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Woman pleads guilty for role in 2016 killing of 8 members of Ohio family

By Jake Thomas
Woman pleads guilty for role in 2016 killing of 8 members of Ohio family
Angela Wagner pleaded guilty on Friday for her involvement in the 2016 slaying of an Ohio family. File Photo courtesy of Ohio Attorney General's office

Sept. 11 (UPI) -- An Ohio woman admitted to taking part in the slaying of eight people in 2016 -- including the mother of her granddaughter -- that prosecutors say stemmed from a child custody dispute.

Angela Wagner said Friday she participated in a conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, the Dayton Daily News reported. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy, aggravated burglary, tampering with evidence, forgery, unauthorized use of property and unlawful possession of dangerous ordnance.

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Angela Wagner was among four people arrested in 2018 in connection with killing seven members of the Rhoden family and the fiancée of one of the victims. Of those arrested, Edward "Jake" Wagner -- Angela Wagner's son -- had been in a custody dispute with his ex-girlfriend, Hannah Rhoden, one of those slain. The families had been longtime friends and lived in Pike County in the Appalachian region of the state.

Prosecutors alleged Angela Wagner helped her sons and husband stalk and kill the victims, the Dayton Daily News reported. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop eight charges of aggravated murder and recommended 30 years in prison with no early release.

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Pike County Common Pleas Judge Randy Deering read details during the proceedings describing how Angela Wagner, 50, obtained ammunition and gun silencers, forged child custody documents, broke into computer accounts of the victims, broke into their homes and moved bodies, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

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"I see a woman with no sympathy, no remorse," a Rhoden relative said after the sentence, according to the Dispatch. "She's getting 30 years more than what our family gets."

She is the second member of the family to admit to their role in the killing. Jake Wagner pleaded guilty in April to all eight murders.

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"Our society reveres mothers for taking care of their children and teaching them to do the right thing, even when it's hard," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement. "But by actively plotting the murder of an entire family and encouraging her own kids to carry out the violence, Angela Wagner abjectly failed in her responsibilities."

Yost also thanked special agents, forensic scientists and intelligence analysts at the Bureau of Criminal Investigation for their work on the case.

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