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Ronald Dwight Tipton

Judge won't drop charges against second man accused in 1987 rape of 8-year-old Billings girl

Attorneys with the Montana Attorney General's Office now have until Jan. 12 to answer Ronald Dwight Tipton's request that the Supreme Court dismiss rape charges against him. The attorneys had previously requested an extension giving them until Jan. 5. 

Tipton was charged in November 2015 with three counts of sexual intercourse without consent and was identified by DNA evidence as a new suspect in a child rape case from 1987.

The child, 8 years old at the time, was raped multiple times one night in her bedroom at her family home. 

Jimmy Ray Bromgard was convicted in the case in 1987 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. DNA testing exonerated him in 2002, after he had served 15 years.

Tipton was originally scheduled for trial in Yellowstone County District Court on Dec. 11 but petitioned the state Supreme Court to dismiss the charges.

He argued that the statute of limitations protected him from facing the charges so many years after the event, and that the judge, Mary Jane Knisely, violated state laws and clauses in the U.S. and state constitutions in her ruling. 

Knisely had found that a state DNA law, passed in 2007, was intended to apply retroactively in order to prosecute cold cases, and that failing to apply the state law retroactively would be a “manifest injustice.”

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