TAMPA, Fla. — The penalty phase in the Ronnie O'Neal double murder trial started Wednesday with the prosecution as well as defense making points about the death penalty.
Assistant Public Defender Dana Fulgueira reminded jurors that life or death is an individual decision.
"If one person votes for life in this case, the sentence is life without the possibility of parole," she said.
O'Neal, 32, chose to represent himself earlier during the trial. He has public defenders for the penalty phase.
What You Need To Know
- Ronnie O'Neal agrees to have lawyers for death penalty phase
- PREVIOUS STORY: Ronnie O'Neal was convicted of first-degree murder
- Penalty phase begins Wednesday; O'Neal faces death penalty
- ABOVE: Watch Dalia Dangerfield's Wednesday report
In court Tuesday, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Michelle Sisco told O’Neal it was a wise decision.
She told him how specialized that area of law was and said “I have confidence in them to represent you.”
It took a jury about four and a half hours Monday to find O’Neal guilty on all counts on the 2018 murders of his girlfriend Kenyatta Barron and their 9-year-old daughter.
O’Neal argued he killed Barron but only because she killed their daughter with special needs.
The jury agreed with prosecutors that O’Neal brutally murdered them both before stabbing and setting fire to his then 8-year-old son, attempting to kill him, too.
After hearing testimony in the penalty phase, the 12-person jury must unanimously recommend capital punishment for O'Neal or he will serve life in prison without parole..