Winnsboro man, 67, convicted of beating 86-year-old with cane

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram Crime Reporter

Jan. 18, 2007 - A 67-year-old Winnsboro man was sentenced to 10 years of probation this week after being convicted of beating a man more than 20 years his senior with a walking cane, but the motive for the attack is unknown.

Robert Dale Reppond, 67, of Winnsboro was tried and convicted Tuesday for beating the 86-year-old man with his wooden walking cane. The incident occurred while the victim was reportedly checking on the welfare of the Reppond's mother-in-law, who had fallen in the home she lives in alone next door to Reppond.

Why the man was beaten is still unclear, according to Steven Lilley, assistant district attorney for the 8th Judicial District and the prosecutor in the case.

“We're not sure why he hit him, or why or how she had fallen,” Lilley, who said the 94-year-old woman lived alone. “The suspect came to the property as [the victim] was trying to rouse her. Apparently, the jury believed the defendant lost his temper and used his cane as a weapon.”

The sequence of events that led to the trial began Oct. 10, 2006, when the beating victim reportedly was notified after Reppond's 84-year-old mother-in-law activated a medical alert device signaling she needed help. The system was set up so that the victim, as well as the 86-year-old man's wife, were notified when the alert sounded.

The victim went down the road to the home, where Reppond's mother-in-law appeared to have fallen. While he attempted to offer the older woman assistance, Reppond apparently walked over to the residence and began striking the 86-year-old victim with his wooden walking cane.

The man was struck five times on the head before he could get away, driving himself to the Winnsboro Police Department. Officers, seeing the victim's face caked in blood and scrapes on his upper arms, called for an ambulance.

He was taken to Presbyterian Hospital for treatment of head wounds, according to Lilley, who said five staples were needed to close his injuries.

A CAT scan showed no permanent injuries, and the victim “healed pretty well," said the assistant district attorney.

The Hopkins County jury issued a three-year sentence but recommended probation for Reppond, who had no prior criminal history. The judge upheld the recommendation, and sentenced Reppond to 10 years on probation. He was also ordered to pay $3,100 in restitution and a $2,400 fine.

“This was a case in which we anticipated the verdict of probation," Lilley said. "The family was satisfied with that. They said they were happy he [Reppond] had faced justice."

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