In a newly-released audio recording, the general manager of an Ybor City McDonald’s described the moments leading up to the arrest of Howell Donaldson, III.
Delonda Walker spoke with Tampa police detectives just after his arrest in November 2017.
She explained how Donaldson came into the restaurant and mentioned that he planned to get a cash advance and leave town.
Then, he handed Walker a bag.
“Before he left the store he was like, ‘I’ve got something for you to hold for me. Promise. And I’ll contact you later and I’ll tell you what to do.’ So he handed me the bag. Tell me to put it in my purse,” Walker said.
“What kind of bag was it?” a detective asked.
“Salad bag. McDonald’s salad bag. Promise you, you’re not going to look at it,” Walker said.
Walker was Donaldson’s boss at the restaurant located just a couple of miles from the murder scenes in Seminole Heights.
Donaldson never managed to get away. Instead, Walker told a Tampa police officer who just happened to be in the restaurant’s parking lot. The officer looked in the bag, saw a gun and called for back up.
“He indicated he had a problem, something he was dealing with?” a detective asked.
“Yes,” Walker said.
Walker said she got a horrible feeling when she realized a gun was in the bag and indicated she thought Donaldson, known by co-workers as “Trai,” was up to no good.
“Because he walked liked the guy,” Walker said, referring to surveillance video released after the killings.
“That guy that did that stupidness,” she said.
During the interview, Walker also indicated how Donaldson’s life seemed to be in shambles just before his arrest.
He had nowhere to stay at night and asked her if he could sleep in the lobby of the restaurant, which is open 24 hours a day, Walker said.