Parents of Seminole Heights murder suspect in court for contempt hearing

Elias Hubbard
December 7, 2017

Judge Margaret Taylor on Thursday set a January 5 hearing for Howell Jr. and Rosita Donaldson.

The younger Donaldson faces four counts of first-degree murder in the apparently random shooting spree.

A Florida judge says the parents of a 24-year-old man suspected in a string of fatal shootings in a Tampa neighborhood must "show cause" on why they shouldn't be held in civil contempt for refusing to answer investigators' questions.

Fernandez said, "They are seeking information to kill their son and nothing good can come out of this". That is the day their son was arrested for the four murders that occurred within 51 days in Seminole Heights.

Investigators have not pinpointed a motive for the ambushes that left the community living in terror for weeks. We will not testify against their son. He said they haven't slept and have even considered leaving town. "They feel hostages in their own home". "There's no sense of duty for you to give only what someone else seeks to make a better case, shall I say, against their son when that would be manifestly unfair, premature and untimely".

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.

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

Tampa attorney and legal expert Anthony Rickman told FOX 13 it's unusual for parents to be called in for questioning, but it's not unheard of.

He was arrested November 28 at the Ybor City McDonald's where he worked.

"Mr. Donaldsons refusal to testify. despite having received a court- authorized subpoena, constitutes indirect criminal contempt of this Honorable Court", Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner wrote in a motion filed Wednesday in a motion that names the father.

"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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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