Man pleads no contest to homicide in child’s beating death

February 8, 2022 GMT

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — A Great Falls man pleaded no contest Tuesday to deliberate homicide in the beating death of his 5-year-old son in November 2019, Cascade County prosecutors said.

County Attorney Josh Racki reached a plea agreement with Emilio Renova, 32, in the death of Antonio “Tony” Renova.

District Court Judge Elizabeth Best heard the plea and is scheduled to sentence Renova on April 29.

As part of the agreement, prosecutors will not make any sentencing recommendations and will ask Best to dismiss charges of assault on a minor, child endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child, Racki said.

Tony Renova’s mother, Stephanie Byington, pleaded guilty last July to accountability to deliberate homicide and felony child endangerment in the boy’s death.

She also faces sentencing on April 29, Rackie said. Renova and Byington remain in custody in the Cascade County jail.

Tony Renova, who is Native American, had been living with a white foster family since shortly after he was born. He was returned to his biological parents in early 2019, officials have said.