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Riverview man accused of killing girlfriend, 9-year-old daughter found competent to stand trial

Ronnie O'Neal pleaded guilty to the charges in April 2018.
Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

RIVERVIEW, Fla. — A Hillsborough County man accused of killing his girlfriend and their daughter in 2018 was found competent to stand trial.

Ronnie O'Neal, 30, appeared before a judge Wednesday morning. He faces two charges of first-degree premeditated murder, a first-degree arson charge, a resisting an officer without violence charge and two charges of aggravated child abuse.

O'Neal also faces an attempted murder charge after allegedly nearly killing his son the same night.

His next status hearing is at 9 a.m. July 18, when a trial date could possibly be set.

O'Neal pleaded not guilty in April 2018, a month after the alleged attack. In May 2018, the State Attorney's Office said they would seek the death penalty. Five months later, O'Neal was found not competent to stand trial.

On May 10, 2019, the Department of Children and Families sent a letter to the judge saying, "the treatment staff are of the opinion that this resident is competent to proceed and no longer meets criteria for continued involuntary commitment." 

On March 18, 2018, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office got a 911 call from a woman who said she had been shot and was repeatedly pleading for help. Dispatchers said they could hear a man yelling "Allah Akbar" in the background of the call.

The woman apparently then says, "I'm so sorry Ronnie" and then dispatchers said they heard loud screaming coming from the same woman. Before the 911 call ends, the sheriff's office said the man can be heard saying "she killed me" and telling a neighbor "don't come inside, call 911 now."

About eight minutes after the first 911 call, another call came in. Dispatchers said a man states, "I've just been attacked by some white demons." The man then reportedly says, "Her name is Ke-Ke and she tried to kill me and I just killed her."

When deputies arrived at the home, they found a woman lying in the front yard. When they began rendering aid to the woman, deputies said it looked like a fire starting in the house next door. Deputies said O'Neal then walked out of the home's garage.

When O'Neal was put in the back of a deputy's car, he allegedly began stating "Allah Akbar."

When deputies were going into the home with the fire, deputies said a boy walked out with burns and multiple stab wounds. The boy said, "My father shot my mother," first responders said.

The boy was later identified as O'Neal's son.

Fire rescue crews searched the home and found a young girl with multiple stab wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene and later identified as O'Neal's daughter. The woman found in the front yard was also pronounced dead.

Deputies said O'Neal's clothes were covered in blood and he smelled of gasoline or another accelerant. O'Neal had a severe burn on his arm, a burned pant leg, lacerations on his hands and a blister on his index finger and thumb.

According to a medical examiner's report, O'Neal's girlfriend, Kenyatta Barron, died from blunt force trauma. The report said she had a shotgun wound in her arm and multiple skull fractures. Another medical examiner's report said O'Neal's daughter had a gunshot wound to her neck and multiple stab wounds.

O'Neal's son, who survived, had multiple stab wounds, a punctured lung and burns to 20 percent of his body, a medical examiner's report said.

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