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Suspected Serial Killer's Parents Refuse to Answer Questions

Suspected Serial Killer's Parents Refuse to Answer Questions

"That's the objective of this motion ultimately; that's our intent and our hope they would comply and answer our questions". The couple appeared at the state attorney's office Tuesday but refused to answer any questions related to the investigation of their son's alleged involvement in the killings, according to court documents. "Because most people understand that they have a duty to answer questions".

In a Hillsborough County courtroom Thursday morning, Judge Margaret Taylor ordered Howell Donaldson Jr. and his wife, Rosita Donaldson, to return to court next month to show cause for why they should not be held in civil contempt of court.

Trai Donaldson III, 24, is accused of murdering Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa, and Ronald Felton using the same gun.

The parents' attorney, Ralph Fernandez, argued Howell Jr. and Rosita Donaldson won't be put in a position to help determine life or death for their son if the death penalty is sought.

Unlike some states, Florida has no law establishing "parent-child privilege", which would keep communications between them confidential.

Earlier Thursday, an attorney for one of Donaldson's parents said during a hearing that they are considering leaving town after receiving death threats. Donaldson waived a formal hearing on his pretrial detention, so he will be held without bond for the charges, according to a court order released Monday. "Not only the personal tragedy, but they have extended their condolences repeatedly to the victims that suffered greatly". He described their situation as "tough" and "complex".

In an earlier interview with 10News, he said: "If you are a parent asked to testify against your child, what would you do?" He was taken into custody at the McDonald's in Ybor City, where he worked, after handing his gun to a co-worker in a food bag.




The fourth victim, 60-year-old Robert Felton, was fatally shot from behind in the early hours of November 14.

Donaldson has been jailed without bail since his arrest.

After the hearing, Fernandez told reporters that the contempt case amounted to putting "family values on trial". He has not yet entered a plea.

Howell Donaldson III graduated from St. John's University in NY in January 2017 and was a walk-on for the men's basketball team during the 2011-12 season, according to Brian Browne, executive director of university relations. Police do not believe there are any other suspects in the case.

"We're not only trying to build a case against the defendant, we're trying to ask the broader question of why - a question that the victims' families and the community deserves to have answered", Warren, the state attorney, said Wednesday.

"I don't think that there is a greater treasure than the family", he said.

Fernandez explained that the Donaldsons have been devastated since their sons arrest. "And we question why".


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