State attorney will seek death penalty for Seminole Heights serial killer

State attorney will seek death penalty for Seminole Heights serial killer

State Attorney Andrew Warren announced he intends to seek the death penalty for a 24-year-old man accused of killing four people in southeast Seminole Heights last year.

Howell Emanuel Donaldson III was arrested Nov. 28 after police said he handed a bag containing a handgun to a co-worker at a McDonald's restaurant near the Tampa neighborhood where the four victims had apparently been randomly shot in October and November.

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Howell Donaldson III.

Warren said that while they cannot bring back the victims, prosecutors "can seek justice for their deaths, and we will".

Warren said there is no evidence of mental illness or any other mitigating factor that would stop them from going forward with the death penalty.

Donaldson's family said they hope Warren will change his mind.

He also said that at first, some families of the victims favored a death penalty for Donaldson while others preferred a life sentence, but in the end, all favored a death sentence.

"It's upsetting to the family to know that this is on the table", said A.J. Alvarez, Donaldson's attorney.

Warren said the victims were killed in a "cold and calculating manner".

So far both parents are scheduled to appear in court later this week on the issue but have refused to do so citing a parental privilege for which there is little if any precedent. "And as much as I empathize with their awful situation, they have a legal duty to provide that information", said Warren.

State attorney Andrew Warren said he wants capital punishment for the suspect during a news conference.

During the news conference, Warren said that his office made a decision to pursue the death penalty due to several factors.

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