Ohio Rhoden Family Murders

Liz Fe Lifestyle


In Ohio, there is currently a trial going on against the Wagner family. The son of the man on trial, Jake Wagner, had pleaded guilty to the killing of seven members of the Rhoden family, as well as a woman named Hannah Gilley in 2016. The woman was his child’s mother, and the rest of his murders were those in her family. Jake’s parents and brother were also charged for the Rhoden family murders, as well as the murder of a teenage boy. There had been three young children at the crime scene, including Jake Wagner’s son, but all three had been left unharmed.

The Wagner family had killed the Rhoden’s in their sleep using guns with homemade silencers, with most of the victims repeatedly being shot in the head. Within the Wagner family home, investigators found the remains of an attempt to make another silencer for the crime. The crime was so shocking for rural Ohio that it had prompted one of the most extensive criminal investigations in the history of the state, and it took more than two years for the arrests to be announced.

Jake Wagner pleading guilty is in attempt to raise the death penalty off of him and the other three members of his family. If Jake is willing to testify against his family, the rest of his family will have their death penalty removed. Otherwise, the death penalty will be put back onto them. The charges that Jake Wagner was faced with and had pleaded guilty to are conspiracy, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and more.

Jake had also admitted to being personally responsible for five of the eight deaths that had occurred, and gave a full account of what had happened that day, which gave the court and investigators even more evidence towards the crime. Despite Jake Wagner’s willingness to plead guilty, his parents and brother still have not pleaded guilty themselves.

Jake had not been immediately sentenced after his hearings, but he already knew that he would be spending a lifetime behind bars and die in the prison cell. According to Jake, he is sorry for what he had done. The victims of the crime at the hands of the Wagner family were 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr.; Christopher’s ex-wife, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden; 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden; 16-year-old Christopher Jr.; 19-year-old Hanna, the mother of Jake Wagner’s child; 20-year-old Hannah Gilley; 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden; and, finally, 38-year-old Gary Rhoden.

It is alleged by prosecutors that the Wagner family had been planning to do the killing for months due to a custody dispute between Jake and Hanna Rhoden. Jake had wanted to have shared custody of their daughter, and Hanna refused and said on a Facebook post that she would never agree to those terms. Authorities had found forged documents on a laptop saying that Hanna had agreed to share custody of the child.

As a result of the death penalty of the Wagner family, the discussion revolving the death penalty is once again beginning to arise. The death penalty has always been a source of controversy among people. Some of us think that it shouldn’t even be considered, while others of us believe that horrible criminals deserve this punishment, as it is the highest punishment of them all.

However, others think that the punishment is too good for criminals, and that many of them should go through with the punishment of living their life within a cell. Currently, the death penalty has already been indefinitely suspended by Governor Mike DeWine until there is an alternative method of execution to lethal injection chosen.

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I run a Columbus-based digital publication with a specific focus on women empowerment. I'm passionate about socially progressive issues.

Columbus, OH

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