TAMPA, Fla. (WFTS) — Even as Ronnie Oneal faced the final judgment for murdering his ex-girlfriend, Kenyatta Barron, and daughter, Ron’Niveya — crimes that captivated people across the country — he offered up no sorrow.
“I am not sorry for something I didn’t do, and I’m not sorry for the things I did do,” he said, as he yelled towards family members in the courtroom.
His words came as no surprise to Kenyatta’s family.
“It’s the same reaction he’s always had in life, it’s the same reaction that caused him to commit these murders. You guys just got to see it for yourself,” said Daisatta Barron, Kenyatta’s younger sister.
She and other family members took the stand and were able to speak from their hearts. They told Oneal what they’ve waited three years to say.
“When you sit in that cell for the rest of your life, remember you don’t leave out until you’re in a box, so when you sit in a cell every day, 24 hours a day, that scream… I want you to hear it,” she said, referring to the 911 call where Kenyatta was screaming for her life. “When she comes to you in your dreams, I want you to receive it.”
The judge also shared her thoughts. She told Oneal this was the worst case she’s ever witnessed and will live with the facts and evidence she saw for the rest of her life. She recalled a moment in the trial when a firefighter testified about finding Ron’Niveya’s body and laying her out on the front lawn realizing she was no longer alive.
“When he said he retrieved the body of Ron’Niveya Oneal from the home, and all he could do was sob, it took every ounce I had to not start sobbing too,” Judge Michelle Sisco said. “Because there is no way any person with any feeling could have witnessed or seen the photos of what occurred that night and not be haunted for the rest of your life. I know I will be, for the rest of my life, I will be haunted by what I saw as far as the evidence and the abject cruelty of it all.”
She got especially emotional as she spoke about Ron’Niveya and what he did to her.
“The first time you struck her with that hatchet, and little Ronnie testified that all he could see was tears coming out of his sisters face, at that moment that child knew she knew she was being betrayed in the cruelest and most tragic and sorrowful way that a child could be betrayed,” she said. “She was being betrayed by her parent, the one person that should be there to protect their children and love them and keep them from harm.”
Oneal will spend the rest of his life in a jail cell without the chance of parole. Kenyatta’s family feels it’s a win even if he wasn’t sentenced to death.
Afterward, they shared videos of Kenyatta, who they call Keke, and Ron’Niveya or Nivey, for the first time.
“Love yourself, I mean love yourself,” Kenyatta said in a video she posted online. “If somebody ever tells you you can not do something, stay away from that person, because there’s so many negative people in this world that try to make you be something you’re not. Make you be something they want you to be.”
They say Keke was a loving mother who went above and beyond for her children. They shared a video of Nivey and little Ronnie swimming in a pool, where you can hear Keke cheer her on as she splashes around.
Her mother Carrie is heartbroken and riddled with sadness. She said she doesn’t sleep much at night and relies on memories to get her by.
“My family is my life. I breathe from my family. So, now you’ve got me gasping for air because you took my children from me,” she said.
Next week, they will celebrate Ron’Niveya’s birthday at the gravesite, just as they do every year. She would have been 13 years old.
This story was originally published July 23, 2021, by WFTS in Tampa Bay.