TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Howell Donaldson III stood in court today, flanked by sheriff’s 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.
Hoffa’s 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.
“I’m 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 Donaldson’s 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.
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