Howell Donaldson III, the suspect in the Seminole Heights slayings, was indicted on four counts of first-degree murder by a grand jury, state attorney Andrew Warren announced Thursday afternoon.
Donaldson, 24, was arrested Nov. 28 after he handed a food bag, containing what police say is the gun used in all four Seminole Heights murders, to his boss at an Ybor City McDonald’s, according to Tampa police.
His parents have refused to answer the prosecutor’s questions regarding their son. They have been given until Jan. 5 to cooperate, or else they risk being fined or contempt of court charges.
Warren said the next step in the case is for the Donaldson to be arraigned. That court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.
Warren did not say whether he would pursue the death penalty for Donaldson. However, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has previously voiced his opinion on the matter.
“If he is found to be guilty, then he should die. It’s that simple,” he told reporters at a press conference held Nov. 29, the day after Donaldson’s arrest.
Warren said he met with the victim’s families Wednesday for two hours to discuss the prosecution and what comes next.
“We intend to prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law,” said Warren.
Police say the evidence against Donaldson is compelling. According to police reports, he admitted that .40-caliber Glock is his, and ballistic reports confirm that it is the weapon used to kill all four victims.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said Donaldson purchased the gun and a 20-round box of bullets from Shooter’s World in Tampa on Oct. 3. He picked the gun up from the shop after the four-day waiting period, and the killed the first victim just two days later, police say.
The ammunition found inside the gun matched the casings found at all four murder scenes, according to the arrest report.
Detectives have also retrieved geographical cellphone records from Donaldson’s phone that place him in the areas of the homicides on Oct. 9, 11 and 19.
Donaldson has not admitted to any of the killings.
Benjamin Mitchell, 22 was killed at approximately 9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 9.
Monica Hoffa, 32, was shot on Wednesday, Oct. 11, and her body was found two days later.
Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot at approximately 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19.
Ronald Felton, 60, was shot at approximately 4:51 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14.