Robert Clay Hilman was a thirty year old deputy with the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s office at the time of his death in 2008.
A suit was filed against the Sheriff and several named deputies in 2009 by his wife, Kim Hilman, on behalf of Hilman’s two minor children. I’m not including the names of the deputies involved because it is not necessary to do so.
The suit alleged that:
• Hilman had been suffering from depression over the death of his mother, and was taking Effexor, an anti-depressant that had been prescribed.
• On January 30, 2008, a deputy was called by Hilman’s wife. The deputy called Hilman who said that ‘he was going to kill himself’ if his wife didn’t confess to an alleged affair. He also admitted that he was drinking for the first time in six weeks. The deputy did not report the suicide threats to BPSO and did not call Bossier Parish EMS to check Hilman.
• An EMS employee, who was on duty for Bossier Parish EMS, received a phone call from another BPEMS employee who was a friend of Hilman’s. According to the other EMS employee, Hilman had told her that ‘he had the house barricaded and it’s over’.
• Several deputies went to the house and observed that it was barricaded by a tractor against the front door with a chain attached between the bucket of the tractor and the front door. The back door was barricaded by a four-wheeler with the winch cable attached to the door knob. This meant that neither the front nor back door could be opened by ordinary means.
• The deputies contacted Hilman by phone and he came out through the garage to talk to them. Hilman told them that he was ‘sick’ and he had barricaded the door to keep his wife out of the house. The suit goes on to say that the deputies were aware that he was an abuser of alcohol who had been drinking. The deputies, after consulting with their superiors, decided that if ‘he would go stay with someone or have someone stay with him’ that they would leave and check on him later in the day, rather than taking him into custody or calling EMS. The deputies got a neighbor to come stay with him, but they did not mention the suicide threats. The neighbor subsequently left the home.
These were some, but not all, of the allegations detailed in the suit.
What is fact is that in the early hours of January 31, 2009, Hilman shot and killed himself with his department issued firearm.
The suit was filed by Shreveport attorney Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
The firm of Cook, Yancey, King and Galloway initially represented the defendants in the case, but in October of 2009 they withdrew and the firm of Tutt, Stroud & McKay took over the case.
There was no activity noted on the suit until December 23, 2010 when the plaintiffs accepted a settlement of $160,000 from the defendants; $80,000 for each child.
I take no pleasure at all in writing this, but I do feel that the people have a right to know what is going on with their elected officials, the good, the bad and the tragic.