A Texas man recently released on bail after spending four years in jail for the murder of his teenage friend has now been accused of the November killing of a family acquaintance.
Edward O’Neal IV, who was charged in 2016 in the fatal stabbing of his 16-year-old friend, Ryan Roberts, is now accused of killing the family acquaintance, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.
After a four-year stint in a Harris County jail, O’Neal was released on a $25,000 bond in August, according to the Houston Chronicle. O’Neal’s mental condition has thus far prevented a trial.
“I’ve never seen a bond this low for first-degree murder in my career,” Andy Kahan, the director of victim services for Crime Stoppers, told KPRC-TV.
Months after he was freed, O’Neal is now charged in the murder of his cousin’s ex-boyfriend Derrick Mike, court records show.
Mike, 39, was found shot multiple times outside a Houston apartment complex on Nov. 28, according to a police press release. O’Neal later allegedly told his mother that he’d shot Mike at the behest of his cousin, who reportedly suspected Mike was cheating on her.
O’Neal’s cousin said she owns a pistol and told authorities it had vanished from her apartment around the time of the shooting. She claimed to have heard gunshots but said she didn’t see O’Neal pull the trigger.
“She looked out the window and saw her cousin running away,” the investigator said in court filings, according to the Houston Chronicle. “She thinks Edward had taken her gun.”
O’Neal was arrested and charged in Mike’s murder on Dec. 4.
"When I saw Edward O' Neal also was declared incompetent, restored to competency to stand trial, and was released and is now charged with another murder, light bulbs went off,” Kahan told KHOU.
In 2016, Roberts’ body was found in a forested area, according to the Houston Chronicle. O’Neal — who tried to commit suicide after the murder — eventually confessed to killing the high school freshman on three separate occasions, prosecutors said.
O’Neal’s mother later admitted her son worshipped the devil, referring to Roberts’ killing as a “satanic act,” according to KTRK-TV.
Roberts’ family was also expressed outrage that O’Neal had been slapped with a second murder charge after his release.
"It’s sad that another family is having to go through what I went through because the justice system failed us," Ryan Roberts’ mother, Christine, told KHOU.
Since O’Neal’s release over the summer, his mother told police that the young man’s behavior had become increasingly problematic.
“Her son has mental issues and that she is afraid of what else he may do,” detectives said in a probable cause statement, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Other family members also previously acknowledged the 23-year-old’s alleged obsession with the occult.
"Oh, I know that he's worshiping the devil and stuff," his father, Edward O'Neal Sr. told KHOU.
O’Neal is being held without bond, police said.
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