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      Niece of firefighter accused of murder for hire: 'We're all speechless'

      By Stacy Jacobsonsjacobson@abcnews4.com

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Melissa Walker thought back to happier days with her uncle Edward Clinton Jones, a time when she could depend on him.

      "He'd give me advice: 'I'm here for you. I'll always be here for you,'" she said. "He was like a dad to my children. He was there for us."

      But now Walker said she and her family were reeling, after police said he agreed to pay a man $8,000 to kill his wife. She said her aunt Michelle found out from police while they were getting ready for a New Year's Eve party.

      "She's still in shock," Walker said of her aunt, Michelle Jones. "It makes no sense to none of us. We're all just kind of speechless at this moment. Just trying to let it all sink in and figure out what's going on. This is so not like him."

      Police said Jones told an informant his wife was going to divorce him and take their four children to Delaware. But, Walker said that came as a shock.

      "I never heard them say anything about divorce. I just heard them say they need to talk about certain situations. It's a financial crunch," she said.

      Jones served as a Charleston firefighter for 18 years between 1991 and 2009. He worked for the Department during and after the tragic Sofa Super Store fire.

      "I'm sure it psychologically did something to him but I don't think it changed him to the point where he'd go to this extent to wanting to have his wife murdered," Walker said.

      Matt Dorman didn't make the connection either. He is a licensed professional counselor who specializes in mental health support for first responders.

      "In general terms, PTSD doesn't lead to violence," Dorman said.

      For now, Walker said she told her aunt and her children to be strong.

      "We are tight. We're a loving family. We're not torn. We're together. We're going to get through this as a family," she said.

      Her uncle made a bad choice, but is not a bad person, she said.

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