Prosecutors seek death penalty for suspected Florida serial killer

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |  Jan. 23, 2018 at 5:53 PM
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Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A Florida prosecutor announced Tuesday he intends to seek the death penalty for Howell Donaldson III, the man suspected of killing four people in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa in the fall.

Donaldson, 24, faces four counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of four people over the course of 51 days in October and November.

State attorney Andrew Warren said he wants capital punishment for the suspect during a news conference.

"The law is clear. The death penalty is reserved for the most aggravated and least mitigated capital offenses," Warren said. "This case -- in which in which the defendant murdered four innocent victims in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner -- qualifies."

Warren said he consulted with the families of the victims -- Benjamin Mitchell, 22, Monica Hoffa, 32, Anthony Naiboa, 20, and Ronald Felton, 60 -- when determining how to proceed.

"They've chosen to participate in this process, fighting through their anger and their tears, and we are grateful for their trust," Warren said.

Donaldson's family said they hope Warren will change his mind.

"It's upsetting to the family to know that this is on the table," said A.J. Alvarez, Donaldson's attorney.

The suspect's parents, Howell Donaldson Jr. and Rosita Donaldson, are facing civil contempt charges because they allegedly refused to answer prosecutors' questions about their son.

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