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Found dead that day were 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr., 37-year-old Dana Rhoden, 20-year-old Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 16-year-old Christopher Rhoden Jr., 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 37-year-old Gary Rhoden, 19-year-old Hanna May Rhoden, and 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden.
The trial is the first time a person has faced a jury for the deaths of the Rhoden family six years ago.
Evidence presented Thursday included photos from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation that showed bullet casings found on Wagner-family owned property and at the multiple places where eight Rhoden family members were shot and killed.
Taking the stand was BCI Agent Bryan White, who discovered and collected evidence on the Wagner’s family property on Peterson Road in Pike County.
Once the Wagners were suspects, investigators in May 2017 combed the property for two days. At that time, the Wagners had moved to Alaska, where they lived for a year.
White told the courtroom the search also uncovered printouts that had been thrown in the trash. The printouts were of Facebook charts between a man and Wagner’s ex-wife, Tabitha, who testified earlier in the week.
Another printout showed a conversation between Hanna May Rhoden, one of the shooting victims, and Angela Wagner, though the messages were not read in court.
Shell casings and unfired .22 caliber rounds were found throughout the house and in outbuildings on the property, White testified.
Outside, investigators and law enforcement searched the property in a grid formation, discovering hundreds of shell casings, including .22 caliber long rifle, rim-fire casings similar to ones found at two of the four different crime scenes.
Matt White, a BCI ballistics and firearms lab technician, testified that shell casings found at the Wagner home matched characteristics of shell casings found at the crime scenes and bullets found in the victims’ bodies. He said the fired .22 casings from scene No. 1 and scene No. 3, plus 12 casings from Peterson Road, were all fired from the same firearm, in his opinion.
When asked by defense attorneys whether he could tell who fires the gun, White responded no.
- The trial of George Wagner IV was seated in late August 2022
- The jury toured the crime scenes in the first week of September
- The trial was delayed one week, Sept. 5-9, because of an illness of someone connected to the trial
- Opening statements began Sept. 12
- The trial was again delayed one day, on Sept. 30, when a juror fell ill
- Today, Oct. 7, is Day 19 of the trial