Monday, January 3, 2011

Sheriff settles suit for $160,000

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.


  1. Had BSO followed procedure, those kids would still have their father.

  2. I wish someone had deposed larry deen in this case - just to get him under oath would be such a delight

  3. This is less than half of the amount settled for - Jim - a little FOI request will discover that - big bucks more than this were paid is my understanding - this is only for the kids which has to go before a judge - what about the wife - ought to check into it Jimbo

  4. Why is the government and the taxpayers now liable for a person who chooses to commit suicide? The children have my sincere sympathy over the loss of their father, but I strongly object to the government forking over my hard earned money. They get Social Security just like every other child who has a parent to die, and I see no reason for the taxpayers to be soaked like this when the father made his own personal choice to end his life by gunfire.

  5. JS~ The point of the lawsuit was that BSO did not follow procedure and these children lost a parent. Law enforcement is bound by state law to protect people from harm, be it by their own hand or someone else. If the officer had been and everyday citizen they would have been admitted to LSUHSC on a 72hr mental health hold. Officer Hillman deserved the same treatment. It just goes to show the people of Bossier Parish just how much Deen appreciates and cares about him men~ zero!

  6. I agree with j.s.! that guy needed help and did not get it but it is not the govt's responsibility to dump a truck load of money on the family! He made the decision to do that!!

  7. what was he depressed over. his wife was having an affair with a bossier fireman. she had left him and now she's the grieving widow and about to marry that same guy. she also works for bossier parish ems as a paramedic. why did she not get him the help. she knows how and who to contact. it is sad for the children but i don't think the full blame is on bso.

  8. Both the EMS and BPSO are responsible for not getting him help. The suite was also for BPSO should change there polices on understanding and helping one of their own as much or more so than the puplic. the police should be able to turn to another officer for any kind of help, they should be more supportive of each other and learn how to respond to police officers as people to no see each other as supper heroes. They have family problems just like anyone else. Clay was really suffering over the lose of his mother not the wife trouble. That was just a cover up for being so close to his mother. Yes the money will help the boys with financial burdens, but nothing or no one will replace their father and that is why the police department was taken to court. By the way your tax money is already miss used why not use some for good.
    Any one in the public eye such as police or EMS workers should get treatment with out their jobs being in danger
    Thank all the people who are police take care of you than you can protect and serve to the best of you ability!

  9. My uncle clay was the best man and uncle a niece could ask for! He came to his decision over many reasons! Till this day I believe that his death could have been prevnted! Many people knew what he was going through and that he was having suicidal thoughts but, yet no one came to there senses to get him help him! Him drinking and saying he was going to "kill himself" was just a call out for help! He was suffering from losing his mother, having problems with his wife and plenty more that none of us will never know! There are so many unanswered questions that I have about my uncles death! Like why you? What could I or anyone have done to change you're mind? Where did we go wrong? Having all these unanswered questions doesn't make my uncles death on many people easy! I miss and love him terribly, but I know that I will reunite with him again in heaven where he is at safe and sound! Rest in peace uncle clay! Love always,
    Marlena Katheryn Wren


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