Man’s Trial Delayed for 2019 Beating Death of 5-Year-Old Boy

Emilio Renova, 32, faces additional charges

By Associated Press

GREAT FALLS — A Great Falls man’s trial for the November 2019 beating death of his 5-year-old son has been delayed and he faces additional charges, Cascade County prosecutors said Monday.

Emilio Renova, 32, was initially charged with deliberate homicide, assault on a minor and two child endangerment charges in the death of Antonio “Tony” Renova.

Emilio Renova’s trial had been scheduled to start on Aug. 16 in Polson, but the state requested a continuance due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Lake County along with disruption from a wildfire in the area that led to evacuations, the Great Falls Tribune reported.

District Court Judge Elizabeth Best rescheduled Renova’s trial for March 4. Renova has waived his right to a speedy trial.

Renova faces two additional assault charges based on cellphone video provided by the boy’s mother, Stephanie Grace Byington.

Byington pleaded guilty to accountability to deliberate homicide and felony child endangerment on July 1 and has agreed to testify against Renova. She has not been sentenced.

Another man, Rasco James Birdtail, pleaded guilty to assault on a minor by accountability and tampering with evidence for his role in the boy’s death. According to court testimony, there was no physical evidence that Birdtail directly harmed the boy, although he admitted encouraging Renova during the beating.

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