• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Mental evaluation of Exantus pending

An Indiana man accused of murdering a 6-year-old boy in his family's Versailles home will be back in Woodford Circuit Court for a status hearing on June 1 at 9:30 a.m. During Criminal Court Rule Day last Wednesday, Woodford Circuit Judge Rob Johnson agreed to continue the case against Ronald Exantus for one month while awaiting results of a psychological evaluation of the accused. When that Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center report is provided to the defense and prosecution, Commonwealth's Attorney Gordie Shaw and public defender Bridgett Hofler will see if they need to schedule a hearing to discuss the mental competency of Exantus, Johnson said. Shaw filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Exantus last December. According to an indictment returned by a Woodford County grand jury, the 32-year-old Indiana man allegedly entered a home at 311 Douglas Avenue and then committed murder when he intentionally caused the death of Logan Tipton by stabbing him with a knife. Exantus has also been charged with first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree assault and fourth-degree assault (misdemeanor). He pleaded not guilty to all charges during his arraignment in January. According to Versailles police, Exantus entered the Tipton family home a little before 4 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 7. Logan Tipton was stabbed to death in his bedroom. Two of his siblings suffered non-life threatening lacerations. And Logan's father, Dean Tipton, scuffled with Exantus and got a kitchen knife away from him before police officers arrived, authorities said. Before re-docketing the Exantus case for a status hearing on June 1, Johnson told prosecution and defense attorneys last Wednesday, "I really don't want this case to continue to linger." But during an interview in April, Hofler told The Sun "this (case) is nowhere near ready for trial. It takes two or three years to get these (death penalty cases) ready for trial." Heather Tipton told The Sun in March that she plans on being in the courtroom whenever Exantus appears in court because "I want him to have to look at the mother of the son that he murdered. Every time he walks into that courtroom I want him to have to look at me." During an interview last December, Shaw said his office was handling at least 10 homicide cases in Bourbon, Scott and Woodford counties and described those homicides as "huge tragedies to the families and to the communities where the people (who were killed) come from." Asked if she will seek to move the Exantus trial out of Woodford County, Hofler said, "It's always a possibility in a capital case." Exantus remains lodged in the Woodford County Detention Center, with his bond set at $1 million.

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