LEBANON, Ky. (WHAS11) – It was judgment day for the man who pleaded guilty to killing a Kentucky sheriff’s deputy in Nov. 2012. Dewayne Shipp, 50, will spend the rest of his life in prison for gunning down Deputy Anthony Rakes.
It wasn’t the sentence the family originally wanted; they were pushing for the death penalty. But, there was one thing they wanted more than Shipp’s punishment: closure.
“Anthony was 31-years-old, had just started living his life. He was a great brother, wonderful person, everyone loved him,” Rakes’ sister Anita Elder said, as she addressed Shipp in court.
Rakes left two older sisters behind when he died.
“He’s my true hero and I miss him so much,” Elder said. “I hope that someday, through God’s help, I can forgive you, but not now. You have destroyed my life forever.”
More than a year after Rakes’ death, Elder and her sister Regina Ewing faced the man who killed their little brother.
“My brother was a proud uncle of a niece and a nephew,” Ewing told Shipp, “My daughter is autistic, [she] doesn’t understand why her uncle doesn’t come to see her anymore.”
On Nov. 14, 2012, Rakes was driving home. He was three minutes from the end of his shift. He saw a vehicle parked in the road just outside Lebanon. Thinking it was a stranded motorist, he pulled over to help. Shipp shot him twice and took off. He later told detectives he had the gun because he intended to kill himself.
“I want you to know that when Anthony called out, ‘Shots fired! Shots fired!’ you could hear the pain in his voice. He suffered. You should have to listen to that, his voice that night for the rest of your life,” Elder told Shipp.
Their brother’s killer will spend the rest of his life in prison, their days in court are over, but there’s one thing Anthony’s sisters left without: an answer to their most pressing question. “Why?” The both asked over and over.
Shipp didn’t speak before his sentencing, didn’t offer an explanation, didn’t acknowledge Anthony Rakes’ family in the courtroom. He just turned his back and left. Sheriff Jimmy Clements stood in the back of the courtroom with his deputies to honor Rakes and support his family.
“He was a great guy,” Sheriff Clements said. “He was the best. The best.”
On top of life in prison for the murder, Shipp was sentenced to 10 years for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.