Athens County Sheriff’s Investigators Looking Into Alleged Murder-For-Hire Plot

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UPDATED: Monday June 24, 2013 6:00 PM

Athens County Sheriff Patrick Kelly says his detectives are still gathering facts about what happened at a Chauncey trailer home early Sunday morning.

"Nothing surprises me in Athens County anymore," said Kelly.

An incident report says 49-year-old Joe Burch told deputies he and Charles Gilkey, a man who lived near him on Plum Street, were having an argument over paying off a debt.

The report says Burch then pointed one of Gilkey's rifles at him.

"Mr. Gilkey made a claim that Mr. Burch said to him that he was hired to kill him," said Kelly.

According to the incident report, Gilkey then asked Burch, "Who would hire you to kill me?"

The report goes on to say that Burch responded, "People don't like you getting involved in their business."

Deputies say at that point, Gilkey wrestled the rifle away from Burch.

"There was a shot fired, then a fight ensued, and when my deputies arrived, they arrested Burch," said Kelly.

The sheriff says Burch is charged with one count of felonious assault.

Burch and Gilkey both refused medical treatment after the incident.

The sheriff says more charges could come down in the case.

"We're still looking into the accusation that Gilkey made about him as to whether somebody hired him,” added Kelly. “I don't know yes or no, but we'll find out."

Burch was held overnight at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.

The court says he was released on his own recognizance Monday morning.

10TV talked to one neighbor, who said Burch and Gilkey are friends, and she finds it hard to believe Burch's claims of being hired as a hitman.

10TV also talked to Burch's sister, who says she's trying to get to the bottom of the story.

She says she will fight to get her brother acquitted of any charge against him.

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