Chris Graves

Journalism professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Storyteller, author, editor. Believer in the future of news.

Ty Wright/The Washington Post

In Ohio, prosecutors allege scheme by one family to kill another

More than six years and thousands of pieces of evidence later, prosecutors are expected to unfurl a diabolical scheme by four members of one family to kill eight members of another in rural southern Ohio. The alleged motive: to obtain sole custody of a shared daughter, who was a toddler at the time.
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Carrie Cochran

Pike County: Death in the foothills

He cocked his head and leaned in from the edge of the funeral home’s couch, when they asked what he needed. Those who came to call couldn’t imagine losing a member of their family, let alone eight — all at the same time, in a murderous massacre in the stillness of the night. Death and family brought the Rhodens to Ohio generations ago. Now it holds them here.
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Liz Dufour

6 caskets, 36 pallbearers and a funeral director's tears

WEST PORTSMOUTH – Scott Davis will fuss over them, one by one, before the Rhoden family arrives. He will straighten a tie, push a stray hair away from a face, adjust hands. He will run a lint roller over the clothing one last time. Then he will pat the chest, ever so gently. And move on to the next casket. And the next. And the next.
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Jan. 4, 1998: The Cunanan killings

Last week, the wait ended for any new revelation in the death of Andrew Cunanan's fifth and most famous victim, Gianni Versace, when Miami Beach closed the case. The Star Tribune uncovered clues from more than 2,000 pages of documents, more than 2,300 crime-scene photos and interviews with hundreds of people across the country - investigators, criminologists, witnesses, friends, family members.
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Angela Wagner Pleads Guilty In Rhoden Family Murders

Prosecutors dropped eight aggravated murder charges on Friday against Angela Wagner, who was charged with her family in the elaborately planned, execution-style slayings of eight members of another southern Ohio family in 2016. In exchange, Wagner, 50, agreed to plead guilty to 14 lesser charges — including conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, burglary, possession of firearms, tampering with evidence, forgery, obstructing justice and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.

After Guilty Plea, Jake Wagner Faces Life Without Parole And The Daughter He Killed For

Edward "Jake" Wagner said he wanted a happy home life, to keep his young family together, and to see his daughter grow up safe and happy. But, instead, he and his family decimated all hopes for that future five years ago. Wagner, now 28, on Thursday pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder and 15 lesser charges on the anniversary of the methodically calculated and cold murders of his daughter's mother, Hanna Rhoden, and seven of her family members.

Change Agents

For Mark Kranz, the career pivot came after drinking scotch, smoking cigars and discussing life, relationships and theology with three buddies post-grad in Boston. For Karen Jennings, it came after she took her brother’s advice about finding passion in her work. For Pernell Jefferson, it came in a desire to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck. The Husker grads don’t know each other, each pursued different degrees and after graduation fanned out across the nation. But they share a commonality: Each works in careers that have little, if anything, to do with their conferred undergrad degrees.

The Poston case: An immeasurable loss

Shayna Hubers killed more than Ryan Poston three years ago, she destroyed the hopes and dreams of a father amd what could have been Ryan Poston showed up at his dad's house at 12:30 a.m. one day more than three years ago with an overnight bag and laptop in hand. He needed a place to stay because his on-again, off-again girlfriend would not leave his condo. Of course he could stay, Jay Poston told his son, but he needed to end the relationship.