Edward “Jake” Wagner, a member of the infamous Wagner family, pleaded guilty to eight counts of aggravated murder on Thursday, April 22, 2021. According to the most recent news, he changed his plea from not guilty to guilty five years ago.
As he stood in the Pike County courtroom, pleading guilty to the murders of eight members of the Rhoden family, including his daughter’s mother, a strange realization dawned on him: it was the fifth anniversary of the fatal day the eight members were shot.
The Pike County killings on April 21, 2016, remained unsolved for the longest time. The deaths of the eight men, all of whom were executed, remained a mystery to investigators. It was also the subject of a documentary on Oxygen.
The prosecutor is expected to drop the death penalty, according to the latest news. As part of the plea agreement, the state is seeking eight consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole for the murders.
Furthermore, according to sources, there are another 160 years on other charges and weapons requirements.
Jake allegedly told the judge that he understood he would be spending the remainder of his life in jail and that he did. “Your honor, I am guilty,” he admitted. As a result, he had pleaded guilty to all 23 charges that had been brought against him.
While George, Billy, and Angela still face murder and other charges, they will no longer face the death penalty if Wagner testifies against them as part of his plea deal.
Wagner allegedly admitted to aggravated robbery, possession of a deadly weapon, improper sexual contact with a minor, forgery, interfering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and other offenses. Wagner was Hanna Rhoden’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her 3-year-old daughter, but not her 4-day-old daughter, who was unharmed during the murders.
Billy Wagner’s solicitor, Mark Collins, said in a statement, according to a report online,
Any time you have a multiple co-defendant case in the criminal justice system, it is not surprising that someone makes a deal and agrees to cooperate. We do not know the extent of cooperation or what information was given. Once we receive that information, we will assess and advise our client appropriately. We understand that Jake Wagner’s attorneys are doing what they feel is best for their client, and we will do the same for our client.