Acting as his own lawyer, a double-murder defendant opened his death penalty trial by shouting at jurors that he did not attack his girlfriend and disabled daughter.
A Florida man accused of murdering his girlfriend and disabled daughter chose to represent himself in court on Wednesday (June 16). Ronnie Oneal III, the double murder suspect, is accused of shooting and stabbing his girlfriend Kenyatta Barron and killing their 9-year-old daughter Ron’Niveya, who suffered from cerebral palsy, with a hatchet in March of 2018.
On Wednesday, a video of Oneal yelling his argument at the jury was posted on TikTok. The man was cross-examining his young son, who was also stabbed during the 2018 incident but survived. Oneal paced back and forth in the courtroom while questioning his now 11-year-old son Ronnie, who appeared via Zoom.
“I look alone. But I am backed by a mighty God,” Oneal said to the jury. “The evidence is going to show that I love my children… The evidence will not show you that my son witnessed me beat his mom to death, nor did he witness me shoot his mom. In fact, he didn’t witness much at all.”
Oneal claims he is the victim of “some of the most vicious, lying, fabricating, fictitious government you ever seen” and alleges that Barron attacked the children that night and that he stabbed her in self-defense.
“The evidence is going to show that law enforcement tampered with evidence to meet their high burden of proof,” he continued. “Because originally it wasn’t enough. So we had to tamper with evidence. Since it was such evidence already but we still had to tamper with evidence.”
He added, “The state cannot prove that I premeditatedly murdered anyone. When time is all said and done, you will see who is the mass murderers in Tampa Bay.”
During the cross-examination, Oneal asked his son, “Did I hurt you that night?” The boy replied, “Yes” and said, “You stabbed me.”
Police say Oneal shot Barron multiple times and then stabbed her to death when she tried to escape. After the attacks, prosecutors say the man set fire to the home, but his son was able to run outside and talk to police.
“The first words that came out of this brave boy’s mouth [were]: ‘My daddy killed my mommy,’” Assistant State Attorney Scott Harmon said on Wednesday.
Ronnie was hospitalized for his severe stab wounds and was later adopted by one of the detectives on the case, Fox News reports.
A judge deemed Oneal fit to stand trial and he reportedly chose to represent himself two weeks ago. Many social media users reacted to his yelling at the jury, with Ice-T commenting, “When you’ve watched TOOOO much Law & Order and think you can defend yourself… Not a Great idea… Just sayin.”
When you’ve watched TOOOO much Law & Order and think you can defend yourself.. Not a Great idea.. Just sayin.? pic.twitter.com/Ve6SZkp6th
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) June 17, 2021
The trial is expected to last through the end of next week. Oneal could get the death penalty if convicted.