//FORMER COCHISE DEPUTY ARRESTED IN MURDER-FOR-HIRE CONSPIRACY

FORMER COCHISE DEPUTY ARRESTED IN MURDER-FOR-HIRE CONSPIRACY

By Terri Jo Neff

RESIGNED IN 2015 DURING INTERNAL REVIEW OF NARCOTICS “SHARING” CASE
STATE POLICE BOARD:  REVIEWING STATUS SINCE MID-YEAR

SIERRA VISTA – Former Cochise County Sheriff’s Office deputy Israel J. Burkholder is behind bars at the Cochise County jail after being arrested for conspiracy to commit murder. The arrest on Sunday night of Burkholder, age 44, came as a result of an investigation by the Sierra Vista Police Dept.’s major crimes unit.
According to a statement released by Sierra Vista PD, the case began when detectives learned that a Sierra Vista man was looking to hire someone to kill another man. Detectives identified Burkholder as the man conspiring to locate a hired killer and then placed the former lawman under surveillance. The statement describes the observation as involving physical and electronic activities.
Shortly before the arrest authorities determined Burkholder and another person were at a business in the area of Buffalo Solder Trail and Avenida Cochise. The Sierra Vista PD’s special response team was called to the business -a convenience store – and arrested Burkholder without incident at 5:02pm.
Burkholder, after 11 years with CCSO, resigned as a master deputy from the Sheriff’s Office on March 5, 2015 while under internal review for his involvement in a prescription narcotics investigation that also resulted in the resignation of deputy Evan Walker. The Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training (AZPOST) Board which certifies police officers has had a pending case against Burkholder for several months, and according to an AZPOST spokesperson the Board is “hoping to proceed with this case in the very near future.”

In 2010, Burkholder’s son Jeremy was involved in a shooting outside the Pomerene Post Office in which he and another man suffered gunshot wounds. He was recently released on parole from the Arizona State Prison Complex – Safford where he was serving a three year sentence for a March 2013 burglary conviction. His parole is scheduled to end in March 2017. Jeremy, age 24, previously served three other prison sentences for cases involving forgery, theft, and drug paraphernalia.
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Contact reporter Terri Jo Neff at 520-508-3660 and cjw_media@yahoo.com