Murder Suspect Grills His Own Young Son in Court

'You stabbed me,' 11-year-old tells dad acting as his own lawyer and cross-examining the boy
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2021 9:12 AM CDT
Murder Suspect Grills His Own Young Son in Court
Ronnie Oneal III gives his opening statement during his murder trial at the George Edgecomb Courthouse on Monday in Tampa, Fla.   (Arielle Bader/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

An 11-year-old witness to the murder of his mom and older sister testified this week in the trial of the first-degree murder suspect, who's also accused of stabbing the boy, dousing him in gasoline, and setting him, and the boy's home, on fire. The suspect, Ronnie Oneal III, also happens to be the boy's father, and on Wednesday the two faced off during the boy's wrenching 20-minute testimony to jurors, reports FOX 13. Investigators say Oneal, 32, shot his girlfriend, 33-year-old Kenyatta Baron, before beating her to death, then used a hatchet to kill their 9-year-old daughter, Ron'Niveya, who had autism and trouble walking. Oneal is claiming he acted in self-defense after Baron attacked the children. "I just saw my dad holding a shotgun and my mom, like, screaming at him," the boy, also named Ronnie, recalled of the double murder that took place on March 18, 2018, at their residence in Riverview, Fla., a community just outside of Tampa, per the Washington Post.

"My mom ran to my sister's room and into the closet," the boy went on, per FOX 13. "Then, like, my dad said, 'Come in here, come kill this b-word." The boy said he then heard a shotgun blast. He also said he saw his father kill his sister—"there was blood everywhere"—and that his dad then went to set him on fire. Oneal, who's acting as his own attorney in the case, cross-examined his son. "It's good to see you, man," he told the boy, who replied, "It's good to see you, too." That was as positive as their interaction got, however, as Oneal then asked the boy, "Did I hurt you [the] night of this incident?" "Yes," was the boy's answer. "How did I hurt you?" Oneal followed up. "You stabbed me," the boy replied. If Oneal, who shouted at jurors in his opening statement, is convicted, he could see the death penalty, per the Tampa Bay Times. Little Ronnie, who suffered severe burns and a stomach wound the night of the crime, has since been adopted by one of the detectives in the case. (More murder suspect stories.)

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