Forensic evidence takes center stage

WAVERLY, Ohio — Forensics, like ballistic, blood and shoe print proof, were introduced Friday to a jury that will decide the fate of a man accused of killing 8 individuals in Pike County in 2016.

George Wagner IV — along with his mom Angela, father George “Billy” Wagner and brother Edward “Jake” Wagner — is accused of shooting and killing the Rhoden family customers “execution-design and style.” The family’s bodies had been found on April 22, 2016. He faces 8 prices of aggravated murder, alongside with other costs connected with tampering with evidence, conspiracy and forgery.

Discovered lifeless that working day have been 40-yr-previous Christopher Rhoden Sr., 37-12 months-old Dana Rhoden, 20-12 months-previous Hannah “Hazel” Gilley, 16-12 months-previous Christopher Rhoden Jr., 20-calendar year-aged Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 37-calendar year-aged Gary Rhoden, 19-yr-previous Hanna May possibly Rhoden, and 44-12 months-previous Kenneth Rhoden.

The trial is the to start with time a person has confronted a jury for the deaths of the Rhoden loved ones six a long time ago.

The to start with witness, Ohio Bureau of Felony Investigation agent Shane Hanshaw, opted to be recorded through his testimony as he explained how he documented the criminal offense scenes soon after BCI was named in to help in the investigation.

Hanshaw meticulously thorough proof collected from the scene at Chris Sr.’s trailer, detailing how proof was collected, labelled and documented.

Some proof in the yard was collected that afternoon by BCI: A Mountain Dew can and a number of cigarette butts. All contained DNA identified as belonging to Gary Rhoden, who was discovered lifeless inside of the trailer.

Blood spatter was witnessed on the front porch and sidewalk in the entrance of the house, Hanshaw mentioned. Although he spoke, prosecutors shown photos — taken by Hanshaw himself on April 22, 2016 — depicting the products found out.

“In seeking at this, it can be quite really hard to see, but there was essentially residue of suspected blood there in the grass,” stated Hanshaw, gesturing toward a picture shown to the jury.

A number of bullet holes have been famous in the front of Chris Sr.’s property, Hanshaw mentioned.

“When we acquired to the porch place and commenced to take a look at that there was some laminate flooring that was stacked up in the space,” he reported. “On the lookout by way of that, we identified what we considered to be a bullet or a partial bullet in that area.”

That bullet was the 1st of six bullet holes identified in the area five holes were being observed in the display doorway or the front of the residence in the vicinity of the display screen doorway.

There were being no bullet holes in the inside front doorway, inspite of trajectory rods exhibiting there must be, Hanshaw stated.

Due to the fact of that, Hanshaw reported he believes the inside front door was open up when the bullets have been fired through the display doorway and entrance of the residence.

Shifting to the within of the trailer, the jury was revealed the interior of all those bullet holes, wherever wooden and metallic sheared away from the spot exactly where a projectile punched by way of the house.

“This suggests directionality initial of all,” mentioned Hanshaw. “Whatsoever object brought about that appeared to be coming from the exterior in, mainly because this is on the inside of.”

Blind swabs carried out on the screen door of the household showed a mixture of DNA, with Gary staying the main contributor there was no DNA existing from Chris Sr. or any of the Wagner household customers accused of the murders, Hanshaw said.

Blind swabs are intended to choose up unseen DNA on surfaces, but if a person sporting gloves touched the area there would be no transfer of DNA, he testified.

Inside the household, the scene was a difficult one particular, said Hanshaw.

“This scene was a minimal various than some scenes, a good deal of scenes that you enter you have an spot that you can create a spot to do the job … this individual scene, we ended up not capable to do that because there was so much proof proper in the doorway,” he claimed.

Various bullets and bullet fragments have been discovered within the property, like embedded in two speakers on the back wall furthest from the entrance doorway. No bullet fragments ended up pulled from the holes in the front of the property, which means all 5 passed by the entrance and into the house, Hanshaw stated.

On the back wall of the residence, three bullets exited the trailer and ended up charted with trajectory rods. A bullet also struck and broke a framed photograph that had been hanging in close proximity to the two speakers that have been uncovered to have bullets embedded in them.

Hanshaw mentioned right after investigators combed by the living area, he felt at ease transferring a significant upholstered rocking chair in the area. Right after shifting it, officials discovered one more bullet hole in the ground.

Prosecution questioned no matter whether the rocker had been there at the time of the murders, or if it appeared to have been moved. Hanshaw mentioned it experienced been moved a little bit, but investigators identified a big blood stain on the rocker that aligned with close by blood spatter and bloody drag marks indicated it experienced been in that identical normal location when bullets flew by means of the home.

In the kitchen space, Hanshaw mentioned a .40 caliber cartridge scenario was uncovered and bloody drag marks proceed throughout the ground in that room. An additional bullet jacket was discovered on a mattress in a smaller bedroom.

“I identified very little at all that would point out that any pictures were being fired from within the residence going out of the residence,” mentioned Hanshaw. “My belief was that the photographs did take place from outside. I felt that they were from the front lawn spot.”

He explained there was evidence that at minimum one shot was fired inside of the trailer, but that “nothing indicated that any person in the interior had truly shot out towards the exterior.”

From there, prosecutors moved on to inquiring about blood evidence in the home. The jury was demonstrated several evidence photos of the inside of of the residence, the bloody drag marks, blood spatter on the wall and other forensic materials.

Swabs collected from blood spatter on walls in the residing place, stains on home furniture and drag marks verified the blood in that place belonged to Chris Rhoden Sr.

Additional swabs taken from the ground and again wall of the residing space were DNA examined and located to belong to Gary Rhoden, Hanshaw said.

Blood spatter stains had been found on the ceiling in the living home, but prosecutors reported swabs of those people were being not despatched to the lab for DNA screening.

In the kitchen area, they observed partial display impressions in blood, alongside with a lot more drag marks leading as a result of the kitchen area and even further into the property.

“The blood-letting celebration experienced happened inside the residence and the men and women have been drug by way of the residence,” explained Hanshaw, gesturing at images for the jury. “More than listed here, you can see one more space wherever a system was turned and then drug to the exact same location of th eresidence. Also you see partial footwear impressions in blood.”

When Hanshaw and BCI agents were being processing the trailer, he mentioned the imprints have been dried. To preserve them and alert legislation enforcement to not action there, Hanshaw said he covered them with parchment paper.

Leuco crystal violet, a chemical that Hanshaw reported is supposed to boost detail in blood styles that isn’t really obvious to the eye, was utilised on the footprints to carry out a lot more information and facts. The spray is meant to retain the blood stain from growing in excess of time as very well, he reported.

Hanshaw then in depth the approaches he photographed the footprints, beneath several varieties of lights and with and without flash to be certain that as substantially depth could be captured as doable.

BCI brokers waited to accumulate the footprints themselves previous, leaving the parchment paper or containers about major of them until eventually they were ready to course of action the rest of the trailer.

Then they brought in ability applications and cut the footprints up from the floor.

Prosecution then led Hanshaw to reveal the procedure of preserving all the proof that was collected, focusing specially on the shoe prints.

Prosecutor Andrew Wilson emphasized in his questioning the problem of the shoe prints, how they ended up collected, how they ended up saved and what the Leuco crystal violet is meant to do, most likely attempting to display the jury the evidence is legit and undamaged.

The demo finished at 4:00 p.m., ahead of the prosecution completed questioning Hanshaw. They will select again up yet again Monday early morning, followed by the defense’s prospect to cross-take a look at Hanshaw.

Friday marked the fifth working day of testimony, ending the first 7 days of the demo. Throughout the 7 days, jurors heard from 1st responders who described grisly scenes identified on the morning of April 22, 2016 and relatives associates described identifying their loved kinds shot to demise in their beds.

You can go through recaps of just about every day of the trial in our protection down below: