TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The attorneys for the accused Seminole Heights serial killer are trying to save his life.
Howell Donaldson’s attorneys filed a motion to rule out the death penalty, citing under state and federal law, the indictment fails to allege the elements of a crime punishable by the death penalty.
In 2018, the State of Florida listed the aggravating factors they intend to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in their notice of intent to seek the death penalty.
New court documents say the prosecution did not present those factors to the Grand Jury and they weren’t listed in the indictment. Donaldson’s attorneys say their client’s rights were violated.
Bryant Camareno is a criminal trial lawyer in Tampa, not involved in this case. He doesn’t believe Donaldson’s attorneys will win the motion.
He says in state law, there’s no requirement when you indict someone you have to list aggravating circumstances that support the death penalty.
“It’s a very novel, creative argument, I think it needs to be done,” Camareno said. “There might be, at some point if he’s convicted and the death penalty is imposed, there may be a judge who agrees with that argument.”
Donaldson is accused of terrorizing the Seminole Heights community in 2017 for 51 days, shooting and killing four people during that time. He faces four separate trials. Camareno believes Donaldson’s attorneys are trying to give him some hope.
Donaldson is back in court Thursday.