TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Doctors now say murder defendant Ronnie O'Neal is competent to stand trial.
He spent months at a state hospital getting treatment. Now he appears ready to mount a defense in his case.
He wasted no time asking the judge about his legal options.
"I was wondering if can have an immunity hearing? " asked O'Neal, referring to a 'stand your ground' hearing, suggesting he may be looking to claim self-defense in his double murder case.
Hillsborough Judge Michelle Sisco made it clear it was not up to her, it was up to his attorney.
"Based on her training and experience as an attorney, what is the best course of action for defending you?" explained Sisco.
O'Neal is accused of killing the mother of his children, Kenyatta Barron, as well as his nine-year-old daughter, and nearly killing his eight-year-old son, Ronnie O'Neal, Jr.
From his hospital bed, suffering a collapsed lung, serious burns, and stab wounds that exposed his intestines, little Ronnie told police the horror he witnessed that day.
"My mom was in the closet and mom went into the room with my sister she was just on the ground she couldn't speak or do anything and he kept just hitting her with an ax," explained Ronnie.
Now it looks like O'Neal will claim it was self-defense. However, he hinted to the judge he maybe be at odds with his attorney on a defense strategy.
"If your attorney thinks it's best to file an immunity motion or have an immunity hearing then she will do so, OK?" said Judge Sisco.
O'Neal quickly replied: "What if my attorney doesn't want to adopt that motion?"
The judge told O'Neal that will be a discussion for another day. O'Neal is back in court next month. No trial date has been set.