23-year-old Edward O'Neal IV was released on bond despite the objection of the Harris County District Attorney's Office, on August 10, after his bond was reduced from $50,000 to $25,000.
Roberts was reported missing on January 15, but his body was not found until January 19. He had been stabbed multiple times and his body was left in a wooded area behind the apartment complex.
O'Neal's mother told investigators that her son, a known devil-worshipper, had confessed to her that he had killed Roberts. "He doesn't believe in God, he believes in the devil," she told WFTV. "I didn't raise him like that. As a child, he was born and raise in the church home."
Even his father, Edward O'Neal III said, "Oh, I know that he's worshipping the devil and stuff." When asked by KHOU if his son had told him anything about Roberts though, he said, "He didn't say nothing about doing nothing. He's mentally retarded."
His mother though, stated, "He did the crime, he needs to do the time." According to her, when O'Neal was a teenager, he began drawing images of the devil and killed two family pets.
Since his arrest in February 2016, the trial has been delayed due to questions of competency.
WFTV states that court documents filed in August 2016 indicate that O'Neal had been diagnosed with shizoaffective disorder after he indicated that he was feeling suicidal and hearing voices.
He was committed to a mental institution for 120 days in an effort to restore competency, but was declared to be incompetent to stand trial.
The Houston Chronicle reports that the mental health assessment only concluded in 2019 at which time it was determined that O'Neal either had a mental illness or an intellectual disability. The determination was made earlier this year that he was competent to stand trial.
Judge Mark Kent Ellis, who is in charge of the felony mental health court, sided with defense attorney and lowered the bond. Ellis is said to have also agreed to conditions that the prosecution had requested which included drug testing, a prohibition to possessing weapons, an 8 pm curfew, wearing a GPS ankle monitor and no contact with Roberts' family.
"I have never seen a lower bond for first-degree murder than I have in this particular case and that really flummoxed me," Andy Kahan, a crime victim's advocate told KTRK.
It's not known if O'Neal was wearing his ankle monitor when he is believed to have repeatedly shot 39-year-old Derrick Mike at approximately 11 pm on November 28.
In a replay of events from 2016, his mother said that he once again confessed the killing to her. She told detectives that her son "has mental health issues and that she is afraid of what else he may do," court documents show according to KTRK.
Christina Roberts, mother of Ryan Roberts, said, "I told the DA he should not get out. He killed my son, he'll be killing again." She additionally expressed sympathy for Mike's family, saying, "It's sad that another family is having to go through what I went through because the justice system failed us."
O'Neal claimed that he had shot Mike at his cousin's prompting as she believed that he had cheated on her. Mike was actually at the apartment complex where he was shot in order to retrieve his belongings.
O'Neal is now being held in the Harris County Jail without bond and is due to appear in court on December 23. He is once again charged with murder.