Was Rhoden family massacre inspired by 'The Boondock Saints'? Cops find parallels between killings and films

Prosecutors called detective Ryan Scheiderer, who testified on November 7, 2022, that George Wagner's favorite movie was the inspiration for the killing

Was Rhoden family massacre inspired by 'The Boondock Saints'? Cops find parallels between killings and films
Jake Wagner (L), who has already pleaded guilty to the murders, testified in October that he watched 'The Boondock Saints' to 'psych himself up before the killings' (IMDB and Ohio Attorney General's office)
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PIKE COUNTY, OHIO: Prosecutors have claimed the massacre of eight members of the Rhoden family in 2016 in Ohio was inspired by a movie called 'The Boondock Saints'. During the trial of George Wagner IV, the prosecutors called detective Ryan Scheiderer, who testified on Monday, November 7, 2022, that Wagner's favorite movie was the inspiration for the killing.

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Scheiderer, the lead investigator in the case, laid out parallels between the films and the slaying of the Pike County family. Displaying screengrabs from the movie in the court, Scheiderer testified that the Wagner brothers dyed their hair to look like characters in the film and that authorities believe they equipped their handguns with silencers to mimic the movie characters.

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From left to right - George Wagner IV, George
(L to R) George Wagner IV, George 'Billy' Wagner III, Angela Jo Wagner, and Edward ‘Jake’ Wagner are the accused from the Wagner family who targetted the Rhoden family
(Office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine)

In 2018, police arrested four members of the Wagner family, George 'Billy' Wagner III, 47, his wife, Angela Wagner, 48, and their sons George Wagner IV, 27, and Edward “Jake” Wagner, 26. Jake Wagner, who has already pleaded guilty to the murders, testified in October that he watched 'The Boondock Saints' to “psych himself up before the killings,” reported FOX 19. However, Scheiderer made no mention of this statement on Monday.

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Prosecutors convinced Judge Randy Deering that Scheiderer’s testimony was relevant to the trial and the detective showed off a photo of George Wagner IV holding a Beretta pistol, the same gunmaker as the handguns used in the film series, reported Daily Beast. The defense repeatedly objected to statements throughout Scheiderer’s testimony, but Judge Deering rejected each one.

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Authorities have claimed the alleged motive behind the killing was over a child's custody. The Wagner family executed eight members of the Rhoden family while they were sleeping in their home.

Christopher Rhoden Sr, 40, his ex-wife Dana Manley Rhoden, 37, and the couple’s three children, Christopher Rhoden Jr, 16, Hanna May Rhoden, 19, and Clarence 'Frankie' Rhoden, 20, Frankie Rhoden’s fiancée, Hannah Gilley, 20, Christopher Rhoden Sr’s brother Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and cousin Gary Rhoden, 38, were all shot dead.

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The Wagner family has been charged with eight counts of aggravated murder for which they could be sentenced to death, with the exception of Jake Wagner, who took a plea deal.

The memebrs of Rhoden family who were murdered in 2016 (Pike County Sheriff's Office/Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation)
The eight members of the Rhoden family who were murdered in 2016
(Pike County Sheriff's Office and Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation)

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In 'Boondock Saints II', two brothers travel to Boston from Ireland to clear their names and avenge a priest who was murdered by the mob. Scheiderer detailed a scene from the film in which the fable “The Scorpion and the Frog” was discussed, just moments before a father kills his best friend with the help of his two sons.

Scheiderer asserted that the similarity between the film and the massacre likely was not a coincidence. After the killings, George Wagner IV got a tattoo of a scorpion, which the detective suggested was a reference to the film’s scene about the fable. The defense then called the tattoo artist, who had worked with George Wagner IV. The artist, Shawn Fisher, testified that the tattoo was actually a cover-up of a previous tattoo. It was even suggested that the Scorpio tattoo was a symbol of the massacre of the Rhoden family as eight people died in total.

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