• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Defense to seek change of venue for Exantus

Woodford Circuit Judge Rob Johnson informed an attorney representing an Indiana man accused of murdering a 6-year-old Versailles boy that he will issue a court order setting a framework to ensure that both the defense and prosecution are ready for a jury trial set to begin on Aug. 11. Ronald Exantus, 33, of Indianapolis, could face the death penalty if found guilty of murdering Logan Tipton in his family's Versailles home in December 2015. Exantus has also been charged with first-degree burglary, second-degree assault (two counts) and fourth-degree assault charges for allegedly causing non-life threatening injuries to two of Logan's siblings. The children's father scuffled with Exantus and got a kitchen knife away from him when police arrived, authorities stated. Defense attorney Bridgett Hofler informed Judge Johnson on Jan. 4 that the defense is working on a motion seeking a change of venue for the trial set to begin on Aug. 11. Johnson previously said that he will have another county ready as a backup venue for the trial if necessary. For now, the jury trial, which could last three to four weeks, will take place in Woodford Circuit Court. Bourbon and Scott counties are also in Johnson's 14th Judicial Circuit. Earlier, Hofler told Johnson that there are some discovery issues, which she hadn't spoken to prosecutors about yet. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Keith Eardley said he would discuss those issues with Hofler, and if any matters remain unresolved then they can bring them to the court's attention. Hofler told Johnson that the defense's expert will conduct a psychological examination of Exantus in mid-February. Following a competency hearing last Sept. 27, Johnson found Exantus competent to stand trial. A status hearing was scheduled on April 5, but unless there's a reason, Johnson said Exantus does not need to be in court that day.

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