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Wrongful Death Suit Filed Over the 2016 Ohio Massacre That Killed 8 People

— November 13, 2020

Tony Rhoden Sr. recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit over a 2016 shooting that claimed the lives of several of his family members.

A wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed over the shooting deaths of eight people in southern Ohio. The fatal shootings happened four years ago and claimed the lives of several of Tony Rhoden Sr.’s relatives. In addition to filing the suit, Rhoden said he wants to make sure none of the six suspects “receive financial gain from the crime.” His suit is seeking unspecified economic and punitive damages.

Image of a Gavel Statue at Courthouse
Gavel Statue at Courthouse; image courtesy of Pixabay,

At the moment, two of the suspects have been charged with peripheral offenses. The other four are “awaiting trial in Pike County.” When commenting on the suit, Rhoden said, “In my eyes, why should someone benefit from destroying other people’s lives?” Rhoden lost two brothers in the shooting, Gary Rhoden and Christopher Rhoden Sr. He added that “and money that arose from publicity over the case should go to the victims’ surviving children.”

The shooting, which claimed the lives of seven adults and a teenage boy, happened in April 2016, but it wasn’t until November 2018 that authorities announced any arrests. As a result, surviving family members “suffered and continue to suffer damages for the mental anguish caused by the deaths,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Pike County.

Columbus attorneys Brian Duncan and Adam Nemann are representing Rhoden and said, “We will do whatever is necessary to attempt to hold those responsible for these heinous acts accountable.”

At the moment it’s unclear whether the suspects could receive some sort of compensation once convicted, “such as proceeds from a book or movie.” Ohio, like many other states, has a ‘Son of Sam’ law, which prevents “convicted criminals from benefiting financially from their crimes.”

The defendants in the latest suit are six members of the Wagner family, who were arrested and charged for the shooting in November 2018. Authorities speculate the shooting may have been the result of a custody dispute between the Wagner and Rhoden families. According to suit, one of the suspects, “Edward ‘Jake’ Wagner, was the former boyfriend of 19-year-old Hanna Rhoden, one of the victims, and shared custody of their daughter.” 

Prosecutors for the case eventually revealed the Wagner family “spent months planning the killings, which happened at three trailers and a camper near Piketon.” Tragically, many of the victims sustained multiple shots to the head. Some also showed signs of bruising and being beaten. Fortunately, three children were left unharmed. The victims included the following, according to the suit:

“40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr.; his ex-wife, 37-year-old Dana Rhoden; their three children, 20-year-old Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 16-year-old Christopher Jr., and 19-year-old Hanna; Clarence Rhoden’s fiancée, 20-year-old Hannah Gilley; Christopher Rhoden Sr.’s brother, 44-year-old Kenneth Rhoden; and a cousin, 38-year-old Gary Rhoden.”


Relative of 8 slaying victims files wrongful death lawsuit

Man who lost 8 family members in Ohio massacre files wrongful death lawsuit against suspects

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