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The Piketon Massacre

The Piketon Massacre

The most notorious mass murder in Ohio’s history happened on the night of April 21, 2016 in rural Pike County. Four crime scenes, thirty-two gunshot wounds, eight members of the Rhoden family left dead in their homes. Two years later a local family of four, the Wagners, are arrested and charged with the crimes. As the Wagners await four back-to-back capital murder trials, the KT Studios team revisits Pike County to examine: crime-scene forensics, upcoming legal proceedings, and the ties that bind the victims and the accused. As events unfold and new crimes are uncovered, what will it mean for all involved? What will it mean for Pike County?

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Episodes

A Family Torn

With details about the Wagner family continuing to come out in court, shocking testimony from Rhoden loved ones put the tragedy in a new light. Our team of experts continue to break down the case as it stands.

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2022-12-07
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Every Body Has A Story

For years we?ve only heard rumblings about the ways in which the Rhoden family were murdered in their homes, but now as the lead coroner takes the stand we finally learn all the details. With our team of experts, which includes leading forensic investigator Joseph Scott Morgan, we break down what the autopsies reveal and what they mean for the case against George Wagner IV.

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2022-11-30
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Mountains of Evidence

With eight crime scenes, the prosecution sets out to present thousands of pieces of evidence to the jury. The KT Studios? team alongside journalists, legal officials, and forensic experts analyze the state?s case against George Wagner. Is the prosecutor proving that the eldest Wagner son was in fact involved in the Rhoden murders?

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2022-11-23
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Mourning at the Church

Kenneth Rhoden was the eighth victim found, hours after the rest of the family. With immense bravery and poise on the witness stand, Kenneth's son Luke and his cousin Donald walk the jurors through the events of that harrowing day. 

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2022-11-16
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Devil in the Details

As George Wagner?s trial continues we?re getting an even more detailed glimpse at the shocking crimes and the alleged planning that went into them. In this episode, we hear from first responders, initial investigators, and unpack the detailed forensics. 

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2022-11-09
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Con Artists & Liars

As George Wagner?s trial continues, the defense makes their opening statements, giving us a first glimpse at the accused murderer?s side of the story. What do his lawyers have to say and how will it affect the rest of the trial?

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2022-11-02
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Opening Statements

The trial against George Wagner has been over 6 years in the making. As the prosecution finally makes their opening statements, shocking details about the crime are revealed. The KT Studios team analyzes every major moment.  

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2022-10-26
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On the Eve Of...

The Piketon Massacre is back. On the precipice of the largest trial in Pike County?s history, experts and locals weigh in on what is sure to be a courtroom showdown for the ages.

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2022-10-24
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The Piketon Massacre Season 4 Trailer

The number-one podcast is back. More than 6 years after Ohio?s largest criminal investigation was launched, the first trial begins, starting with accused murderer George Wagner IV. With never before heard witness testimony and access inside the courtroom, the KT Studios team is tracking the case in real-time. Is it the story we think we know or is there a new theory altogether? Find out starting October 24.

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2022-10-05
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The Piketon Massacre Live: CrimeCon Q&A

The KT Studios team was asked to speak on a panel at CrimeCon Las Vegas. This episode is a live conversation and Q & A from the event where we discuss the murders, the arrests and everything in between.

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2022-08-03
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House On A Hill

Our investigation into the Rhoden murders has taken us down many different dark and twisted roads, but as we get closer to George Wagner?s trial, we?re finally able to piece some of this mysterious puzzle together. 

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2022-07-27
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Cold Blooded

During our research into the Rhoden murders, we?ve uncovered numerous other unsolved cases in and around Pike County. This week our team looks into how all of these mysteries, locations and the officials involved in the investigations may be connected.

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2022-07-20
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Manner of Life

As we?ve covered the tragedy, much has been said about the accused family, the investigation and the court appearances, but this week we explore the victims. For the first time, we?re talking with two Rhoden family members who have never spoken publicly before. These family members provide valuable insight into the Rhodens, a family steeped in history. 

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2022-07-13
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Breadcrumbs

With more and more information about the Wagner trials becoming public, we examine the first DNA evidence the state has made public against the alleged killer family. How will this evidence come into play once George and Billy Wagner enter the courtroom? Plus, with Forensic Death Investigator Joseph Scott Morgan, we study parallels between the Rhoden murder and a crime from over 50 years ago.

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2022-07-06
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Trial and Error

As George and Billy Wager await their trials, locals anxiously await justice and grapple with understanding the increasingly complicated legal proceedings. Our team of experts examines and breaks down the evidence as well as what the trials could look like. We also take a closer look at the lawyers and judges who are helping shape the Wagner men?s fate.

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2022-06-29
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One Eyed Wolf

With George Wagner?s trial looming, key evidence against the man accused of helping to plot and kill 8 members of the Rhoden family is coming into focus. Outside of the courtroom, we?ve learned that for those closest to him, coming to terms with who George was and what he?s now being accused of is nearly impossible to reconcile. 

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2022-06-22
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State of Ohio vs. George Wagner IV

As the eldest Wagner son prepares to start his trial, there are two key motions that will seemingly play a large part in the case. In this episode, we examine what those are and how they could affect George Wagner’s upcoming court proceedings. 

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2022-06-15
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The Alaska Wife and The Father Figure

There are two other members of the Wagner family that haven’t received as much attention but play integral parts in the complex case. This week we explore the Wagner patriarch and the woman Jake Wagner married while in Alaska. Could uncovering truths about both of them lead us closer to what really happened?

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2022-06-08
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Monsters

While we’ve heard the details about the 2016 murder of the Rhoden family, little has been uncovered about the accused family…until now. With never before heard, first-hand accounts of the Wagner family’s dynamics, interactions and personalities, we begin to gain an understanding of what might have driven them to commit such atrocious acts.

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2022-06-01
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Mother May I?

In 2016, eight members of the Rhoden family were brutally murdered in their homes. The crimes divided the small community of Pike County and spawned a mystery that spanned five years. For two seasons, The Piketon Massacre covered the case, which included the arrests of another local family with intrinsic ties to the victims, the Wagners. The accused pleaded their innocence until last year- on the 5th anniversary of the murders- one of the defendants changed his plea to guilty. Now, as season three begins, another shocking courtroom twist and many divergent theories promise to change the course of Ohio’s largest criminal investigation and may finally help the Rhoden family see justice.

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2022-05-25
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How We Got Here- Seasons 1 & 2 Recap

Looking to get caught up on the intersection between the Rhoden and Wagner families as well as everything we’ve learned about the complex case before the season 3 premiere? In this episode we revisit the tragic story of the Rhoden family as well as the legal proceedings that followed. 

Starting Wednesday, May 25, listen to The Piketon Massacre, a production of KT Studios on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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2022-05-20
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The Piketon Massacre Season 3 Trailer

In 2016, eight members of the Rhoden family were viciously murdered in their homes. For over six years, Ohio’s largest criminal investigation and biggest mystery have been filled with many unanswered questions. However, now with the trials starting and local residents opening up for the first time, we’re finally getting a glimpse into the night in question and perhaps more importantly, the minds of a killer family.

Starting Wednesday, May 25, listen to The Piketon Massacre, a production of KT Studios on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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2022-05-18
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Episode 12- Bonus Episode: Crime & Media

From television and film, to podcasts and books, the true-crime genre is exploding across seemingly all media platforms. On a special bonus episode of the Piketon Massacre: Return to Pike County, we take an in-depth look at the popularity of true-crime stories and our own fascination with the darker side of humanity. A roundtable of psychologists and reporters give us their take on why they are drawn to these stories, the idea of being on the other side of a true-crime documentary, and what draws one particular demographic towards true-crime content.

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2021-07-28
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Finale: What?s Next?

A trial date for accused brother George Wagner has been set for April 4th, 2022, in the Rhoden murder case. But, what will happen in the next few months, remains to be seen. In the season two finale, we answer the most pressing listener questions with a panel of Piketon Massacre regular contributors, including reporters Angenette Levy, James Pilcher and forensics expert Joseph Morgan. We explore the important role that listeners played in shaping the direction of the season. We also delve deeper into other regional cases we've covered this season, the personal and professional effects of covering the Rhoden murders, as well as what the future could hold for George, Angela and Billy Wagner as they await trial.

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2021-07-21
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Hopper Road

A Rhoden family member puts us in touch with a friend whose family was struck by a tragic double murder. In episode ten, Piketon resident, Angie Montgomery, recounts the story of her cousin, Curtis Francis and his fiancée, Jennifer Burgette's murders in 2006. Angie takes us through the ups and downs of the 14 year investigation, including the discovery of an archive of eyewitness statements, the loss of potentially incriminating evidence and the work of one Cincinnati reporter who never gave up on the case. 

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2021-07-14
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25 Miles South Part 2

Pike County is no stranger to misconduct by local officials, as is seen in the case of former Pike County Sheriff, Charlie Reader. In part two of 25 Miles South, reporter Nikki Blankenship picks up where she left off in episode seven - exploring allegations of abuse of power in a community just south of PIketon. When Nikki comes into some damning information tying a Portsmouth, Ohio lawyer and former city councilman to long standing rumors of sex trafficking, her lead is followed up by reporters from the Cincinnati Enquirer. Their investigation leads them into the underbelly of the Southern Ohio sex trade.

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2021-07-14
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A Pike County Roundtable

Two months after Jake Wagner pled guilty to killing five of the eight Rhodens, accused brother George Wagner IV heads back to court for a pre-trial hearing. In episode eight, we catch up with regular Piketon Massacre contributors, Angenette Levy, Jody Barr and Joseph Morgan for a roundtable discussion, covering everything from George Wagner's most recent hearing, their earliest insights into the investigation and thoughts on the questions that continue to cloak the horrific crime in mystery.

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2021-06-30
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25 Miles South

About 30 minutes away from Piketon is Portsmouth, Ohio, a once bustling community that fell on hard times and became the epicenter of the Opioid crisis. In episode seven, we talk to local journalist, Nikki Blankenship, who did a deep investigation into the issues her hometown faced, including serious allegations of sex trafficking. What she found was that Pike County isn?t the only tight knit community with secrets.

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2021-06-23
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The Victims Need a Voice

At the time of the Rhoden murders, Chris Graves was working as a reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer. As she began covering the story she had no idea what would transpire in Pike County. In episode six, we sit down exclusively with her as she recounts her experience being the only journalist to interview not only the surviving family members, but also the accused. Her perspective gives us a one of a kind insight into the massacre.

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2021-06-16
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To Protect & Serve

The man who helped lead Ohio?s largest criminal investigation, Sheriff Charlie Reader went from being a well-liked public figure to finding himself at the center of a very different crime- one that placed him on the other side of the law. In episode 5, we look at the once beloved sheriff?s career, his involvement in the Rhoden case and his shocking fall from grace. 

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2021-06-09
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The Houses on Union Hill Road

It?s been described as the most gruesome, complicated and long-lingering homicide cases the state of Ohio has ever seen. In episode four, alongside forensic expert, Joseph Morgan we look at the varying evidence that is sure to shape the upcoming trials. As we attempt to piece together what transpired in the Rhoden homes, the complicated forensics and crime scenes begin to make sense.

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2021-06-02
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Wagner vs. Wagner

In episode three, we focus on the impact that Jake Wagner?s confession could have on his mother, father and older brother. Additionally, we unpack the current state of their trials and the future proceedings that will decide the fate of the family at the center of Ohio's biggest criminal investigation. Will they ultimately protect each other or will it become... Wagner vs. Wagner?

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2021-05-26
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Cinnamon and Hay

Special prosecutors described the Wagners as ?cult like.? In episode two, we take a deeper look at the family that?s allegedly behind the massacre, speaking with a Pike County local who has an intimate connection to them. We also dissect the prosecution's theories on the family?s complex dynamics. On the surface, the Wagners may have seemed all American but behind closed doors, they were anything but. What we found out was far darker and more disturbing than anything we ever could have imagined. 

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2021-05-19
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Ties that Bind

A photograph shows the Rhoden and the Wagner families embracing, in happier times. What would tear these families apart and cause a tragedy that would shake a community to its core? Just months before death sentence trials were set to begin and in the middle of production of this podcast- a shocking break in the case changes everything. The Piketon Massacre: Return to Pike County explores the ties that bind the two families at the center of Ohio's largest murder investigation. Episode 1 dives into the theories surrounding the bombshell reveal and what will happen next in Pike County.

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2021-05-12
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The Piketon Massacre Season 2 Trailer: Return to Pike County

In 2016, eight members of the Rhoden family were viciously murdered in their homes. Two years later, four members of the Wagner family, were charged with the largest massacre in Ohio?s history. As justice plays out in the courtroom, the KT Studios team revisits Pike County to examine: crime-scene forensics, upcoming legal proceedings, and the ties that bind the victims and the accused.

Starting Wednesday, May 12th listen to The Piketon Massacre: Return to PIke County, a production of KT Studios on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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2021-05-05
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We Think You'd Like 'Criminalia'

Hey, Piketon Massacre listeners, check out this iHeartRadio & Shondaland Audio podcast ? Criminalia.

On Criminalia, hosts Holly Frey and Maria Trimarchi explroe the intersection of history and true crime. This season is all about lady poisoners. During the time that Chicago?s most visible criminal element was organized crime, Tillie Klimek was quietly becoming the city?s most prolific female serial killer. She allegedly killed between six and 20 people, all through arsenic poisoning.

We hoped you liked this episode of Criminalia. If you want to hear more, listen to Criminalia every Tuesday on the iHeartRadio App, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

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2020-10-27
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Episode 10- Wild Country

The most infamous crime that occurred in South Eastern Ohio is the murder of eight members of the Rhoden family. While four members of the Wagner family have been arrested and charged with the murders, the community knows all too well that in this area, there are often more questions than answers.

In episode 10, we dive deeper into subjects we?ve only previously touched on such as the relationship between Angela and Billy Wagner and Sheriff Reader?s involvement in the case. Finally, we explore how a neighboring town harbors its own dark secrets. 

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2020-09-30
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Piketon Uncovered

With the Wagner family awaiting their day in court, the residents of Piketon are left to wonder how the largest criminal investigation in Ohio?s history will end.

In episode nine, we explore unheard topics such as how the community reacted to the newfound attention and how our team began producing the podcast. We?ll also answer questions submitted by listeners that pertain to the case.

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2020-09-23
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Truth Be Revealed

With Fredericka Wagner and Rita Jo Newcomb spared jail time in connection with the Rhoden murders, we turn our focus to the four other family members awaiting their days in court.

In episode eight, we look at what life in prison is like for Billy, Angela, George and Jake Wagner, the four accused ?trigger pullers? in the Rhoden murders. George has requested solitary confinement and Angela?s phone and mail privileges have been revoked. How does this affect their upcoming trials and overall quality of life? We?ll also examine both the prosecution and defenses? arguments, the turns the case has taken since their imprisonment and how the outcome will shape the legacy of Ohio?s largest mass murder.  

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2020-09-16
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4,000 Miles Away

With the Wagner family attempting to start a new life in Alaska, the investigation into the Rhoden murders in Piketon, Ohio moves forward.

Episode seven tracks authorities? moves as they narrow in on their suspects. We'll also explore another surprising move made by the Wagner family and the discovery of a key piece of evidence that leads to their arrests.

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2020-09-09
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The Investigation

Ohio law enforcement officials spent over two years investigating the Rhoden murders. During that time, they received over 1,100 tips, conducted over 500 interviews and served nearly 200 search warrants.  

Episode six explores this exhaustive investigation, how authorities honed in on the Wagners, and how they think the family allegedly pulled off the gruesome massacre. We?ll also look at the Wagner?s moves in the two years following the Rhoden murders, including a shocking decision the family made at the height of the investigation.

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2020-09-02
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Air & Opportunity

In the aftermath of the arrest of six members of the Wagner family in connection with the Rhoden murders, many people across the country were shocked by the brutality of the massacre. But, for the Piketon, Ohio area, this grisly crime wasn?t exactly an anomaly.

In episode five, we take a dive into the dark history of the Piketon, Ohio community. We investigate a wave of murders that were eerily similar to the Rhoden case, a spate of unsolved violent crimes and take a look into the underhanded tactics of one prominent, law enforcement official entrusted to bring the killers of the Rhoden family to justice.

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2020-08-26
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Alternate Theories

On November 13th, 2018, six members of the Wagner family were arrested in connection with the Rhoden family massacre, in Piketon, Ohio. While authorities claim that a custody dispute between Jake Wagner and Hanna Rhoden was the central motive, there are others that think that perhaps law enforcement officials may have the wrong people in custody.

Episode four explores some of the alternative theories surrounding the ?Piketon Massacre.? We look into the Rhoden family?s violent altercations with other Piketon locals, a melee that ensued after a demolition derby race, and their potential involvement in the Ohio drug trade. 

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2020-08-19
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Hanna and Jake

Four members of the Wagner family are in prison, awaiting death penalty trials for allegedly murdering of eight members of the Rhoden family. Two other family members have been arrested for supposedly conspiring to pull off the crime.

In episode three, we talk to friends of the Rhodens who shed light on the victims? lives in the months leading up to the murders. We?ll also explore the relationship between Hanna Rhoden and Jake Wagner, the custody battle that unfolded between the two in the months before the Rhoden family was murdered, and the tragic legacy left in its wake.

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2020-08-12
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Wagners in Custody

In April 2016, after eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered in their homes, Ohio authorities launched the largest homicide investigation in the state?s history.  For over two years, residents of the small town of Piketon lived in fear, as rumors circulated about who the killers could be. 

Then, on November 13th, 2018, six members of a local family were arrested in connection with the brutal massacre.  In episode two, we meet the family accused of being responsible for this unthinkable crime and talk to those who knew them the best.  We?ll also examine the ties that bound the two families together and the driving motive authorities claim might lie at the heart of the tragedy.

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2020-08-05
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Daddy's Playing Zombie

On the night of April 21, 2016 eight members of the Rhoden family were murdered in their homes. Episode one explores the crime that decimated an entire family and left residents of the small town of Piketon, OH reeling. We examine what lead up to the crime, look into the details of Ohio?s largest murder investigation, and the potential motives that drove the alleged killers.  

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2020-07-29
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Introducing: The Piketon Massacre

On the night of April 21, 2016 in rural Piketon, Ohio - eight members of the Rhoden family were viciously murdered execution style in their homes. Two years later in 2018, their neighbors, the Wagners, were arrested and charged with committing the largest massacre in Ohio?s history. Shocked by the arrests, this once close-knit and religious community remains divided and unable to cope. Was a respected and reputable Piketon family responsible for this unimaginable murder spree? Our team will examine the deep ties that connected both families. We?ll examine the evidence and possible motives for the crimes. For the first time we?ll speak with townspeople, psychological experts, respected investigators, friends and members of both families. Are the Wagners responsible for the murders, and if convicted, will they be executed? Or is it possible that there is still a murderer at large waiting to kill again?

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2020-07-22
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