How adoptive family of Riverview boy stabbed, set on fire helped prepare him to testify against father at double murder trial

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The double murder trial of Ronnie Oneal III grabbed the attention of people across the Tampa Bay area and the nation, and also caused great concern for Oneal’s son, who had been stabbed and set on fire by his father the night Oneal killed his girlfriend and daughter.

One of the most heart-wrenching days of the trial came when young Ronnie testified against his father. In one heart-wrenching moment, Oneal, who was acting as his own attorney, asked his son “how did I hurt you?”

“You stabbed me,” his son softly replied.

Oneal was ultimately convicted of the murders of his girlfriend Kenyatta Barron and their daughter Ron’niveya, as well as the attempted murder of young Ronnie. He is now serving a life sentence in prison.

During and after the trial, many people expressed concern for the psychological well-being of Oneal’s son.

Young Ronnie is now 12 and has been adopted by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Mike Blair and his wife Danyel.

Blair, who was a detective with the sheriff’s office in March 2018, responded to the scene of the double murder that little Ronnie survived in Riverview. He first met little Ronnie in the hospital as the boy recovered from his stab and burn wounds.

The two eventually formed a bond, and now, Ronnie has been accepted into the Blair home.

The Blairs say preparing for this year’s trial was not easy. The family turned to professional mental health experts for support.

“At the trial, the way that he was able to tell his memory of that night so cool, calm and collected is because he had a team of trauma professionals that helped him,” Danyel Blair explained.

For little Ronnie, he was focused on one thing at the trial.

“I was like, kind of nervous, but I was just going to go out there and tell the truth and tell everyone what happened,” he said.

The mental health help for Ronnie did not stop with the trial.

“We’d have a therapist, a counselor in our home when he was still in foster care, they would come to our house,” Danyel Blair said.

But now their attention has turned to the future.

“All our goal was ever to do was to give Ronnie the opportunity to excel in whatever he wanted to,” Corporal Blair said. “To let him be completely safe to make sure that he knew he was loved.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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