When the verdict was announced, Tony Rhoden and other members of the family embraced, several of them crying.
“A little bit of peace,” Rhoden said. “We still have a long road to go, but we’ll get there because we are family.”
George Wagner IV was convicted on all 22 counts Wednesday in Pike County Common Pleas court. Family packed the courtroom as Judge Randy Deering read each guilty verdict. George Wagner IV faced eight counts of aggravated murder and 14 other charges in the eight shooting deaths of Pike County’s Rhoden family in 2016. His mom, Angela Wagner and brother, Jake Wagner, have already pleaded guilty. His dad, Billy Wagner will go on trial next year.
Wagner’s mother and brother, Angela and Edward “Jake” Wagner, both accepted plea deals from the prosecution in exchange for guilty pleas. His father, George “Billy” Wagner, has maintained his plea of not guilty and his trial is scheduled for 2023.
Both Angela and Jake Wagner testified against him during the trial. At one point, Jake Wagner was seen mouthing “I’m sorry” to the Rhoden family while on the stand.
“Sorry for what?” Rhoden said. “Fell on deaf ears.”
Ultimately, jurors decided George was guilty despite having never fired a shot that night. Ohio law states that anyone complicit in the execution of a crime can be found guilty for the crime itself, regardless of the amount of participation. Rhoden thanked the jury for their verdict, noting how difficult of a trial it was.
“We’re one step closer,” said Rhoden.
WCPO is a content partner of Cox First Media.