Crime

Jury wants nurse to serve 20 years in prison, but not for killing 6-year-old

'Please pray for my kids' who saw their brother murdered

Logan Tipton's mother, Heather Pujol Tipton, spoke March 20 after a jury recommended a 20-year sentence for admitted killer Ronald Exantus who was convicted in the assaults of Logan's family but found not guilty by reason of insanity in boy's death.
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Logan Tipton's mother, Heather Pujol Tipton, spoke March 20 after a jury recommended a 20-year sentence for admitted killer Ronald Exantus who was convicted in the assaults of Logan's family but found not guilty by reason of insanity in boy's death.

A jury recommended Tuesday that Ronald Exantus serve 20 years in prison for assaulting the sisters and father of 6-year-old Logan Tipton, who was stabbed to death in his bed.

Late Monday, the Lexington jury found Exantus not guilty by reason of insanity for the 2015 death of the Versailles kindergartner in the same attack that injured his relatives. On the other hand, the jury found Exantus guilty but mentally ill on the assaults.

“It’s an inconsistent verdict,” said Woodford County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Keith Eardley. “I don’t think it makes legal or logical sense. I’m very disappointed.”

Public defender Bridget Hofler, one of three attorneys on the Exantus defense team, said “The jury returned the only verdict it could under the law. But there is no victory here for anybody. The Tiptons are devastated and we feel for them.”

With the 20-year sentence, Exantus will be eligible for parole before Christmas next year, but that doesn’t mean he would get it.

In front of the jury, Logan’s mother, Heather Pujol Tipton, expressed her frustration with the inconsistent verdicts during the penalty phase of the trial on Tuesday. She said her children “were heartbroken and confused” by the jury’s decision. Her daughter Dakota, who suffered a stab wound to her back in the attack, couldn’t understand it.

“Dakota said, ‘Mommy, if he stabbed me first and then he killed Logan, how is he guilty of stabbing me but he is not guilty of killing Logan? This is coming from a 9-year-old,” Heather Tipton said.

“We have been failed. Justice has not been served for Logan,” she added.

Heather Tipton said she will work to see that victim’s rights are better served in the future.

Meanwhile, at some point a court hearing will be held to commit Exantus to a treatment facility but that probably will not happen until after he serves his prison sentences in the assault convictions, Eardley said.

Exantus, 34, a dialysis nurse, drove from Indianapolis to Versailles, a place he’d never been, entered the unlocked Tipton household before dawn, and stabbed Logan in the head while the boy was in bed on Dec. 7, 2015.

Had he been found guilty of murder, he could have faced the death penalty.

Special Judge Phil Patton will impose sentence April 24 in Versailles. The judge warned that no one was to contact the jurors, although he said jurors can volunteer to talk about the case.

Versailles police detective Keith Ford questioned Ronald Exantus after he stabbed Logan Tipton to death Dec. 7, 2015. The footage was shown Tuesday to jurors at the Exantus trial in Fayette County Circuit Court.

Police body camera footage from one of the officers who responded to the stabbing of Logan Tipton in 2015 was played for the jury Monday as testimony started in the murder trial of Ronald Exantus. This edited footage shows an officer meeting the a

Keith Eardley, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney, played a 911 recording Monday during the murder trial of Ronald Exantus in Fayette County Circuit Court. Koral Tipton, 11, reported a man broke into her family's home. Her 6-year-old brother, Logan

Opening arguments Monday in the murder trial of Ronald Exantus detailed the last moments of Logan Tipton's life and sought to explain what led Exantus to a Versailles house where he knew no one. Prosecutor Keith Eardley described the case against

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