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Suspect pleads guilty in connection with the death of Antonio "Tony" Renova

Antonio “Tony” Renova
Emelio Renova, Stephanie Byington, Racso Birdtail
Posted at 5:24 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 19:24:58-05

GREAT FALLS — Racso Birdtail, one of three people charged in the death of 5-year old Antonio "Tony" Renova in Great Falls in November 2019, pleaded guilty earlier this month to charges of assault on a minor by accountability and tampering with evidence.

Tony died while in the custody of his parents, Emilio Renova and Stephanie Byington; they are still awaiting trial.

Birdtail was originally charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence. Cascade County Attorney Josh Racki told MTN News that the deliberate homicide charge was dropped because the new charge better fits Birdtail's involvement in the crime. Click here to read the plea agreement (PDF).

Racki said Birdtail will likely be sentenced after the other two suspects, Renova's parents, go to trial later this year.

As of Tuesday, Birdtail remained jailed in Cascade County. The judge reduced Birdtail's bail from $10,000 to "own recognizance," with the stipulation that he wear a GPS device.