January contempt hearing set for parents of suspect in Seminole Heights killings

January contempt hearing set for parents of suspect in Seminole Heights killings

January contempt hearing set for parents of suspect in Seminole Heights killings

Circuit Judge Margaret Taylor set a new court date of January 5, when the Donaldsons will have to explain their refusal to answer questions.

The parents of the 24-year-old man suspected in a string of fatal shootings in a Florida neighborhood will go before a judge after they refused to answer investigator's questions about their son. "That's the goal of this motion ultimately; that's our intent and our hope they would comply and answer our questions".

Howell Donaldson III, the suspect in four connected Seminole Heights slayings, was indicted on four counts of first-degree murder by a grand jury, state attorney Andrew Warren announced Thursday afternoon.

"I can not fathom a worse scenario than a parent having to testify against their child in such a serious matter", attorney Ralph Fernandez told CNN on Wednesday. It's likely a court reporter will be made available for a private interview if they choose to answer questions.

Benjamin Mitchell, 22 was killed at approximately 9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 9.

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The Donaldsons were subpoenaed by prosecutors to, according to court documents, give information about their son's "developmental history, mode of transportation, gun possession and ownership, and state of mind".

"Mr. Donaldsons refusal to testify. despite having received a court- authorized subpoena, constitutes indirect criminal contempt of this Honorable Court", Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner wrote in a motion filed Wednesday in a motion that names the father. "They have an interest in protecting their child", he said. An employee of a McDonalds in Ybor City, where Donaldson worked, called police after he handed her a food bag that held a gun, according to police.

Fernandez questioned why prosecutors would take such an "extraordinary step", given the evidence they claim to have against the younger Donaldson.

"They elected not to discuss any matters that they were asked about because they are not going to be witnesses against their son", said Donaldson's parents' attorney, Ralph Fernandez.

He faces four charges of murder and could receive the death penalty if convicted. A pretrial detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday was canceled because the case has not yet been assigned to a division. She said the family had frequent gatherings around the holidays.

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Attorneys for the family declined to comment on whether they had seen the surveillance video of the suspect that police released weeks ago.

"I think its important to safeguard these truly significant family values in this time of tremendous family stress", he said. Instead, the parents spoke emotionally about their family and the families of the victims.

The Donaldsons held a news conference last Friday, stating their "devastation" at the news of their son's arrest and how they prayed for the families of the victims.

"Within days of this tragedy striking, you know, devastated as they are, exhausted", Fernandez said.

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