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2012-03-01

Fallen lawman honored in Uvalde

By Meghann Garcia Assistant Editor Uvalde Leader T

(BCC Editor's note: This article first appeared in the Feb. 12 edition of the Uvalde Leader-News. The widow of Chief Deputy Clyde Hobbs, Karen Heideman, has remarried and is now living in Bandera County. This article is being reprinted by permission of the Leader-News.)

When Chief Deputy Clyde Hobbs was murdered 30 years ago, the world his young wife and children knew fell apart, while Uvalde County lost a committed veteran officer highly regarded by his colleagues.

Karen Heideman was 29 when her husband was left beaten 40 yards from his patrol car while conducting a traffic stop on a group of men suspected of carrying stolen goods.

Her three children, who at the time of their father's death ranged in age from infancy to 8 years old, had difficulty understanding why their father was not present as they were growing up.

"They missed out especially not having known him but for a short while," Heideman, who is now married to Roy Heideman, said. "I regret that they never got to know him to see his goodness and kindness."

One of three men convicted of his murder is currently being considered for parole, something Heideman and Sheriff Charles Mendeke are adamantly against.

"As sheriff for the county of Uvalde, I, Charles Mendeke hereby disapprove of the release of Mr. Gerardo Rodriguez and I strongly urge Pardons and Parole Division to decline parole from being granted," Mendeke wrote in a letter to the parole board. "In my opinion, the senseless murder of Deputy Clyde Hobbs was one we will never forget."

Commenting that her late husband was the second person whose life was cut short by Rodriguez, Heideman echoed the sheriff's sentiments.

"I don't want anyone else to go through what we've gone through," she said. "He was only 18 when he killed Clyde."

Rodriguez was set to face trial for another murder less than two weeks from the night he and two accomplices beat the deputy with a rock and tire tool as Hobbs waited for radio information about the vehicle's occupants.

Had Hobbs been conscious to hear the dispatcher's response, he would have learned that Rodriguez was free on bond after being charged with the murder of a man found with two gunshot wounds to the head at a park north of Eagle Pass.

Kenneth Kelley Sr., who was sheriff at the time, described Hobbs as a good family man. He too is against the possibility of parole for Rodriguez.

"He needs to stay where he is at," Kelley said, adding that Rodriguez, when being questioned by the district attorney, showed absolutely no remorse for the murder.

Doug Postert, who currently serves as chief deputy, worked as a dispatcher and jailer for the Uvalde County Sheriff's department in 1976 while Hobbs was a deputy. He said Hobbs was a kind person, something Heideman said lives on with her children.

"As grown children now with families of their own they have continued Clyde's legacy with their goodness and kindness," she said.

Mendeke and Postert were in Utopia on Wednesday morning to present Hobbs' family with a plaque commemorating his dedication and ultimate sacrifice.
The sheriff, with much emotion, spoke of the work law enforcement officers do for their communities, knowing the dangers they face each day. He thanked the family, which includes two daughters and a son of whom Heideman is immensely proud, as well as several grandchildren.

"Clyde was in law enforcement 10 years," Heideman said, adding that he served three years as a city police officer before working seven years as a deputy, until the time of his death. "He loved what he did and was respected in the county by all the people. I had so many people tell me what he did to help them in their time of need."


(mgarcia@uvaldeleadernews.com, 830-278-3335)

Pictured: Photo by Meghann Garcia of the Leader-News

Sheriff Charles Mendeke presents a memorial plaque to Karen Heideman, who was 29 when her husband Clyde Hobbs was killed in the line of duty. Roy Heideman, Karen's husband, and her son Cody Hobbs, are also pictured