Competency hearing set for accused murderer
An Indiana man accused of killing a 6-year-old Versailles boy will return to Woodford Circuit Court on Monday, Aug. 8, at 9 a.m. for a competency hearing. Woodford Circuit Judge Rob Johnson scheduled the hearing for Ronald Exantus, who was charged with murder, first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree assault and fourth-degree assault after he allegedly entered the Versailles home of 6-year-old Logan Tipton last Dec. 7 just before 4 a.m. Logan was stabbed to death in his bedroom. Two of his siblings suffered non-life threatening lacerations. And his father, Dean Tipton, scuffled with Exantus and got a kitchen knife away from the 32-year-old Indiana man before police officers arrived, according to authorities. A competency hearing was scheduled after Woodford Circuit Court received a psychological evaluation report for Exantus from the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center prior to its regular rule day on June 1. Because expert witnesses for the prosecution and defense are expected to testify during the competency hearing, Johnson agreed to set aside an additional day (Aug. 9) to continue the hearing if necessary. Depending on what happens at the competency hearing in August, Johnson will set the next court appearance for Exantus. Competence has been defined by the courts as a defendant's ability to understand the charges against him and to consult rationally with his attorney to aid in his defense if a case goes to trial. Public defender Bridgett Hofler has told media outlets that Exantus had a psychological break and doesn't remember stabbing Logan Tipton. In a statement to reporters on June 1, Heather Tipton said, "Ronald Exantus murdered our beloved boy randomly in cold blood and for his own disgusting reasons. We do not believe he is insane and we will be waiting patiently for the evidence to prove this in his inevitable trial." Commonwealth's Attorney Gordie Shaw filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Exantus last December. The case was eligible for the death penalty because of the murder and first-degree burglary charges, according to Shaw. "And obviously," he added, "the circumstances (of this case) justify us giving notice that we're seeking death as option." During the interview last December, Shaw said a jury would also have 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.