Pike County massacre: Jake Wagner family hacked Hanna Rhoden’s Facebook before killing her and 7 others
PIKE COUNTY, OHIO: During the murder trial of the Wagner family arrested in connection with 2016 Pike County massacre of eight family members, it was revealed that the family reportedly hacked into one of their victim's Facebook before the brutal murder. The alleged bitter custody feud that started over Jake Wagner and Hannah Rhoden's daughter escalated into a chilling homicide after the Wagner family saw a message Hannah sent on Facebook over their daughter's custody.
Jake's mother Angela Wagner who pled guilty to conspiracy in the Rhoden family's killing testified during her other son George Wagner IV's trial and said, her family decided to kill Hannah and seven of her relatives only after they saw a message where she claimed "they will have to kill me first," to get custody of her three-year-old daughter, reported WLWT5. "I won't sign papers ever. It wont happen," Hannah Rhoden wrote in a private Facebook message in 2015. “They will have to kill me first."
Angela claimed she bought shoes at Walmart for her sons to wear the night of the murders and also forged documents to keep Jake and Hannah's daughter "if anything bad happened," as reported by WLWT5. The members of the Wagner family were not arrested until more than two years after the slayings. Jake has pleaded guilty to shooting five of the eight victims and has agreed to testify against his brother, George Wagner IV in exchange for being spared the death penalty. Jake also told the court how he attended the victims' funerals with his brother and father and "tried to erase the memory" of the killings, reported The Sun.
Prosecutors said the notorious Wagner clan had spent months planning the killings and targeted only a few selective members while others were “collateral damage." The Wagners killed Hannah, both her parents, Christopher Rhoden Sr, 40, and his ex-wife, Dana Manley Rhoden, 37 along with her siblings, Christopher Rhoden Jr, 16, and Clarence Rhoden, 20. Other murder victims were Clarence’s fiancee, Hannah Gilley, 20, Christopher’s brother Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and his 38-year-old cousin Gary.
Jake claimed he decided that he had “no other choice but to kill Hanna” to protect their daughter. He also added that he loved his former girlfriend but believed she was dating men who would molest their daughter Sophia. Jake said the other intended victims were Hannah's brothers Frankie and Chris Rhoden and their father, Chris Rhoden Sr. The family allegedly decided to kill everyone who could point the murder back on them. Jake also claimed his father George Wagner III was supposed to kill Hannah's father but he didn't shoot, so he did it himself. However, George Billy Wagner III, has pleaded not guilty and likely won't go on trial until next year.