NewsCrime and Courts


Renova pleads no contest to killing his five-year old son

Antonio “Tony” Renova
Emilio Renova and Stephanie Byington
Posted at 2:37 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 21:30:42-05

GREAT FALLS — Emilio Renova on Tuesday pleaded no contest in Great Falls to a charge of deliberate homicide for killing five-year old Antonio "Tony" Renova.

Renova was charged for the November 2019 death of his son; Tony's mother Stephanie Byington was also charged for his death.

Prosecutors have agreed not to make a sentencing recommendation and will leave the sentencing of Renova up to the judge.

Sentencing for Renova is scheduled for April 29, 2022.

(NOVEMBER 21, 2019) The Great Falls Police Department says that just after 9 a.m. on Wednesday, emergency dispatchers received a 911 call requested medical assistance at a residence on the 1200 block of 9th Street NW. Emergency responders administered first aid to the child, but the child was already dead.

Court documents allege that the "occupants of the apartment were not in distress when officers arrived, and the father was not reacting as officers would have expected for such a traumatic event." Officers allegedly found the five-year old boy bleeding from his mouth and nose, and saw blood and what appeared to be brain matter on his clothing and on the floor around his body. The court documents state that the child was covered in bruises, and one of his legs appeared "to be abnormal and possibly broken." The child had an "obvious gash" on his head the size of a silver dollar.

Emelio Renova, Stephanie Byington, Racso Birdtail
Emelio Renova, Stephanie Byington, Racso Birdtail

The court documents state that the child, named Antonio, had been taken to the emergency department at Benefis Health System in June for bruising on his face and was described as "having sad eyes." Child-welfare workers were called to the hospital, but the child had already departed, presumably with his parents, and CPS workers were not able to find the family. Hospital staff reported that the child's two younger siblings were extremely "unclean," and noted that both had rotten teeth. The two siblings have been placed in the care of the Department of Family Services.

Renova and Byington are both charged with deliberate homicide, criminal child endangerment, and assault on a minor. Birdtail is charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence. All three are currently being held in the Cascade County Detention Center on $500,000 bond each.

According to the Montana Department of Corrections, Renova has felony convictions in Yellowstone County for aggravated assault, and robbery; Byington has felony convictions in Yellowstone County for endangering the welfare of a child, and criminal possession of dangerous drugs.