Family of paraplegic man "stomped" wants answers

LITTLE ROCK - The brother of a Robert Hepp, a paraplegic man "stomped" by a woman earlier this month, is questioning the findings of a medical examiner who ruled Hepp died of natural causes.

Robert Hepp reported being beaten up to 18 times on Wednesday, December 5 by a woman, 32-year-old Katie Forte. Forte allegedly knocked him out of his wheelchair and continued to pummel him in his torso and below. The incident was apparently over an argument and was reported to police Saturday, December 8.

"In my opinion she killed him that Wednesday," said Robert Hepp's brother, Richard. "He just didn't die until 7-8 days later."

Richard Hepp remembers his brother younger brother as an optimist until the day he died.

"I couldn't have handled it as well as he did," he said. "[Robert] was always upbeat and we were joking."

Hepp died Sunday in hospice care.

The home owner at 18 Bay Street, the residence where the incident occurred, told KATV last week Forte acted in self-defense.

Hepp's family still wonders why there have been no arrests and how the medical examiner could determine Hepp died of only natural causes.

"There's just no way that could be true," said Richard Hepp. "It created a blood clot in his legs and gangrene kicked in and they couldn't do anything about it."

The state Crime Lab couldn't comment on Hepp's case specifically. However, causes of death are rarely overturned.

Still, Richard Hepp is a man who wants justice and is trying to stay as optimistic as his late brother.

"Everybody loved him and he will be missed and I'll never forget him," he said.

If charges are filed, it will be up to the county prosecutor to make that decision. No time table has been provided by LRPD on when the paperwork will be sent to his desk.

In the meantime, the family will be reaching out to the crime lab to find out more details.