• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Dad reacts to not guilty verdict for man who killed son

The father of a 6-year-old boy who was killed in their family’s Versailles home in December 2015 said a flawed judicial system has failed his family.

A Fayette County jury found Ronald Exantus not guilty of murder by reason of insanity in the stabbing death of Logan Tipton. “According to what they’re saying,” Dean Tipton told The Sun on Monday afternoon, “nobody murdered my son.” He said it’s hard to explain this outcome to his other children, who witnessed their brother’s murder and “know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he (Exantus) murdered my son and their brother, but the system is saying he’s innocent.”

Tipton described a jury’s finding on March 19 that Exantus was not guilty of murder by reason of insanity and guilty but mentally ill to three counts of assault as inconsistent. “That makes no sense and I don’t believe it’s possible,” he said.

“You come into my house … you attack one of my children (when) you’re mentally ill. You stab my son to death (when) you’re insane. You attack my daughter and me (when) you’re mentally ill.”

Exantus will face up to 20 years in prison after being found guilty but mentally ill on the assault charges. He faces no jail time in the murder of Logan Tipton because he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

“That’s not the way the (judicial) system’s supposed to work. That’s not the way it should be,” said Dean Tipton.

Tipton said his family now wants to be the voice of change so other families don’t have to go through an outcome like the not guilty verdict in his son’s murder. Laws need to change so they protect innocent victims like his 6-year-old son and not the criminals, he said.

“Our son was murdered,” Tipton said, “and right now nobody’s paying for it. Nobody’s paying for our son’s murder. How is that right?”

With all of the recent mass shootings, he said, “The human life has no value in anybody’s eyes no more. Well, my son has a lot of value to me.”

That’s why Tipton and his wife, Heather, are getting behind Logan’s Law, which he described as a helpless victim’s act to ensure justice for children, the elderly and anyone else who cannot defend themselves.

The Tipton family has invited people in the community to join them during a march down North Main Street to the Woodford County Courthouse onTuesday, April 24 at 9 a.m., to peacefully protest the jury’s not guilty verdict. Sentencing for Exantus is scheduled one hour later at 10 a.m.

People in Woodford County and others across the country are understandably upset with the jury’s verdict, according to Dean Tipton.

“How can you not be upset? The verdict is so inconsistent. I don’t think the jury understood what they were doing … In my opinion, I think they were afraid to give somebody the death penalty,” he said.

If the jury would have found Exantus guilty of murder, but mentally ill at the time of his son’s death, the death penalty would’ve been taken off the table, he added.

“Without the community, without the support of these people I don’t know how we would’ve made it these last two-and-a-half years,” said Tipton. He said having to wait more than two years for this jury trial was “absolutely ridiculous.”

“…You have to go back up in front of these courts and relive what happened to your loved one over and over and over and over again … You can’t start healing until … you don’t have to go back to court (and) you don’t have to look at that person who committed this crime against your family any more.”

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