Crime

Defense asks for more psych data on man in killing of Versailles boy

Ronald Exantus was escorted into Woodford Circuit Court on Wednesday for a status conference on his case. He is accused of killing Logan James Dean Tipton, 6, of Versailles.
Ronald Exantus was escorted into Woodford Circuit Court on Wednesday for a status conference on his case. He is accused of killing Logan James Dean Tipton, 6, of Versailles. gkocher1@herald-leader.com

A defense attorney for the man accused of killing a 6-year-old boy wants more information from the defendant’s psychiatric evaluation before a Sept. 27 hearing to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

Ronald Exantus, 32, appeared Wednesday in Woodford Circuit Court as Judge Rob Johnson heard a motion for the additional information. Exantus has pleaded not guilty to the December death of Logan James Dean Tipton, who was stabbed as he slept in his family’s home in Versailles. Exantus also is charged with first-degree burglary, two counts of second-degree assault and one count of fourth-degree assault.

The prosecution intends to seek the death penalty. There has been no public explanation why Exantus, a nurse from Indianapolis, came to Versailles, broke into the Tipton house and stabbed the boy with a knife from the kitchen.

Earlier this year, the defense received a mental competency report from the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in La Grange. On Tuesday, defense attorney Kim Green asked for additional notes and reports of people who interviewed Exantus while he was at the psychiatric center.

“We don’t know exactly who was involved with the evaluation aside from the main doc,” Green said.

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Keith Eardley said he is awaiting a response from the psychiatric center about the defense request. “I’ve never seen a motion for discovery quite like this, asking for material like this from KCPC,” Eardley said.

Judge Johnson gave Eardley until Aug. 12 to respond to the defense motion. The defense will have a week after that to respond. The judge will rule on whether the defense gets the additional information at a later, unspecified date.

Eardley asked Johnson to set a trial date. Green said she didn’t have co-counsel Bridget Hofler’s calendar with her to check for conflicting dates.

“How convenient is that?” said Heather Pujol-Tipton, Logan’s mother, as she sat in the courtroom gallery.

Green said afterward that she didn’t want to commit to a date when she didn’t know Hofler’s schedule.

“We hadn’t anticipated that we would be setting a trial date today,” Green said. “We will make sure we will have everybody’s schedules at the next court appearance. I didn’t want to set a date that she (Hofler) wouldn’t be able to do and then create chaos over that.”

In any case, Johnson did not schedule a trial date.

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