Parents of accused Seminole Heights killer shaken, say their hearts are heavy

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The parents of the Howell Donaldson III spoke to News Channel 8 Friday evening with their attorney.

It’s the first time they have spoke alongside Attorney Ralph Fernandez. It wasn’t easy for Rosita and Howell Donaldson. They were visibly shaken and in denial.

“Anybody that knows that’s not Trai knows he doesn’t have the personality of that character,” said Rosita.

Howell Trai Donaldson III was charged with four counts of first-degree murder.

“That’s not my son, that’s my baby,” she said.

Donaldson’s father choked up as he tried to express his emotions while thinking of the victims families, as well.

“Our hearts as heavy as their hearts are heavy,” Donaldson’s father said of the four victims’ families. “We’re a people of faith and we’re going to lean on our faith as we go through this ordeal.”

The Donaldsons have not seen their son since he has been arrested.

“We pray for strength for the family members and we just ask that they do the same for us because we all are devastated,” she said.

Rosita said she did not know any of the victims or the families of the victims.

Her son’s next court appearance is set for Dec. 5.

You can watch their entire statement and their answers to News Channel 8’s Jeff Patterson’s questions in the video above. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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