Tampa Bay Times
Man charged in family slayings is found fit for trial
TAMPA — The man prosecutors have accused in the horrific slayings of his girlfriend and their young daughter and the attempted murder of his son has been deemed competent to stand trial.
Ronnie Oneal III spent six months undergoing treatment in a state hospital after doctors last fall concluded that he was mentally unfit for court. He returned to jail in May. Since then, three mental health experts have said in written reports that he is now competent.
Oneal stood in red jail scrubs beside his attorney in a Tampa courtroom Wednesday morning, answering politely as a judge asked him a series of questions about whether he had an opinion about the doctors’ reports.
“I’m fine with what they found,” Oneal said.
The exact nature of Oneal’s mental health condition was not discussed in court. In a previous court hearing, an attorney told the judge that Oneal is not currently prescribed any psychiatric medication.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, Oneal asked Circuit Judge Michelle Sisco if he could have an “immunity hearing.”
The judge explained that any legal requests would have to come from his attorney, who must have a good faith basis for such requests. “What if my attorney doesn’t want to adopt that motion?” Oneal asked.
The judge said they could discuss any such disagreements another time.
The next court date is set for July.
Oneal, 30, is accused in shooting, stabbing and bludgeoning deaths of Kenyatta Barron, 33, and 9-year-old Ron’Niveya Oneal before setting fire to their Riverview home on March 18, 2018. During the attack, Hillsborough sheriff ’s officials recorded two 911 calls, including one in which the caller said “I’ve just been attacked by some white demons.”
Deputies arrived and encountered Oneal outside. He shouted “Allah Akbar” as he was arrested, deputies said. Shortly thereafter, his 8-year-old son Ronnie Oneal IV, emerged from the home with severe burns, a collapsed lung, and intestines exposed.
“My dad shot my mom,” the boy told rescue personnel, according to an arrest report.
Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty.