A woman in Ohio pleaded guilty on Friday in connection with the killing of eight members of a family. She is the second family member so far to have admitted to the crime in this shocking case. Prosecutors claim this to have preceded after a dispute over her granddaughter’s custody.
Angela Wagner, aged 50, pleaded guilty in Ohio’s Pike County, conspiring to commit the aggravated murders, coupled with robbery, evidence tampering and several other charges.
In return, prosecutors released her of aggravated murder charges recommending her to serve a 30 year custodial punishment. Testifying against other defendants was also a part of the agreement, they said.
Wagner did not make any statement during or after the hearing.
Her husband and their 2 adult sons were charged in the 2016 case of murdering of seven adults along with a teenage boy belonging to the Rhoden family. The plea comes after nearly five months since her son Edward “Jake” Wagner had pleaded guilty of committing the crime, agreeing to testify against three others, a deal which would aid all four avoid probable death sentences.
George “Billy” Wagner III & George Wagner IV have so far pleaded not guilty.
The shootings at 3 trailers and a camper, in April 2016, petrified residents of rural Ohio. After which the criminal investigation was launched, leading to the Wagners’ detention after a gap of more than two years.
Wagners spent several months planning the killings, targeting victims, but “some were sadly killed as they just happened to be on the spot,” said Angela Canepa, special prosecutor.
Victims were repeatedly shot at in the head, some showing bruising signs. Three young children present at the crime scene were unharmed.
Wagner family premeditated the assassinations for months, driven by a dispute over guardianship of the daughter Jake Wagner, say prosecutors.
Wagners used guns with specially designed homemade silencers, allowing them to murder their victims as they were asleep, prosecutors allege.
Angela Wagner was aware of the plans and bought items to carry out the murders, which included “phone jammers”, Canepa said.
Before the killings, she forged custody documents too, and observed some of the slain members’ social media accounts, Canepa said.