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Death Penalty Pursued for Suspected Serial Killer, Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, in 2017 FL Multiple Murders
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Thread: Death Penalty Pursued for Suspected Serial Killer, Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, in 2017 FL Multiple Murders

  1. #1
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    Death Penalty Pursued for Suspected Serial Killer, Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, in 2017 FL Multiple Murders








    Police investigate 3rd suspicious death in Florida community

    By Associated Press

    TAMPA, Fla. Police believe the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old autistic man who took the wrong bus home from work on Thursday night is linked to two other suspicious deaths in a Florida neighborhood.

    The deaths, which took place in the same neighborhood over the past 10 days, prompted Tampa police to warn residents in the Seminole Heights neighborhood not to walk alone at night. And they've asked residents to leave porch light and other external lights on at night.

    "Now we have someone terrorizing the neighborhood," Interim Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan said during a Friday news conference.

    He said the three victims have no ties to one another. Dugan asked the public to look at surveillance video of a man who was walking in the area on Oct. 9 when Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was killed. On Oct. 13, Monica Caridad
    Hoffa, 32, was found dead in a vacant lot.

    On Thursday night, officers were patrolling in the area when they heard gunshots. Dugan said they rushed to the area, where they found Anthony Taino Naiboa dead on the sidewalk, about 100 yards (91 meters) from where one of the other victims was killed.

    "You can imagine the frustration of these officers to hear gunshots and not be able to find this person," Dugan said. "He was in the prime of his life and was taken instantly."

    He said Naiboa's parents became worried Thursday and called police when he didn't come home.

    Investigators have few leads. Officers have blanketed the neighborhood, are talking to residents and showing them the video of the man walking.

    "It's clear to me that they're all linked," Dugan said. "I'm convinced we are going to catch this person. It's frustrating and it makes me angry they are able to vanish so quickly."

    He said the FBI and the Hillsborough and Pinellas county sheriff's officials have pledged support.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/10/20...community.html
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  2. #2
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    Man arrested, to be charged in string of Tampa murders

    CBS News

    Tampa police said Tuesday night they had arrested a 24-year-old man and that he would be charged with murder in four shooting deaths in the Seminole Heights neighborhood that had stoked fears of a serial killer in the area.

    Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, 24, will be charged with four counts of first degree, premeditated murder in the killings of Benjamin Edward Mitchell, Monica Caridad Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton, Tampa police chief Brian Dugan said in a press conference Tuesday.

    Donaldson was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon at a McDonald's after another employee said he handed a gun to a manager, who then reached out to an officer in the building, CBS affiliate WTSP reports.

    "When I think I found out there was a gun, and when we looked at his description, it was a little more than what we really had," Dugan said. "It just felt right. I kinda had a feeling that we were going to get a break."

    Investigators are still determining Donaldson's connection to the neighborhood, Dugan said.

    "We're not sure why he was in this neighborhood," he said. "We're not aware what he ties are and we don't know what his motive is. But there is a lot more to go."

    CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez reports that Donaldson is from the Tampa area, but also has connections to New York. The New York Police Department confirmed overnight that he was arrested in Manhattan in 2014, but they wouldn't say for what.

    He also attended Saint John's University in Queens.

    Police have been searching for the person - or people - responsible for shooting and killing four in the Seminole Heights neighborhood since Oct. 9. Police have said the shootings happened within close proximity to one another, aren't robberies and could be the work of a serial killer.

    Police had increased patrols in the neighborhood and released surveillance videos of a hooded suspect. In a security video taken moments after 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell became the first victim on Oct. 9, the suspect is running from the scene.

    "I've come up with four reasons why this person is running," Dugan said last month. "One, they may be late for dinner. Two, they're out exercising. Three, they heard gunshots. And number four, they just murdered Benjamin Mitchell."

    Two days after Mitchell was shot, Monica Hoffa, 32, was gunned down. And on Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot after taking the wrong bus home from his new job. Police patrolling nearby heard the gunshots and rushed to the scene to find Naiboa dead.

    Police found the body of Ronald Felton, 60, in the street on Nov. 14. Police said Felton had been walking across the street to meet someone when the gunman came up behind him and fired.

    Seminole Heights is a working-class neighborhood northeast of downtown Tampa that's slowly becoming gentrified. Run-down homes sit next to renovated, historic bungalows, and trendy restaurants have sprung up near auto body shops.

    Residents and business owners have said there are car burglaries and fights between kids, but nothing like this.

    The department has received more than 5,000 tips. Dugan says he's optimistic but acknowledged previous leads have led to nothing.

    Donaldson's arrest happened during the kick off for the first annual "Light the Heights" event, WTSP reports.

    The holiday-themed effort to light every home with Christmas lights is the latest to brighten up the area with light – as well as some holiday cheer.

    "We have a goal of having every house in our neighborhood lit up to bring a positive light to our neighborhood," organizer Courtney Bumgarnar told WTSP.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/howell-...serial-killer/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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    Seminole Heights Killings: Timeline of events that led to arrest of Howell Emanuel Donaldson III

    By Mary Stringini
    ABC News

    TAMPA, Fla. -- Newly released arrest documents show the timeline and incriminating evidence that led to the arrest of the man they say shot and killed four people since October in Seminole Heights.

    According to the arrest affidavit obtained from the Tampa Police department, the events were as followed:

    October 9

    Benjamin Mitchell was shot four times at approximately 9 p.m., he died as a result of his wounds. Mitchell was waiting at a Hartline bus stop, on North 15th Street, at the time. Police say that two fired SIG brand Smith and Wesson .40 caliber cartridge casings were recovered from the scene. Video surveillance recovered from a nearby residence captured a person walking eastbound along the 1300 block of East Frierson Avenue towards North 15th Street, approximately 8 to 10 minutes before the murder.

    Police say that the video surveillance shows the person on a cell phone device while he was walking. Footage from the same video surveillance system captured the same individual running westbound in the 1300 block of East Frierson Avenue, within twenty-five seconds of the murder.

    A witness called 911 immediately after the murder and provided a sworn statement to law enforcement that she had seen an African-American man running westbound in the 1300 block of East Frierson Avenue away from the scene of the murder.

    October 11

    At approximately 8:47 p.m., Tampa Police responded to 911 calls referencing gunshots in the area of North 11th Street at the intersection of East New Orleans Avenue.

    October 13

    Monica Hoffa was found shot to death in an overgrown lot on the southwest corner of East New Orleans Avenue at the North 11th Street intersection. Police say that Hoffa was shot three times.

    Five fired SIG brand Smith and Wesson .40 caliber cartridge casings were found in the area.

    A friend of Hoffa's provided a sworn statement to law enforcement that he was on his way to meet Hoffa, on October 11, at around the same time of the reported gunfire. The same friend stated that he never met up with Hoffa and that he never heard from her, according to the arrest affidavit.

    October 19

    At approximately 7:57 p.m., Anthony Naiboa was shot and killed by a single fired round to his head. Naiboa was northbound, walking along the east side of the 5100 block of North 15th Street, when he was killed in the driveway of a local residence.

    Police say that a single SIG brand Smith and Wesson .40 caliber cartridge casing was found at the scene.

    November 14

    At 4:50 a.m., Ronald Felton was shot and killed while crossing North Nebraska Avenue, in the 5100 block.

    Four SIG brand Smith and Wesson .40 caliber fired cartridge casing were recovered from the scene.

    A witnessed provided a sworn statement to law enforcement that she saw an African-American male shoot Felton. The same witness told police that the suspect ran eastbound in the 900 block of East McBerry Street. The witness described the male as approximately 6-feet tall with a thin, strong build.

    Video surveillance footage from a nearby business shows a single suspect shoot Felton as he crossed Nebraska Avenue.

    All four murders took place in the Southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa.

    The F.D.L.E. and A.T.F. analysis of the fired cartridge casings recovered from all four scenes proved that the same firearm was used to shoot all four victims. The casings were further identified as being fired in a Glock .40 caliber handgun.

    November 28

    Around 2:38 p.m., a third witness approached a Tampa Police officer while the officer was at the McDonald's in Ybor City. The witness told the officer that an employee, 24-year-old Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, handed the witness a McDonald's food bag with a gun in it. Tampa Police officers checked the bag's contents and found a .40 caliber Glock firearm loaded with SIG brand Smith and Wesson ammunition.

    The witness told police that Donaldson expressed his intention to leave the state.

    Donaldson was an employee at the same McDonald's. He had since departed the restaurant, prior to the firearm's discovery, and returned shortly thereafter. When he returned, Tampa police detained him for questioning.

    ABC Action News got exclusive video when Donaldson was taken into custody on Tuesday:

    Donaldson agreed to meet at Police Headquarters to provide a statement regarding the firearm. When he spoke with police, they repeatedly told him that he had the right to leave and/or end the conversation. The arrest affidavit says that Donaldson gave consent to conduct a search of his car and cell phone as well as permission to examine his firearm at the F.D.L.E. laboratory.

    Police say that Donaldson admitted to buying the Glock firearm and ammunition from Shooter's World on Fletcher Avenue in September. Donaldson further attested to the fact that no one, except for himself, had control of the Glock firearm since he purchased it.

    Donaldson told police that he was unfamiliar with the Seminole Heights neighborhood, and did not have any association with anyone in the area, according to the arrest affidavit.

    Incriminating Evidence

    Cell Phone Locations

    When police searched Donaldson's cell phone, it revealed storage of location data, known as "significant locations," which police say revealed an address in the 1300 block of East Frierson Avenue. The location data indicated only three days of recorded times and activities.

    Those dates were:

    October 9, 2017: Between 8:47 and 9:02 p.m.

    October 11, 2017: Between 8:18 and 8:42 p.m.

    October 19, 2017: Between 7:51 and 7:58 p.m.

    During the ongoing investigation related to the pattern of the homicides, call detail records were obtained from AT&T. The records showed that within minutes of the murders on October 9, October 11, and October 19, Davidson's cell phone was geographically associated with the AT&T cell tower providing coverage for the areas that include all the homicide locations.

    Clothing Found in Car

    When police searched Donaldson's car, they found clothing that looked similar to the clothes worn by the subject captured in surveillance video the night Benjamin Mitchell was murdered. The arrest affidavit states that police saw what appeared to be a blood stain on an article of clothing.

    The Firearm

    The F.D.L.E. comparison of the Glock firearm to the cartridge casings revealed that the cartridge casings, which were recovered in the first three murders, were fired in the Glock firearm. The casings in the fourth murder were unavailable for comparison but had been previously identified as being fired in the same firearm as the three. The Glock firearm, as recovered, was loaded with a magazine, which contained five unfired rounds of SIG brand Smith and Wesson .40 caliber ammunition.

    Investigation into the firearm's purchase revealed that Donaldson purchased the firearm on October 3, 2017, and he picked it up on October 7. His purchase was in accordance with the mandatory wait period, which requires three days between purchase and delivery of a firearm, according to the Florida Constitution.

    Receipts of purchased further revealed that Donaldson purchased a 20-round box of SIG brand Smith and Wesson ammunition on October 7.

    Arrest

    Police arrested Howard and charged him with four counts of First-Degree murder in connection to the murders of Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton.

    Post Miranda

    After police read Donaldson his Miranda rights, the confronted him with the evidence asking for an explanation. Donaldson did not give an explanation and asked for the presence of an attorney.

    http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/re...-donaldson-iii
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  4. #4
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    Whats to consider here. The guys a serial killer...sigh..

    Hillsborough State Attorney considering death penalty for accused Seminole Heights killer


    By Jeff Patterson
    WFLA News

    TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) Howell Donaldson III stood in court today, flanked by sheriffs deputies. He wore a green suicide vest, with his hands and feet bound by shackles.

    Donaldson listened as a Hillsborough County judge advised him of his rights and the charges he now faces.

    Donaldson is accused of four counts of first degree murder in the deaths of Benjamin Mitchell, 22, Monica Hoffa, 32, Anthony Naiboa, 20, and Ronald Felton, 60.

    Hoffas family and the family of Anthony Naiboa say they want Donaldson to be put to death under Florida law if he is convicted.

    The decision will be up to Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren.

    Im as shocked and angry as the entire community and my heart goes out to the victims and their families. The death penalty should be reserved for the worst of the worst offenders in our society and generally speaking, a serial killer would qualify, but it is my duty to follow the law, said Warren.

    The State Attorney says he will consider Donaldsons age, his mental well being and the fact he allegedly killed four people to make his decision.

    I will evaluate all of the aggravating and mitigating evidence in this case to determine whether there is a legal basis to seek the death penalty, said Warren.

    http://wfla.com/2017/11/30/hillsboro...eights-killer/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  5. #5
    Administrator Helen's Avatar
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    I don't think so. Two of the families want the DP.

    The DA is a democrat and has stated it would only be sought in extreme cases but has not said that it would never be sought.

    The fact that Governor Scott was at the news conference about his arrest is a direct message to the DA that this needs to be a DP case.

    The only way I see him getting a plea is if all the families agree to it.
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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    Florentino Martinez was shot in the back in 1912 by a Tampa serial killer. Martinez survived, but the killer took at least 10 lives.


    In late 1911 and early 1912, Robert Anderson killed as many as 10 Tampa residents.


    Eerily similar Tampa serial killer cases a century apart

    By Paul Guzzo
    The Tampa Bay Times

    TAMPA — It is a horrific case of local dj vu.

    Twice, a man in his early 20s has stalked the streets of Tampa under cloak of darkness, used a gun to snatch the lives of random victims, was identified in Ybor City under odd circumstances and arrested in November.

    The second instance has played out over the last two months, culminating in the arrest this week of 24-year-old Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, who is charged with four murders in Seminole Heights.

    The first killer — Robert Anderson — roamed the streets a century ago.

    "I am stunned history is repeating itself with such detail," said Angela Alderman, who while researching her family's genealogy learned her uncle Florentino Martinez was shot by the 22-year-old Anderson. "This is very tragic and scary that Tampa had to go through this again."

    Local historians think Anderson was likely Tampa's first serial killer. In all, he killed at least 10 people.

    The first body was found on Christmas Eve in 1911, along the Hillsborough River, according to news reports of the time.

    Over the next month, three more dead men — two African-Americans and one Latino — were discovered in the same area.

    Then a few months of silence, until a letter written by an anonymous black man was sent to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    The author didn't take responsibility for the murders, but said that if white men did not stop "having relations" with the black women who lived on Fifth Avenue he would burn the city to the ground. He tried to live up to his word.

    Over the next two months, nearly 100 homes were set on fire in the African-American community of The Scrubs located on the outskirts of downtown.

    Then he destroyed a more prominent target: The original and wooden Centro Asturiano social club building in Ybor City was destroyed via arson.

    A man was seen running from some fires, but he hid his identity by wearing a woman's wig and dress.

    In the middle of 1912, the man nicknamed "The Ybor City Fire Bug" wrote a second letter to law enforcement, taking credit for the arson and Hillsborough River murders and promising more deaths would come.

    It was 9 p.m. on July 4, 1912 when Alderman's uncle Martinez, while he stood on a corner in Ybor, was shot in the back. The bullet passed through his kidney and out his body.

    "He needed a miracle to survive surgery," Alderman said.

    He somehow did, but future victims were not so lucky.

    Again, like the man who terrorized Seminole Heights this year, victims were chosen arbitrarily.

    Most of the murders were in The Scrubs: Two black women were killed as they relaxed on different occasions on their front porches, one was shot through an open window while she sat inside her home and Anderson walked into another African-American woman's living room to murder her.

    Anderson also slew a Latin man standing outside an Ybor store and a black male psychiatric patient by shooting him through an open window of a ward.

    Then, in September 1912, Anderson, in broad daylight, shot at and missed a white police officer patrolling The Scrubs. Anderson got away, but the officer had a description: around 5-foot-6, 150 pounds, and "ginger black" skin tone.

    A month later, officers approached Anderson as he hung outside an Ybor bar and said he looked like the serial killer. Anderson invited them to search his apartment to prove his innocence.

    The invitation, equal parts confounding and exceptionally risky, again draws parallels to the recent Seminole Heights killings. In that case, the 24-year-old charged with four counts of first-degree murder asked a fellow Ybor City McDonald's employee to look after a paper bag containing a loaded gun that police say was used in the crimes.

    In Anderson's apartment, the officers found a gun, bullets matching those at murder scenes, a woman's wig, fake eyelashes and a dress.

    But before they could arrest Anderson, he ran and escaped.

    For a month, a state-wide manhunt ensued. A reward of $2,200 was offered.

    In early November, Anderson was arrested in Jacksonville.

    The trial was quick, as was the execution order. On November 22, Anderson was hung in front of an audience at the Hillsborough County jail yard and the rope was divvied up among the onlookers for souvenirs.

    http://www.tbo.com/news/publicsafety...-apart/2345552

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    Families of Seminole Heights murder victims to discuss death penalty; Contempt of court charges possible for suspect’s parents

    By Avery Cotton and Melanie Michael
    WFLA News

    TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Today, the family members of the victims of the Seminole Heights murders are expected to meet with the State Attorney’s office. They will be discussing the possibility of the accused killer, Howell Donaldson, III, receiving the death penalty if he is convicted of the crimes.

    According to Angelique Dupree, the aunt of Benjamin Mitchell, the families are scheduled to attend a meeting with the State Attorney at 1 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss their thoughts on the death penalty.

    Several of the family members have stated they wish to see whoever is responsible for killing their loved ones die for the crime. However, fourth victim Ronald Felton’s brother told News Channel 8 he’d rather him serve life in prison saying, “He’s young. I want him to think about what he did.”

    News Channel 8 has also learned Rosita and Howell Donaldson Jr., the parents of the accused killer are now willing to go to jail.

    According to their attorney, they are doing all they can to protect their son, Howell Donaldson, including refusing to answer personal and detailed questions about his mental health.

    On Tuesday, the parents were put in the hot seat by prosecutors as the State Attorney’s Office began digging deeper into the background of the 24-year-old, accused of murdering four people in Seminole Heights.

    Prosecutors want answers about the young man at the center of the case. Did he suffer from mental health issues? What was his state of mind leading up to the murders? Was he under psychiatric care at that time?

    The state went straight to the source for the answers, sending a subpoena to the suspect’s mother and father.

    Their answer – was no answer.

    Defense attorney Ralph Fernandez is representing the parents.

    On Tuesday after the parents were questioned, he shared with News Channel 8 the reaction of the mother and father when they were asked to provide details about their son. This is how the attorney described the reaction from his clients.

    “One of the two said, ‘testify against our son,’” he said. “’You mean to testify against our baby?’”

    Ultimately, the parents refused to give up any information about their son.

    Each of them was questioned separately, in different rooms. They gave the same answer to every inquiry.

    http://wfla.com/2017/12/06/families-...pects-parents/
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  8. #8
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    Parents of Tampa shooting suspect Howell Donaldson ordered to talk

    By Tracy Connor
    NBC News

    A Florida judge has ordered the parents of the Tampa serial shooting suspect to answer prosecutors' questions or be found in contempt of court.

    Howell Donaldson Jr. and his wife, Rosita, have until Jan. 5 to comply with a subpoena from the state attorney's office or explain to the court why they should not face charges themselves.

    The couple, who appeared before prosecutors earlier this week but refused to answer most questions about their son, Howell Donaldson III, looked stricken as they sat quietly during a hearing on Thursday.

    "They were not going to answer questions that would lead to the execution of their son," attorney Ralph Fernandez told the court.

    The younger Donaldson has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with four fatal shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in October and November.

    He was arrested after a co-worker at McDonald's tipped off police about a gun he left at the restaurant. The loaded weapon linked the 24-year-old to the killings, authorities said.

    Investigators have not pinpointed a motive for the ambushes that left the community living in terror for weeks. They wanted to ask the alleged gunman's parents about his background, mental state and the gun.

    Fernandez said the couple was in no shape to be grilled by prosecutors, even with immunity.

    "They haven't slept. They can't function. They can't think cogently and clearly," he told the court. "They feel hostages in their own home. They are considering leaving town."

    But mostly, he said, they are worried that anything they might say could lead prosecutors to seek the death penalty against their son or help put him on death row.

    "I'm not suggesting they have any direct knowledge, but I'm not suggesting they don't," he said.

    Jay Pruner, an assistant state attorney, office said prosecutors need to speak with the parents in order to conduct a "thorough investigation.'

    There is no privilege that allows them to avoid answering questions and their willful failure to answer questions is a contemptuous act," he said.

    Judge Margaret Taylor said she was signing an order to show cause compelling the Donaldsons to either answer questions under oath or face a civil contempt citation.

    In interviews with the media, the Donaldsons have said they were stunned by the charges against their son, whom they call Trai, and devastated for the families of the dead.

    "Anybody that knows that's not Trai knows he doesn't have the personality of that character," the mother told NBC affiliate WFLA last week.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news...d-talk-n827381
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

  9. #9
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    Documents to remain sealed in case against Seminole Heights killings suspect

    By Dan Sullivan
    Tampabay.com

    TAMPA A judge wanted to know whether search warrants related to the investigation of four Seminole Heights murders need to be kept out of public view.

    The answer, voiced in a court hearing Wednesday morning in the case against Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, was a resounding yes.

    Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner told Circuit Judge Mark Wolfe he was concerned about any documents in the Donaldson investigation being inadvertently made public. He wanted the documents visible to only the State Attorneys Office, law enforcement and the judge.

    Public Defender Julianne Holt, whose office represents Donaldson, agreed.

    The judge left in effect an order sealing the documents. He said if prosecutors want him to view any of the confidential materials, they should present him with actual paper documents rather than electronic copies to prevent any leaks.

    Donaldson, 24, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Benjamin Mitchell, 22; Monica Hoffa, 32; Anthony Naiboa, 20; and Ronald Felton, 60.

    The four were all shot to death over the course of 51 days in October and November on the streets of southeast Seminole Heights. The killings terrorized the neighborhood, spurred a police manhunt, and drew national media attention.

    Donaldson was arrested Nov. 30 after he handed a bag containing a handgun to a fellow employee of a McDonalds restaurant in Ybor City. The gun, police determined, was the same one used to commit all four murders.

    Authorities have remained tight-lipped about the investigation since then.

    But in early December, prosecutors attempted to question Donaldsons parents, Howell Jr. and Rosita Donaldson, about their sons background, developmental history, and state of mind. The parents refused.

    That prompted a judge to initiate civil contempt proceedings against them. If they continue to refuse to speak with prosecutors, the Donaldsons could face sanctions, including a fine or possible jail time.

    Their attorney, Ralph Fernandez, attended Thursdays hearing, asking Judge Wolfe to conduct separate hearings for the son and the parents. The judge said Fernandez would have to make a formal request in writing.

    The next hearing is set for Jan. 26.

    The state has yet to announce whether they intend to seek the death penalty against Donaldson should he be convicted at trial.

    State rules of criminal procedure give prosecutors 45 days from the date of arraignment to announce a decision about capital punishment. That deadline will be in early February.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/publics...pect_164583745

  10. #10
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    Prosecutors to seek death penalty in Seminole Heights murders case

    By Cait McVey
    baynews9.com

    TAMPA - State Attorney Andrew Warren says his office will seek the death penalty against Seminole Heights murders suspect Howell Donaldson III.

    "After reviewing the evidence and meeting with families of the vicitims, this office will seek the sentence of death against Howell Donaldson III," Warren announced at a Tuesday morning news conference.
    Donaldson III, 24, is facing four counts of first-degree murder.

    The 24-year-old McDonald's worker was taken into custody Nov. 28 at the Ybor City restaurant where he worked after he gave a coworker a bag with a gun in it and said he had to leave town. The coworker contacted a police officer and Donaldson III was detained upon returning to the eatery.

    Police said Donaldson III admitted to owning a gun of the same caliber that was loaded with the same kind of bullets used in all four murders.

    Investigators also found blood stains on some of the clothes in his car. They also said cell phone location records put him at or near the scene of at least three of the four murders.

    Residents and police had been on edge since Oct. 9, when 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell was shot to death. Two days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa was slain. And on Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was killed after taking the wrong bus home from his new job.

    On Nov. 14, 60-year-old Ronald Felton was killed.

    The question surrounding the death peanlty came up almost immediately after he was taken into custody.

    Robert Hoffa, the uncle of one of the victims, has made up his mind regarding a potential death penalty sentence if Donaldson III is found guilty.

    "Is Benjamin, Ronald, Monica or Anthony getting to enjoy Thanksgiving or Christmas?" asked Robert Hoffa. "Do they get to enjoy their families? Thats how I want to leave that. The ultimate punishment is [Donaldson III] shouldnt be here, neither."

    http://www.baynews9.com/content/news...cmpid=breaking
    "I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don't care if it's by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions."
    - Oklahoma Rep. Mike Christian

    "There are some people who just do not deserve to live,"
    - Rev. Richard Hawke

    "Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence"
    - Edgar Allan Poe

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