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Exantus Trial: Defense Highlights Disorder Before 6-Year-Old's Slaying

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Many of the details in this story are disturbing.

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The defense began its second day in the trial of an Indianapolis man accused in the 2015 stabbing death of a 6-year-old Woodford County boy by painting a portrait of a troubled mind.

Rex Nottage, a former football coach, described suspect Ronald Exantus as a leader who could be moody. Nottage said Exantus was a linebacker and a team captain with a 3.0 GPA. But he also said Exantus would sometimes be blank-faced and like talking to a wall.

Eddie Ferguson, a pastor at the church Exantus attended the day before the Logan Tipton was slain with a butcher knife, told jurors Exantus was acting strangely, pacing back and forth, and speaking words passionately but "out of order."

Ferguson said Exantus did not appear to be intoxicated.

A former co-worker said Exantus was focused as a dialysis nurse, and described him as giddy and bubbly the week before the slaying, comparing it to the "Tom Cruise moment on the couch with Oprah."

Emotions ran high later in the morning when defense attorneys asked media not to take pictures of former co-workers giving Exantus a hug. Logan's family walked out of the courtroom, with is mother saying, "I would love to hug Logan."

On Tuesday, defense attorneys brought Exantus' former girlfriend to the stand.

Lauren Burgess said Exantus was impulsive and emotional in the week leading up Logan's slaying.

She said Exantus had proposed marriage to her out of the blue after attending church. She said they had smoked marijuana together and that Exantus had taken NyQuil to help him sleep but that it didn't work.

She said Exantus called her from jail, but often spoke in a different language. She said he blamed Burgess for making him "do this."

Prosecutors ended their case early Tuesday seeking a conviction against Exantus, who police and prosecutors say broke into the Tiptons' Versailles home and killed Logan with a butcher knife as he slept.

In testimony shown last week, Exantus told police just after the killing that he had gotten lost in Versailles and referenced TV shows in describing why he stopped near a family's home before allegedly breaking in and slaying the boy.

Defense attorneys have said Exantus suffers from mental illness and was psychotic when he killed the boy while prosecutors have tried to show he knew what he was doing.

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