Ky. Supreme Court hears arguments in case of former nurse convicted of fatally stabbing 6-year-old

Posted at 4:00 PM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 20:06:50-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Ronald Exantus, a former nurse, acquitted in the brutal stabbing murder of a Versailles child, has his case before the Kentucky Supreme Court. At issue is whether the inconsistent verdict in his case, can be overturned.

Exantus was found not guilty of murder and burglary by reason of insanity, and guilty of assault but mentally ill for attacking Logan Tipton's family in December 2015. The Versailles 6-year-old was asleep in his home with four siblings when police say the Indianapolis nurse slipped into the home, stabbed the child to death and attacked the child's father and sisters who tried to protect him.

On Friday Exantus' attorney argued he should not be convicted of anything because he was in a state of psychosis before, during, and after the attacks.

"There was no motive, no premeditation, planning simply no evidence of consciousness of guilt," said Karen Shuff Maurer who pointed out Exantus "went somewhere he had never been to, went to a house he'd never been to before and attacked people he had never known."

Before the justices, she said Exantus believed he was performing surgery on the child.

"Ron entered the home grabbed a bunch of kitchen utensils, a butcher knife, and a butter knife and proceeded to go perform surgery," stated Shuff Maurer.

Supreme Court Justice Michelle M. Keller questioned the attorney's argument.

"He was a nurse, wasn't he? So he kind of knew how surgery was performed, that's what you're saying was his delusion. Was he doing the precise kind of cuts and approach that a surgeon would do or was he violently stabbing him in the head?" said Judge Keller.

Exantus' attorney answered that evidence would support he believed he was doing surgery, but acknowledged the autopsy showed there were stab wounds to the child's head and neck.

At trial, prosecutors told the jury Exantus' psychosis was brought on by synthetic drug use.

Attorneys for the state said an inconsistent verdict is logical considering Exantus appeared lucid when talking to police after the attack.

It could be months before the Supreme Court makes a decision on the inconsistent verdict and whether it was a violation of Exantus' constitutional rights.