TAMPA, Fla. — The parents of the accused Seminole Heights killer are refusing to answer prosecutors’ questions despite a court subpoena. That decision could land them in jail.
Howell Donaldson Jr., and his wife Rosita, walked in to meet with the prosecution team on Tuesday.
The couple are refusing to comply with a subpoena to answer questions about their son.
Their attorney Ralph Fernandez said the conversation was not combative.
“They were very polite and general questions about locations, relationships and prior physical and mental history,” said Fernandez.
When asked if prosecutors think that the parents know something pertinent to the investigation, Fernandez said, “No. I don’t know why they did this. I think that they want to know something, clearly.”
We learned the parents spoke with their son for the first time Friday via video conference for about two minutes. Fernandez says the couple became very emotional and had to be helped out of their chairs.
The parents of the accused Tampa serial killer defended their son’s character and expressed sympathy for victims at a press conference.
Howell (Trai) Donaldson III, 24, was arrested on Nov. 28 and charged with the four murders between Oct. 9 and Nov. 14 — killings that terrorized the city’s Seminole Heights neighborhood.
“Anybody that knows Trai knows that’s not Trai,” Rosita Donaldson, the suspect’s mother, said Friday. “He doesn’t have the personality or that characteristic that they’re giving him. That’s not my son.”
Rosita said she felt devastation for the families since the killings started, and that those emotions intensified when her son was arrested.
He wrote “4 Stop Wait Time” in the blood of his fourth victim, a macabre message from the mind of a suspected serial killer. Detectives say the “4” represented the number of killings a man committed in the wee hours on the streets of Fort Lauderdale and Lauderhill.
Next to the body of the fourth victim, Derick Westley Tucker, 46: a blood-covered handsaw and machete and the scrawled message.
But detectives think the suspect was hasty in assigning his number. His unnamed second victim who was shot in the neck and left for dead remains hospitalized in critical condition.
The victims — five targeted, three killed — were all homeless men. At a news conference Wednesday, Fort Lauderdale police, who teamed with detectives from Lauderhill, said they have charged security guard Nathaniel Maurice Petgrave with the murders. The Broward Sheriff’s Office report lists three counts of premeditated murder, committing or
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Detectives believe Nathaniel Petgrave used a victim’s blood to write “4 STOP WAIT TIME” on the floor. They think Petgrave chose the number “4” because he thought the victim was his fourth and didn’t know one of his victims survived.
Police said Petgrave shot two homeless men, ages 65 and 68, in their sleep Oct. 20 at a gas station at 3609 W. Broward Blvd. in Lauderhill.
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Detectives believe Nathaniel Maurice Petgrave used a victim’s blood to write “4 STOP WAIT TIME” on the floor. They think he chose the number four because he thought this person was his fourth victim, and he didn’t know one of his victims survived.
His first alleged victim was Larry Scott, 65, who died at 3609 W. Broward Blvd., in Lauderhill. The Oct. 20 shooting left a 68-year-old man wounded. John Jackson, 50, was his next victim, police said. Petgrave is accused of shooting Jackson in the head at 110 NW 11 Ave., Oct. 21.
A Baton Rouge police officer found instructions for searching the web anonymously through a “state of the art cryptography tool” during a search of accused killer Kenneth Gleason’s house, according to warrants filed Thursday.
Gleason, who is white, is accused of killing two black men and shooting at the home of a black family who lived down the street, all within the same week. He was identified as a suspect after the final shooting on Sept. 14 and booked on first-degree murder counts days later. Baton Rouge police initially said the killings may have been racially motivated, but haven’t elaborated on any motive since Gleason’s arrest.
An attorney has said Gleason “vehemently denies guilt.”
During the initial searches of Gleason’s Sandy Ridge Drive home on Sept. 16 and Sept. 17, investigators found three computers, a green notebook and other items. They returned on Sept. 27 to look for any DVDs, thumb drives, USBs or any other