Edward “Jake” Wagner pleaded guilty to shooting five members of the Rhoden family in 2016 over a custody dispute.
He was previously in a relationship with Hanna Rhoden. However, when they broke up, they disagreed over a custody agreement over their toddler daughter.
Prosecutor Angela Canepa described the Wagner family as obsessed with gaining control over the child that Jake Wagner had with Hanna Rhoden. Jake Wagner testified that Hanna Rhoden’s comment that “they will have to kill me first” was the tipping point that led him to conclude he had to kill Hanna.
It was at this point that everything took a turn for the worst. Jake believed that if the child stayed with Hanna, she would be sexually abused by Hanna’s boyfriends. After she had only recently given birth to a child she had with another man, Jake broke into her room and shot his ex-girlfriend in the head.
However, Jake did not stop there. A 9-1-1 call led to the largest criminal investigation in Ohio history when Chris Rhoden Senior and his cousin Gary were found dead in Chris’s trailer. Chris’s ex-wife Dana and two of their children were also shot in the head while they were sleeping.
Chris Rhoden’s son, Frankie, and his fiancee Hanna Giley were also killed. They were parents to a 6-month-old son who was found alive on the bed covered in his parents’ blood.
Jake was not alone in his criminal scheme. The Wagners spent three months planning the massacre and preparing the supplies they used for the murder. A shell casing led investigators to the Wagners as potential suspects.
Edward “Jake” Wagner pleaded guilty to shooting five members of the Rhoden family in 2016 over a custody dispute. He also agreed to testify against his older brother, George Wagner IV, in exchange for being spared the death penalty.