Debate Over Snack Ends in Murder-Suicide for Ohio Family (Video)

We're almost two weeks into 2012, but the food-related craziness from last year has apparently spilled over. We thought Miamians were nuts, but check this out. 

Tragedy struck an Ohio family after Paul Gilkey, 63, became upset when relatives served his terminally ill wife a snack.

Gilkey had peeled an orange to feed to his cancer-stricken wife, Darlene Gilkey, 59, and then became enraged when relatives fed her tea and toast instead, CBS News reports.

In the home at the time of the incident were Gilkey's two sisters-in-law, his adult son, an adult stepson, and his wife.

Sometime after the dispute over snack time, Gilkey fetched a semiautomatic handgun and turned on his family.

Gilkey killed his wife's sister, Barbara Mohler, 70, by shooting her twice in the head at close range. Another sister, Dorothy Cherry, was shot in the head and chest and also died. Leroy Gilkey, 38, son of Darlene and Paul, was killed by three shots to the head.

The only relative spared was Darlene's son, Gilkey's stepson, Ralph Sowers III, who stated, "He let me leave because I have kids."

Sowers drove away from the home until he was able to pick up a signal on his cell phone and then called police. According to the 911 call, Gilkey shot one of the women first and then turned the gun toward his own son.

"He tried to shoot my brother, and my brother was hiding behind me. And then he kept telling me to 'Duck! Duck! Duck!'" Sowers said. Gilkey somehow reached around Sowers and shot his son dead.

Darlene Gilkey watched everything take place from the hospital bed that was set up in the family's living room. Gilkey did not turn on his wife at any moment, according to reports.

After the killing spree, Paul Gilkey shot himself in the chest on the family's front porch. His body remained upright and visible from the end of the driveway.

The alleged motive in this incident was a disagreement over whether vitamin C is preferable to Earl Grey in fighting cancer. So this is not a case of a normal, healthy human being with a spotless record suddenly going nutso. Decades ago, Gilkey had served a ten-year prison sentence for killing a man and was also arrested in 1986 for felonious assault. When it came to his sick wife, however, Gilkey apparently worked very hard to keep her comfortable.

According to reports, relatives say Gilkey had been under emotional duress while trying to care for his wife as best he could. His sister-in-law, Peggy Gilkey, stated, "He was really trying to take care of her, but he felt like people weren't letting him." She went on to say that Gilkey believed his wife's relatives were taking over Darlene's care and also taking items from the home.

Gilkey's cousin, Matthew Henderson, said he was unstable. He also stated that his cousin had recently purchased two or three cemetery plots.

Follow Short Order on Facebook and Twitter @Short_Order.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >