TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The stage is set for an emotional day in Ronnie Oneal III’s double-murder trial. His 11-year-old son, who was stabbed during the attack, is set to testify against him.
Oneal is facing the death penalty for the 2018 murders of his girlfriend, 33-year-old Kenyatta Barron, and their severely disabled 9-year-old daughter Ron’Niveya Oneal. He is also accused of stabbing his son, Ronnie Oneal IV, and then setting their home on fire.
This week, Oneal is on trial for the crimes and insisting he act as his own attorney.
On Monday, during opening statements, Oneal screamed at jurors.
On Tuesday, he questioned Hillsborough County deputies, firefighters, and paramedics who responded to his home and found his girlfriend, Kenyatta Barron, dead in front of a neighbor’s home. The first responders were also there as Oneal’s son came out of his burning home, with massive stab wounds to his body. Several of the first responders became emotional as they described a chaotic crime scene and finding the young victims.
On Wednesday, the state called Oneal’s son as a key witness.
Assistant State Attorney Ron Gayle asked Oneal’s son what happened the night of the murders. The child told the court he remembers his mother and father arguing and then his father grabbed a shotgun and ran into his sister’s room.
The now 11-year-old stated he remembers his father shooting his mother. He then recalled seeing his mother stumble out of the house and his father run after her. The boy told the court he did not see his father beat his mother to death, but remembers his father coming back in and attacking his sister.
“He hit her in the back with an ax and then hit her in the head with an ax and I saw her eyes roll,” said Oneal’s son.
He then told the court how his father used gasoline and a match to set the house and his sister on fire and later tried setting him on fire.
When he had a chance to question his son, Oneal asked, “Did I hurt you that night?” The child answered, “yes.”
The boy’s father asked him, “How did I hurt you?” The child answered, “You stabbed me.”
During his cross-examination, Oneal tried to point out inconstant statements his son has given to detectives and attorneys since the night of the crime.
His son maintains he remembers his father shooting his mother, killing his sister and stabbing him.
Ronnie Oneal may begin to present his defense later this week. He told the court he plans to call nine witnesses.