Accused Seminole Heights serial killer: ‘I’m in pain, every day’

Hillsborough County

Video and audio files released by the State Attorney’s office Wednesday unveil intimate family conversations between accused Seminole Heights serial killer Howell Donaldson III and his parents. 

After more than a year behind bars awaiting trial, Donaldson told his parents Rosita and Howell Donaldson, Jr. during a January 20 video visitation that he was “broken” both physically and mentally. 

“I’m in pain, everyday,” he said. 

Donaldson goes on to explain during that visitation that he wanted to see a doctor. In a hearing less than two weeks later, he spoke out in court for the first time asking the judge for help. 

Multiple times Donaldson explains that he “doesn’t have control” of himself and what’s happening to him in jail. He also notes that he has to be mindful of what is discussed on the video visitation. 

There’s a tone Donaldson’s parent use in the recordings that make it very apparent they don’t view their son as the monster that many others do.

The Donaldsons have found themselves in trouble with the law during their son’s ordeal. A judge previously placed them on house arrest for refusing to cooperate with prosecutors. 

During the 45-minute recording from January 20, their love and support for their son never waivers.

“These dudes in here, they don’t care,” Donaldson said. 

“No, but we care and we’re going to do everything we can out here, son,” his parents said. “Just know that. We’re going to win this.” 

Also released Wednesday afternoon was a phone call between Donaldson and his parents from January 5. In that phone call, the accused killer talks about communication issues with his attorneys and feeling like everyone in jail was out to get him. 

At no point in the recordings do the Donaldsons ever discuss the crimes their son is accused of committing. 

News Channel 8 takes a closer look at the Seminole Heights serial killings in our 51 Days of Terror podcast. You can listen to all seven episodes now and learn more about the victims here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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