Parents of Seminole Heights murders suspect to appear before judge

By Dalia Dangerfield , Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Howell Donaldson Jr. and his wife, Rosita Donaldson, the parents of Seminole Heights murder suspect Howell Donaldson III, are scheduled to appear before a judge Thursday morning.

  • Suspect's parents set to meet judge on Thursday
  • Parents have not answered all investigators questions
  • Howell Donaldson III, 24, is facing four counts of first degree murder

The judge will weigh whether they have legal just cause for not answering certain questions posed to them by investigators.

Howell Donaldson III, 24, is facing four counts of first degree murder in the Seminole Heights killings.

He was arrested Nov. 28 at the Ybor City McDonald's where he worked. He was detained after a co-worker told police that Donaldson handed her a bag with a gun inside and told her to watch it for him. The co-worker alerted a police officer that was in the McDonald's.

As part of the ongoing investigation, investigators have been following thousands of tips and leads that came in, interviewing family members of the victims and talking to Donaldson III's family.

But Donaldson Jr. and his wife, Rosita Donaldson have not answered all of their questions. Howell Donaldson Jr. could face contempt charges.

On Wednesday afternoon, Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren said his office is doing everything possible to put forth the strongest case possible and part of that is getting certain questions answered from the Donaldsons.

The specific questions involve Donaldon III's background, his developmental history, mode of transportation, gun possession and state of mind.

Warren said the parents would have immunity - that nothing the Donaldson's would say could be used against them.

"I'm not going to speculate on why the parents didn't provide information," Warren said. "They'll have their opportunity to explain their thought process."

Meanwhile, Warren said the work of presenting a strong case to the grand jury would go on.

"We're doing everything we can using all mechanisms possible to build as strong a case as possible to seek justice for the victim's families, for the residents of Seminole Heights and the entire community.