George Wagner IV to be sentenced in Pike County murder case


George Wagner IV exits the courtroom as a convicted murderer after being convicted of all 22 counts last month.

WAVERLY, Ohio — George Wagner IV will be sentenced in the Pike County massacre today, after being convicted Nov. 30 on 22 counts related to the 2016 shooting deaths of the Rhoden family.

Under Ohio law, Pike County Common Pleas Court Judge Randy Deering must impose a life sentence for each of the eight aggravated murder convictions the jury brought against Wagner IV. But he has the option of imposing them concurrently or consecutively, with or without the possibility of parole. He also has various options for sentences on the 14 other charges Wagner IV was convicted of.

Deering will not sentence Wagner IV to death, however, since the prosecution took that off the table after Wagner IV’s mother and brother testified against him. They both pleaded guilty for their roles in the Rhoden homicides last year, with the state agreeing to remove the death penalty in exchange for their testimony.

The hearing is set to start at 10 a.m.

A jury of nine women and three men convicted Wagner IV on every count he faced in a trial that began Aug. 29. They deliberated from 8:30 a.m. to just before 4 p.m. on Nov. 30, in the 13th week of the trial, delivering their verdict around 4:30 p.m. that day.

Tony Rhoden Sr., brother of murder victims Kenneth and Christopher Rhoden Sr., speaks to the press following the reading of the verdict for George Wagner IV. The trial of George Washington Wagner IV resumes Wednesday November 30, 2022 at the Pike County Common Pleas Court in Waverly, Ohio. Eight members of the Rhoden family were found shot to death at four different locations on April 21-22, 2016.

Tony Rhoden Sr., brother of murder victims Kenneth and Christopher Rhoden Sr., speaks to the press following the reading of the verdict for George Wagner IV. The trial of George Washington Wagner IV resumes Wednesday November 30, 2022 at the Pike County Common Pleas Court in Waverly, Ohio. Eight members of the Rhoden family were found shot to death at four different locations on April 21-22, 2016.

Afterward, Tony Rhoden said the verdict brought “a little bit of peace” to his family, who lost seven members and one future member in the April 21-22, 2016, massacre.

The victims will be likely be recounted in today’s sentencing proceedings, with members of their families expected to offer victim impactment statements.

Shot to death in their rural southern Ohio homes were:

  • Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40, who helped build Big Bear Family Resort in Lucasville, among other jobs. He and ex-wife Dana Rhoden, parents of Frankie, Hanna and Chris Jr., remained on good terms. He was shot nine times in his Pike County trailer home.

  • Gary Rhoden, 37, who lived with his cousin Chris Rhoden Sr. from time to time as he battled drug and alcohol issues. He was shot twice, while inside Rhoden Sr.’s home.

  • Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20, who worked at a lumber business. The father of two young sons, he was engaged to Hannah Hazel Gilley. He suffered three gunshot wounds while asleep in his trailer home, located next door to his father’s.

  • Hannah Hazel Gilley, 20, who was a graduate of Northwest High School and mother to a young son. She was shot five times while in bed in the home she shared with fiancé Frankie Rhoden.

  • Dana Manley Rhoden, 37, who was an aide at a nursing and rehabilitation center, mother of three children and grandmother of four. She was shot five times while in bed in the Scioto County trailer home she shared with her two younger children.

  • Hanna May Rhoden, 19, who worked as a nurse’s aide and was mother to two young daughters. She was shot twice while in bed in the home she shared with her mother and younger brother.

  • Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, who was a freshman at Piketon High School who had recently gotten his driver’s license. He was shot four times while asleep in his bed in his mother’s home.

  • Kenneth Rhoden, 44, who worked at U.S. Utility in Columbus. The divorced father of four and grandfather of four was shot once while asleep in his Pike County camper home.

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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Pike County murders: George Wagner IV to be sentenced Monday



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