Accused Seminole Heights killer’s mental competency hearing set for June

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Accused Seminole Heights killer Howell “Trai” Donaldson III was in court Thursday morning for a hearing about his mental competency.

Donaldson’s psychological report, assigned to psychologist Dr. Richard Carpenter, was due Tuesday.  Details about Donaldson’s mental competency report were not released at the hearing. 

The judge scheduled a two-hour hearing for 9 a.m. on June 29. Dr. Richard Carpenter will be subpoenaed to appear at the hearing. The judge asked Donaldson if he understood. Donaldson nodded to the judge and said, “I do.” 

Donaldson is charged with four counts of first-degree murder for the shooting deaths of  Benjamin MitchellMonica HoffaAnthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton.  They were shot within a half mile of each other. No connection between the victims was ever found.

On April 25, Judge Mark Wolfe granted the defense’s motion to have Donaldson evaluated by a court-appointed psychologist, Dr. Richard Carpenter.

That report was due Tuesday, May 29. 

According to Florida Statute 916.12, the psychologist’s report should specifically include the defendant’s capacity to:
(a) Appreciate the charges or allegations against the defendant.
(b) Appreciate the range and nature of possible penalties, if applicable, that may be imposed in the proceedings against the defendant.
(c) Understand the adversarial nature of the legal process.
(d) Disclose to counsel facts pertinent to the proceedings at issue.
(e) Manifest appropriate courtroom behavior.
(f) Testify relevantly.

Over the last few months, dozens of documents of discovery evidence have been released in the case showing Donaldson’s movements between a friend’s and his parents’ house during the time of the murders.

Some of the documents revealed that Tampa police hadn’t searched either of those homes.


 24-year-old Howell Donaldson III is accused of killing four people in a string of recent murders that terrorized the Seminole Heights community.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

April 24 2021 08:00 am

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss