The parents of the suspected Tampa Bay serial killer are now headed to court themselves Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office
Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office

The parents of a suspected serial killer in Florida now face their own legal troubles for their lack of cooperation with investigators.

Last month, the Tampa Police Department arrested Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, 24, and charged him with the murders of four locals, all of which occurred in the same neighborhood only weeks apart.

Though investigators are attempting to look into the suspected serial killer, Donaldson’s parents have been less than helpful.

Circuit Judge Margaret Taylor ordered Howell Donaldson, Jr. and Rosita Donaldson to appear in court in January so that they can explain why she should not hold them in contempt of court.

Investigators have said that the parents refuse to answer questions about their son’s development, mental state, acquiring of a gun and several other leads that would help piece together evidence.

“They knew when they went in that they were not going to answer questions that would lead to the execution of their son,”  said Ralph Fernandez, attorney for Donaldson’s parents.

On the day Donaldson was arrested, police Chief Brian Dugan and Mayor Bob Buckhorn revealed in a press conference that the department received over 5,000 tips regarding the case.

Tampa police began to suspect that the suspicious deaths of three people were linked after they died in in the same area within 10 days of each other. As Rare previously reported: “The first murder occurred on Oct. 9, when Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was shot at a bus stop. Four days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa was found dead in a parking lot, and on Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot and killed while walking down the street.”

The fourth victim, Ronald Felton, 60, was killed in front of witnesses only two blocks away from a memorial for Mitchell, Hoffa and Naiboa. Felton was walking across the street to meet a friend when he was shot from behind.


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The Tampa Bay Police Department gathered and released security camera footage to aid in their search. The video showed an unidentified individual wearing a hoodie while walking and running in an area around the same time one of the victims, Mitchell, was shot and killed.

Buckhorn previously told police in a press conference, “Bring [the shooter’s] head to me,” bluntly promising police would “hunt this son of a bitch down until [they] catch him.”

Robert Hoffa, an uncle of victim Monica Hoffa, said that the arrest made him “overjoyed.”

“I am shaking right now because, like, I should be,” he said. “My hands are sweaty. I am just very joyed that we caught this killer and got him off the streets.”

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