Man Suspected in Execution-Style Murder of Eight Ohio Family Members Arrested in Kentucky

Fayette County Sheriff’s deputy Corey Boston held the door as George “Billy” Wagner III entered Fayette County District Court in Lexington, KY., Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018.(WLEX-TV via AP, Pool)

A man who is among four suspects arrested in connection to the “execution-style” murder of eight family members will be returned to Ohio to face charges after appearing in a Kentucky courtroom Wednesday afternoon and waiving his right to an extradition hearing.


George “Billy” Wagner III, 47, was taken into custody Tuesday in Lexington, Kentucky, while his wife, 48-year-old Angelea Wagner, and their two sons, 27-year-old George Wagner IV and 26-year-old Edward “Jake” Wagner were arrested in Ohio. All four are accused of planning and carrying out the murders of eight members of the Rhoden family in their homes in Ohio’s Pike County in 2016.

The victims who were shot to death were Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his ex-wife Dana Manley Rhoden, 37; their three children, Hanna May Rhoden, 19; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20. Frankie Rhoden’s finacee, Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 20, was also killed, along with the brother and cousin of Christopher Rhoden Sr., Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and Gary Rhoden, 38, respectively.

The four suspects are each charged with eight counts of aggravated murder with death penalty specifications, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. DeWine said he believes the killers have been caught and that no one else was involved in the murders.

The Wagner family attorney, John Kearson Clark Jr., said his clients will “vindicate their names” in court.

“Given the fact that they have been indicted with capital murder and death penalty specifications, we respectfully decline making any statements at this time. However, the Wagners eagerly look forward to their trials, and to have their day in court so they can vindicate their names,” Clark said in a statement reviewed by ABC News Wednesday morning.

“The Wagners are also ever hopeful that in the ensuing months there will be a thorough vetting of all the facts. Moreover, we look forward to the day when the true culprit(s) will be discovered and brought to justice for this terrible tragedy.”

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SOURCE: ABC News, Julia Jacobo and Morgan Winsor