Miami, United States: An eleven-year-old boy was allowed to confront the guy — his father, accused of shooting his girlfriend, murdering their daughter with an ax, and stabbing and setting fire to their son — in court.
“Did I hurt you the night of this incident?” Ronnie Oneal, who is defending himself, asked his 11-year-old during cross-examination.
“Yes,” replied Ronnie Jr, who was eight at the time of the March 2018 attack in Tampa, Florida.
“I did? And how did I hurt you?” the defendant, 32, followed up.
“You stabbed me,” his son replied.
The exchange took place after a court granted Oneal permission to lead his own defense after determining that he was mentally well and educated enough.
Oneal has attempted to depict himself as a victim of a plot since beginning his own defence on Monday.
“By the time it’s all said and done, you will see who is the mass murderers,” an animated Oneal yelled at the jury.
“This whole entire case has been tampered with and fabricated,” he went on. “My son did not witness me viciously beat his mom to death.”
His son, who testified from a faraway location via video link on Wednesday, told the jury that his father killed Kenyatta Barron and struck his sister Ron’niveya with an axe.
The highly rare courtroom showdown between father and son had begun with greetings that were all too familiar.
“How are you doing? Good to see you man,” the accused said to his alleged victim.
“Good to see you too,” replied the boy, who has since been adopted by one of the police officers who led the investigation.
The pleasantries ended there, as Oneal spent the next 20 minutes pointing out flaws in his son’s evidence, attempting to draw attention to discrepancies between his depositions and his court testimony.
He also forced his son to admit that he had not witnessed his mother’s death. The victim said that he saw his father brandish a shotgun at his screaming mother.
Under cross-examination by his father, the boy’s evidence was equally damaging.
His father “struck her with an axe in the back of the head, I watched her eyes roll,” he said of his sister’s death.
Even if the witnesses on the stand were victims of the alleged crime being tried, defendants in the United States are entitled to represent themselves and interrogate witnesses.
During his trial, a man who opened fire on a train in New York in 1993, killing six people, questioned the victims he injured.
Defendants are encouraged to seek private representation or accept the assistance of public defenders if this method fails.
Prosecutors claim that after shooting his girlfriend, Oneal beat her with the shotgun so hard that it broke.
He could face the death penalty if convicted.