Sierra Vista, AZ. 11/06/16. As a result of an ongoing undercover investigation, the Sierra Vista Police Department arrested a former Cochise County Sheriff’s Office deputy today for conspiracy to commit first degree murder.
The department’s major crimes detectives have been investigating a murder for hire conspiracy involving a Sierra Vista man who wanted to have a hired killer murder another local man. Detectives learned that the suspect behind the conspiracy was former deputy Israel Burkholder, who has not worked in a law enforcement capacity for about a year. He was under an internal affairs investigation and is no longer employed with the sheriff’s office for cause.
Detectives had been conducting physical and electronic surveillance on Burkholder and learned that he was conspiring with someone at a local convenience store in the area of Avenida Cochise and Buffalo Soldier Trail this afternoon.
Members of the SVPD Special Response Team arrived at the convenience store to continue surveillance. When Burkholder appeared to be preparing to vacate the store’s parking lot, members of the team took him into custody at gunpoint without incident. Burkholder surrendered to police at 5:02 p.m.
Burkholder has been charged with conspiracy to commit first degree murder and is being held at Cochise County Jail. For more information regarding this case contact SVPD Detective Sgt. Sean Brownson at (520) 452-7500.