Accused Tampa serial killer will face death penalty if convicted

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The man accused of killing four people in separate shootings last year in a Tampa neighborhood could face the death penalty if he’s convicted of the crimes.

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren will seek the death penalty against Howell “Trai” Donaldson III, said Hillsborough County Circuit Court spokesman Mike Moore on Tuesday.

Authorities have not released a motive for the killings, and it’s not yet known when Donaldson’s trial might begin. His next court hearing is Friday.

Residents of the Seminole Heights neighborhood feared a serial killer was on the loose after the shootings – on October 9, 11, 19 and November 14, 2017 – left four people dead.

Anthony Naiboa, Monica Hoffa, Benjamin Mitchell and Ronald Felton were shot and killed in seemingly random attacks as they walked alone at night in the neighborhood.

Donaldson was arrested November 28 after police recovered a gun they said had been used in the four killings. Donaldson admitted he owned the gun but did not admit to the killings, authorities said.

He was indicted December 7 on four counts of premeditated murder with a firearm.

The suspect’s parents, Rosita and Howell Donaldson Jr., could face contempt charges because they’re not cooperating with investigators, according to their attorney. They are also scheduled to appear in court Friday.

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