• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Exantus pleads not guilty to murder of 6-year-old

A 32-year-old Indiana man accused of killing a six-year-old boy in his family’s Versailles home in December pleaded not guilty to murder, first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree assault and fourth-degree assault during his arraignment in Woodford Circuit Court on Jan. 6. According to an indictment returned by a Woodford County grand jury, Ronald Exantus unlawfully entered a home at 311 Douglas Avenue and then committed the offense of murder when he intentionally caused the death of Logan Tipton by stabbing him with a knife. The assault charges stem from Exantus allegedly causing physical injuries to Tipton’s father and his sisters, ages 10 and 7. After entering a not guilty plea on behalf of Exantus, public defender Bridget Hofler told Woodford Circuit Judge Rob Johnson that she had not yet received any discovery – information about the case, including statements and photos – from Commonwealth Attorney Gordie Shaw, which she said has “basically hamstrung our defense and our ability to work this case early on, which in a death penalty case makes all the difference, obviously.” Hofler asked the court to order Shaw to immediately turn over any available evidence so she can begin work on her client’s defense. “We certainly want to comply,” Shaw told Johnson. “We will get them something in an orderly fashion, but our main thing is to make sure that they have everything and nothing’s overlooked.” Shaw said he would prefer to inventory the prosecution’s evidence and then hand everything over to the defense in a comprehensive manner. Johnson asked Shaw and Hofler to schedule a time to meet within the next two weeks so the commonwealth can turn over whatever evidence it has, and then document what has or has not been turned over to the defense. Shaw previously filed his notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Exantus. With the notice of intent, Shaw said a jury also has the option of recommending life without parole or life without parole for 25 years. A judge cannot increase the penalty recommended by a jury, but can reduce a penalty, he said. Exantus remains lodged in the Woodford County Detention Center, with his bond set at $1 million. His next court appearance has been scheduled on March 2 at 9:30 in the Woodford district courtroom, which has better security than the county’s circuit courtroom.

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