After spending four years behind bars awaiting trial for allegedly killing a teenage friend, Edward O’Neal was temporarily granted his freedom when his bond was reduced over the summer.
But just four months after posting bail, Texas authorities say the alleged devil worshipper has killed again—fatally shooting his cousin’s ex-boyfriend before admitting the crime to his mother.
“I told the DA he should not get out. He killed my son, he’ll be killing again,” Christa Roberts, the mother of the 16-year-old whom O’Neal fatally stabbed in 2016, told ABC13. “I’m sorry you had to go through this. Justice is going to be served.”
O’Neal, 23, now faces a second murder charge for killing Derrick Mike on Nov. 28 outside his cousin’s Houston apartment complex when the 39-year-old showed up to retrieve his belongings after the breakup, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Mike, who was still conscious when a police officer rushed him to the hospital, died the next day.
The 23-year-old, who allegedly told police he killed Mike at his cousin’s request, is now back in custody in Harris County Jail without bail. He faces separate trials for Mike and Ryan Roberts’ murder.
“Our prosecutors told the judge in court that we opposed bond being lowered for this defendant and we twice filed motions asking the judge to set conditions on the defendant's bond if he were to be released pending trial,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “We also let the judge know the facts of the original murder, to ensure the court was aware of our concerns for public safety.”
In the high-profile 2016 case, O’Neal was charged with fatally stabbing Ryan Roberts, a freshman at Jefferson Davis High School, then dumping his body in a wooded area behind his apartment complex.
Authorities say Ryan’s mother filed a missing persons report in January 2016 after her son didn’t come home from school. Days later, authorities say they learned that O’Neal, then 19, had admitted to a friend that he had murdered Ryan. The teen’s body was eventually found by Texas EquuSearch.
Around the same time as the murder, according to court documents first obtained by the Houston Chronicle, O’Neal had tried to take his own life and was checked into the psychiatric unit at Ben Taub Hospital. In a police interview, O’Neal’s mother revealed that her son also confessed to “stabbing Ryan Roberts to death and carrying his body into some nearby woods.”
O’Neal’s mother also told ABC13 at the time that her son worshipped the devil and that the murder was a “satanic act.” She said he’d killed several family pets in the past.
His father, Edward O’Neal Sr., added to KHOU after his son’s arrest that he has a history of mental illness and was into devil-worshipping.
“Oh I know that he’s worshipping the devil and stuff,” O’Neal said in 2016, while maintaining his son was innocent. “He didn’t tell me nothing. He didn’t say nothing about doing nothing.”
O’Neal also admitted to KPRC 2 during a jailhouse 2016 interview that he worshipped the devil— but insisted he didn’t kill Roberts and that another friend was responsible.
“Why would I kill my best friend who did nothing to me?” he told the outlet.
Over the next four years, O’Neal remained in Harris County Jail on a $50,000 bond awaiting his trial that was still pending due to his mental competency. During his time in jail, O’Neal’s lawyers revealed he had “a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and has a history of mental health issues.” In his own letter to the court months after his arrest, the 23-year-old stated he was hearing voices and feeling suicidal.
A 2019 assessment concluded that O’Neal either had a mental illness or an intellectual disability, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Despite O’Neal’s mental health issues, the 23-year-old’s bond was lowered to $25,000 in June at the request of his defense attorney and approved by Felony Mental Health Court Judge Mark Kent Ellis with several conditions, including no contact with the Roberts family, an 8 p.m. curfew, and a GPS ankle monitor. Two months later, O’Neal made bond and was released.
But despite the slew of conditions intended to monitor O’Neal’s every move, authorities were called to his cousin’s apartment complex at around 11 p.m. Nov. 28 in north Houston after reports Mike had been shot. Authorities say O’Neal shot the 39-year-old several times.
According to the probable cause affidavit, O’Neal’s cousin told authorities Mike had gone over to collect his belongings and move out of the apartment. O'Neal's mother told authorities her son confessed to the murder, saying that he committed the grisly crime at the behest of his cousin, who believed Mike had cheated on her.
The mom then told authorities “that her son has mental issues and that she is afraid of what else he may do.”
The cousin, who has not been identified, also told investigators she had a handgun in her apartment that was missing after the slaying. She claimed she heard gunfire, but did not actually see the shooting.
“She looked out the window and saw her cousin running away,” investigators wrote in the affidavit. “She thinks Edward had taken her gun.”