Sgt. Billy Anders Sentenced


If your not familiar with this story check out my original post I blogged last April:

On Dec 18th, 2004 Deputy Robert Hedman and his partner Sgt Billy Anders, both working for the Otero County Sheriff?s Dept in New Mexico, responded to a call of a shooting.

When deputies went to the front door of the home, a man answered and refused to let them enter. Robert Hedman

then went to the back of the house, where he was shot by Earl Flippen. When Robert Hedman?s partner moved toward the back of the home, Flippen started shooting at him, but the deputy returned fire and killed Flippen.

That was the original news story.

Apparently what happened was that Earl Flippen killed his pregnant girlfriend and then shot and killed Billy Anders best friend (Robert Hedman) as they answered a call of shots fired. Anders shot it out with Hedman, then cuffed him and then executed him.

Sgt. Billy Anders knew something was terribly wrong. The fresh blood spots outside the roadside cabin, the hatchback with the open rear door in the driveway and the instincts he had honed as a big-city cop in San Antonio gave him reason to be alarmed.

Sergeant Anders spent time visiting friends and co-workers before starting a one-year sentence in the fatal shooting of a handcuffed prisoner in December 2004.

His gut was right.

What happened in the next few minutes on that freezing night in December 2004 would leave two men dead, a community in shock and Sergeant Anders, a beloved local sheriff’s officer nearing retirement, charged with killing a handcuffed prisoner. A video camera in the sergeant’s own patrol truck was unblinking witness.

That the victim was a white supremacist ex-convict, Earl Flippen, who had just killed his pregnant girlfriend and Sergeant Anders’s partner, sprayed gunfire around the girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter and barely missed shooting Sergeant Anders at point-blank range, was beside the point.

Sergeant Anders, who received a minimal one-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter with a firearm, says he has trouble remembering exactly what happened but recalls that he fired to save himself and the little girl.

“I remember he was moving and I considered him a threat,” he said in a rambling interview. “I don’t remember shooting him when he was handcuffed.”

Still, said Sergeant Anders, who was sentenced on March 3, his 63rd birthday: “I’m a reasonable person; I can’t argue with the videotape. If I crossed the line, I have to take responsibility.”

One less piece of dogcrap roaming the streets if you asked me. Do I condone what he did? No. But as a commentor stated on my old blog, Anders is even more of a hero with him owning up to his deed.

A big thanks to the Judge for sentencing him to the minimum.

Many see Sergeant Anders as a hero, and supporters have raised the $50,000 that his legal defense cost.

“As far as I’m concerned, Billy did everyone a favor,” said Charliss Randall, who works in the Copper Butterfly gift shop. Mr. Flippen had already killed his girlfriend, Ms. Randall noted, adding, “Who else would he kill?”

The emergency workers who rushed to the cabin that night credit Sergeant Anders with saving their lives. “I’m convinced that had he not eliminated the threat, Flippen would have started picking us off,” Grady McCright, a former volunteer fire chief of a neighboring community, said outside the sentencing hearing.

The whole story of what happened that night came out in trial:

In truth, Sergeant Anders said, he should not have been on duty the night of Dec. 18, 2004. It was his 11th wedding anniversary, and he was fighting off a case of stomach flu. But when a call came in to 911 reporting a quarrel and shots fired 10 miles east of Cloudcroft, he insisted on joining his partner and best friend, Deputy Robert Hedman.

The call took them to a cabin rented by Mr. Flippen, a 38-year-old career criminal whose “white pride” tattoos proclaimed his membership in the Aryan Brotherhood.

Shortly before the deputies pulled up, Mr. Flippen had shot to death his 30-year-old girlfriend, Deborah Rhoudes, then eight months pregnant, and rolled her body into a rug for loading into his waiting hatchback. Ms. Rhoudes’s 3-year-old daughter, Victoria, was also there.

When investigators played the videotape for Sergeant Anders three days after the shootings, he seemed stunned. He said he had no memory of shooting Mr. Flippen after handcuffing him.

“I remember being afraid,” he said, according to transcripts of interviews with the investigators. “I remember being worried for Bob. I remember the little girl screaming and carrying, you know, carrying on, being upset. But, God, I don’t remember that.”

Another article examines the psychological aspect of the case:

Psychological exams of Billy Anders show him to be a normal, conscientious, honest kind of guy.

“There are no fractures to the glass for the glass to break later, so to speak,” said psychologist Dr. Eric Westerfeld during testimony in Anders’ sentencing hearing Thursday.

[…]There are no indications suggesting problems with emotional malfunction or personality dysfunction, Westerfeld said.

“So what happened to Billy that night?” asked Anders defense attorney Gary Mitchell, referring to the night Anders shot Earl Flippin for the fifth time, after Flippin was already in the deputy’s custody.

“He went into a state of shock,” Westerfeld said. “At that point he had developed an acute traumatic stress disorder.”

Westerfeld said a number of things had just happened to Anders that qualified as traumatic.

Anders had been shot at. He had gone to the door of the residence and seen blood. He called dispatch but knew it was unlikely help would arrive soon. He had gone to the back of the house and seen his partner and subordinate, Deputy Bob Hedman, who had been shot.

“Deputy Hedman was not only someone who was his subordinate,” Westerfeld said. “He was someone who had the keys to his (Anders’) house and fed his dogs when he was gone … he was a friend.”

Anders had given orders to Hedman to return to the unit, Westerfeld said. But that’s not what the deputy did.

“He (Anders) felt as though he had failed in his supervisory role as well,” Westerfeld said. “He should have been more assertive, he felt.”

Westerfeld said someone with acute stress disorder can experience a numbing detachment and absence of emotional responses.

“He (Anders) told me he didn’t feel angry (when he shot the subject),” Westerfeld said.

In the video from Anders’ vehicle taken that night, Westerfeld said Anders’ eyes are not entirely focused, and he had a manner that lacks purpose.

Anders does not recall any part of the events as they appear in the video, Westerfeld said.

“He describes one emotion — that’s horror,” Westerfeld said. “There is more of a sense of confusion and shock. There is a reduction of awareness. Things start falling apart.”

When ASD takes effect, individuals don’t record memories in normal order, Westerfeld said.

“When he (Anders) told me in retrospect, he didn’t hear his gun fire when he did it,” Westerfeld said as an example of the memory issue. “The human organism is going through chaos at this point. The video document something different than he recalls; he can’t adjust to that.”

We’re behind you brother.

Apparently what happened was that Earl Flippen killed his pregnant girlfriend and then shot and killed Billy Anders best friend (Robert Hedman) as they answered a call of shots fired. Anders shot it out with Hedman, then cuffed him and then executed him.

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As a resident of San Antonio as well as a “red blooded american”, unfortunatly I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Anders in person. This man is the definition of a hero. The tragic murders of Deputy Hedman and Ms. Rhoudes were avenged and justice was served swiftly. The pain faced by the families of Deputy Hedman and Ms. Rhouds will not be rekindled at apeal hearings or parole hearings, the American tax payer will not have to provide legal defense, food, shelter or medical care for another piece of trash.

Mr. Anders, My family and I thank you for your many years of dedicated service.


Mike C.
San Antonio, Texas

Hopefully, the District Attorney can be voted out of office. What a wimp!

Vince Lombardi once said “Doing the right thing is not a sometime thing it’s an all the time thing.”

I have read some of the comments of people that know Billy Anders and I watched him on Primetime. I would like say Billy is what it means to be a MAN. Given the circumstances, Billy faced the elephant and survived. Unfortunately his partner did not and that?s a tragedy. Billy I know telling you it’s not your fault will not change the feeling inside but we signed on accepting the thought that we will protect those who can’t protect themselves at any cost, that is what we do. Stand tall Billy. Twenty-five years law enforcement and there are very few men I would shake hands with, but given the chance I would shake your hand and be proud as hell to do so.

I did not see the entire news story that Primetime showed however I watched a version of the news story on the internet. I worked with Billy in Otero County and I want everyone to know that he is the kindest, most caring officer. He cared about his fellow officers as well as his community. I believe that he did what his gut was telling him to do and I believe that if any of us were in the same situation we would have done the same thing. I believe it to be a huge injustice to send a fine man like Billy go to prision for protecting the community and that little girl as he did.

Billy I hope you are doing fine and I hope you know how many people feel that you did the right thing.

Take care Sarg.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and the Hedman family.

I was wondering where all the new comments were coming from but now see that Primetime did a story on it. Anyone know if they are going to replay it, I missed it.

I agree completely with everyone’s comments. Anders did everyone a favor by sending this guy to hell and thankfully the Judge did the right thing.

This is one of those situations that although against the law, it is justified. I’m glad he only got a year in prison.

I just watched the story on “Primetime” about this situation as well as the videotape of the incident from Sgt. Anders patrol vehicle. I cant believe that Sgt. Anders was prosecuted for this incident!! I didnt see a single thing in the video tape leading me to believe he did anything wrong whatsoever! When someone is shooting at you, you must protect yourself thru whatever means possible; even if that means killing someone in the process. You cant assume even for a second that if someone is handcuffed and you havent had the chance to pat them down for weapons and you dont have control of the person, that they are no longer a threat. I believe Sgt. Anders when he says the last shot he fired that killed Flippen was a shot due to a perception that his safety as well as his life was in danger. We all need to rally around Sgt. Anders to seek his release from prison and total exoneration!!! If anyone can get his address in prison, please post it here so that we can begin writing letters of support to him. God bless you Sgt. Billy Anders

I served under Bill Anders on the San Antonio Police Dept. He is one of the finest men I have ever known. HE STILL IS!

Whats just is not always legal, whats legal is not always just!

what happened to her daughter? that is what i want to know. that poor baby.

I’m a police officer in West Texas and used to live and work in the City of Lamesa. Not long before this scum bag Flippin killed the deputy in New Mexico he and the same girlfriend he murdered lived in Lamesa. Our officers responded to a domestic disturbence at Flippins residence one night and he hid behind the front door of his house with a sword intent on murdering one of our officers as he approached the residence. The only thing that prevented the murder was the back up officer coming onto the scene before the first officer made it to the house. Flippin was arrested and housed in the Dawson County Jail where there was several items, including the by-laws for the Arian Brotherhood, removed from his personal property. Instead of seeing Deputy Anders in jail I think he needs an award and a key to the city for doing away with the scum bag. It’s not our job to deliver justice….but in cases like this it should be.


I whole-heartedly agree.

Stay Safe.

I want to reiterate that he is a hero.

He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, obviously he was in a state of shock and acting at an instinctual level. Why voluntary manslaugheter instead of involuntary?

Still to quote Sergeant Anders:
“I remember he was moving and I considered him a threat,” he said in a rambling interview. “I don’t remember shooting him when he was handcuffed.”

Still, said Sergeant Anders, who was sentenced on March 3, his 63rd birthday: “I’m a reasonable person; I can’t argue with the videotape. If I crossed the line, I have to take responsibility.”

Even these quotes increase my respect for the man.

I’ve read transcripts and interviewed people involved in this. What is described as happening here is NOT how it happened. Anders only handcuffed Flippen after he fired the last, fatal shot. Anders had checked the area for his missing partner and found his body at the rear of the house. He realized that Flippen had been left alone for some time and returned to check him, found him moving with a metal object in his hand and, fearing for his life and the life of the little girl, shot him once more, THEN handcuffed him. There is no way the poor quality of the video can show that he was handcuffed before being shot. This was NOT an execution, and Anders should never even have been charged.

The first time I heard about this incident was yesterday at the Hastings in Alamogordo, NM. After that. (I am not from the area, so I have never heard of the incident) I have taken special interest in the story. What a horrific tragedy. But I send my prayers out to Mr. Anders, his family as well as the families of the victims.

I just visited Billy about a month or so ago. I bought his book and he signed it for me. I still pray for him and his family. I worked with him on the San Antonio Police Dept. (He was my Captain on Patrol). All the Officers that worked under him thought very highly of him. I hope he can put this all behind him and get on with his life. God Bless you Billy

My wife and I along with another SAPD Officer and his wife also just visited Captain Anders in Cloudcroft, not even 2 weeks ago. He signed his book for us as well. We were able to spend 3 days in that beautiful city in the mountains and I was impressed how much everyone seemed to like and admire him wherever we went. For the record…we do too! Captain Anders spend alot of his time with us while in Cloudcroft, and we sure appreciated that. I personally still call him “Captain” out of absolute respect and find it difficult to simply call him “Billy.” He was our/my Commander at the San Antonio Police Department in charge of the Theft Unit, and he always maintained the respect of all Officers. He is a great man with many accomplishments, amoung the most immediately noticeable, his very caring and supportive attitude, especially to his trouble maker subordinates (not me) at the SAPD. His book is outstanding, I found it difficult to put down once I started to read it. I wish Captain Anders and his family the best life has to offer, and likewise for the family of Deputy Robert Hedman and the unwitting victims. Captain Anders and Deputy Hedman are truley men of honor! I am very proud to call him, my firend. May God bless them all, and also the people of Cloudcroft for supporting our friend and brother Officer, and Law Enforcement in general.

Billy and I go way back. When he was in cadet class at the SAPD he was assigned to ride with me. At that time I was on the expressway patrol under traffic division. I would like to think I showed Billy not only how to write tickets, but to have a fun time while working in general.
Later, Bill had been assigned to the traffic division as a helicopter pilot. I had other friends there so we once again got many chances to visit.
In 1986 I elected to transfer to the DWI unit, and Bill was the Sgt. over there. With him, you felt like you were working with him, not for him. He was out in the thick of things and very much involved in the job.
Our trails went different directions and I never worked with or around Bill anymore after 1988.
We became connected again after this tragic incident on that faithful night through email.
I was fortunate enough to have been invited to his lunch at Sammy’s in Castroville Tx shortly after his release.
Present were many friends of Bill’s. Unfortunatly, once again I have not heard from him in many months. I realalize his whole life has been turned upside down, but if he reads this I would hope he would contact me again.
I would very much like to get over to Cloudcroft and visit with him before I get too old to remember how to get back home.
Your friend,
Robert E Anderson
SAPD (retired)

Mr. Robert Anderson, I would like you to know that I had the pleasure of sitting down to have a cup of coffee with Billy about a month ago. He is still a wonderful, caring man and it is a pleasure to know him. I hope that you have the opportunity to come to Cloudcroft and reconnect with him.
Mr. Bill Lowry, you mentioned how the people in Cloudcroft “like and admire” Billy. Can you blame us? As we have all said, he is a wonderful man. Add to that the fact that one of the best things about Cloudcroft is how safe we all feel here. With creeps like Flippen living here, our security was threatened. Although Billy was concerned about protecting himself and the little girl, he managed to make this area safe for all of us again. He gave us back our freedom. You can bet we like and admire him… and for many of us, it’s not just like and admire, its love and respect.

You are a prime example of the backwards thinking in Texas. This cowardly cop is a murderer, not only did he not have the balls to do it when the guy had a gun, but he had to wait until he was handcuffed. Well at least he did get a year in jail with all of the dead man’s fellow gang members so hopefully there will be a little street justice for him in there. Thanks for your support.

,george , your turn is just around the corner, with your gang of criminals,
they will kill you themself.

@george: Thank you for your support, is that what I read? I’m sure the only support you could muster is from an athletic supporter.
You have no idea what happened on the night in question, and as to not having balls, I sure you would not have had those to have been at the location in the first place.
With your left wing comment, we all know what and who you are, NO BODY. Go back to NY or what ever hole you crawled out of.

These comments haven’t been updated in a few years. I just learned about this case in a training today and was very taken by it. Sgt. Anders is a true hero in my book, a protector of human life and yes he did fire a fatal shot into a wounded man but he did still pose a very serious threat. Sgt. Anders is a true hero who ended an undeserving demons life. I commend him for protecting that little girl and trying to save innocent lives. I am deeply saddened that anyone could call this man cowardly, he is obviously nothing of the sort!

Right or wrong he’s gonna have to watch his back for the rest of his life.