Trial underway for man accused of killing 6-year-old boy
The jury trial of an Indiana man accused of killing a 6-year-old boy in his family’s Versailles home began Monday in Lexington, and will likely continue for two more weeks.
Ronald Exantus faces the death penalty for allegedly murdering Logan Tipton, a Simmons Elementary School kindergartner, in December 2015.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Keith Eardley argued in his opening statement that Exantus took a synthetic drug that caused a psychosis and urged the jury to find Exantus guilty of murder.
Public Defender Bridget Hofler argued that mental illness and not a drug led to Logan’s death. “The Commonwealth is looking for a drug that is not there,” she told jurors.
Hofler asked them to find Exantus, who could face the death penalty, not guilty by reason of insanity.
“Ron,” she told jurors, “has a mental illness. It is his mental illness that made him drive from Indianapolis, Indiana to Versailles, Kentucky on his way to Florida; enter the Tipton home and kill Logan Tipton.”
During an emotional day of testimony on Monday, Eardley recounted the night of Logan Tipton’s murder and what 11-year-old Koral Tipton experienced that night in her home.
“She’s suddenly awoken by the sound of her little brother, Logan, screaming,” he told jurors. “She opens her eyes and what does she see?
She sees a man standing over her brother with a butcher knife…”
During her testimony, Koral Tipton said, “I wake up hearing Logan crying and see a big shadow over him.” Asked what the man was doing, she testified, “He was stabbing Logan in the head.”
The prosecution also played a recording of the 911 call made by Logan’s older sister telling a police dispatcher that a robber had entered her room with a knife and that her dad, Dean Tipton, was upstairs fighting with the intruder.
Tipton told a jury that he was not aware of his son’s injuries when he struggled with Exantus and was able to subdue him until police arrived. “I hustle up to the top of the stairs and when I get there he’s standing there. And he’s coming down with a knife to try to stab me with the knife,” Tipton testified.
He later found his injured son. “It wasn’t 10 seconds later, he just … closed his eyes and that was it,” said Tipton pausing as tears filled his eyes. “He died in my arms.”
“Everything changed that night,” said Eardley in his opening statement. “It changed for the Tipton family. Their lives will never be the same. And it changed for Versailles. Versailles will never be the same.”
In arguing that Exantus’s mental illness was in full control of his actions when he drove to Versailles on Dec. 7, 2015, Hofler said, “It took several officers and two taser hits to subdue Ron Exantus in his manic, psychotic state.”
On Tuesday, the prosecution continued its case by calling police officers to testify and also playing a recording of an initial police interview with Exantus. He told officers he saw “Grey’s Anatomy” and stabbed a child because he wanted to do surgery.
Also during the interview, Exantus told police that he took anti-depressants and when asked who he had come to visit in Versailles, he said, “No one.”
Before going to trial, Commonwealth’s Attorney Gordie Shaw filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Exantus, an Indianapolis nurse. He has pleaded not guilty to murder, first-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree assault and fourth-degree assault.