Families of Seminole Heights murder victims to discuss death penalty; Contempt of court charges possible for suspect’s parents

24-year-old Howell Donaldson III is accused of killing four people in a string of recent murders that terrorized the Seminole Heights community.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Today, the family members of the victims of the Seminole Heights murders are expected to meet with the State Attorney’s office. They will be discussing the possibility of the accused killer, Howell Donaldson, III, receiving the death penalty if he is convicted of the crimes.

According to Angelique Dupree, the aunt of Benjamin Mitchell, the families are scheduled to attend a meeting with the State Attorney at 1 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss their thoughts on the death penalty.

Several of the family members have stated they wish to see whoever is responsible for killing their loved ones die for the crime. However, fourth victim Ronald Felton’s brother told News Channel 8 he’d rather him serve life in prison saying, “He’s young. I want him to think about what he did.”

Rosita and Howell Donaldson are the parents of accused Seminole Heights killer Howell Donaldson III.

News Channel 8 has also learned Rosita and Howell Donaldson Jr., the parents of the accused killer are now willing to go to jail.

According to their attorney, they are doing all they can to protect their son, Howell Donaldson, including refusing to answer personal and detailed questions about his mental health.

On Tuesday, the parents were put in the hot seat by prosecutors as the State Attorney’s Office began digging deeper into the background of the 24-year-old, accused of murdering four people in Seminole Heights.

Prosecutors want answers about the young man at the center of the case.  Did he suffer from mental health issues?  What was his state of mind leading up to the murders?  Was he under psychiatric care at that time?

The state went straight to the source for the answers, sending a subpoena to the suspect’s mother and father.

Their answer – was no answer.

Defense attorney Ralph Fernandez is representing the parents.

On Tuesday after the parents were questioned, he shared with News Channel 8 the reaction of the mother and father when they were asked to provide details about their son. This is how the attorney described the reaction from his clients.

“One of the two said, ‘testify against our son,’” he said. “’You mean to testify against our baby?’”

Ultimately, the parents refused to give up any information about their son.

Each of them was questioned separately, in different rooms. They gave the same answer to every inquiry.

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