killed the Rhoden family, Leonard said he did not want to comment.

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