Howell Donaldson III indicted by grand jury, state attorney says

Last Updated: Friday, December 08, 2017, 7:42 AM EST

A grand jury has returned an indictment against the suspect in the Seminole Heights slayings.

Howell Donaldson III, 24, is facing four charges of first-degree murder.

State Attorney Andrew Warren on Thursday said Donaldson will be arraigned Dec. 12. Donaldson will be able to enter a plea during the hearing.

He was arrested Nov. 28 at the Ybor City McDonald's where he worked. He was detained after a co-worker told police that Donaldson handed her a bag with a gun inside and told her to watch it for him. The co-worker alerted a police officer that was in the McDonald's.

Seminole Heights residents and police had been on edge since Oct. 9, when 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell was shot to death.

Two days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa, was slain. And on Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was killed after taking the wrong bus home from his new job. On Nov. 14, 60-year-old Ronald Felton was shot and killed.

Investigators have been following thousands of tips and leads that came in, interviewing family members of the victims and talking to Donaldson III's family.

The parents were in court on Thursday morning. A judge told Howell Donaldson Jr. and his wife, Rosita Donaldson to return Jan. 5 to "show cause as to why they should not be held in indirect civil contempt" for not answering certain questions posted to them by investigators.

Ralph Fernandez, the attorney for the parents, said they "have been devastated not just for the personal tragedy" but for everything that's happened.

State Prosecutor Jay Pruner argued there is no privilege which allows the parents to avoid answering questions.