TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Attorney’s for Howell Donaldson III are asking for important records to be thrown out of his trial.
Donaldson is accused of killing four people in 2017. The murders of Benjamin Edward Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton occurred between Oct. 9 and Nov. 14 and seemed to be random.
Police arrested Donaldson, after the manager of a McDonald’s turned in a weapon that an employee had given to her. Donaldson was identified as the employee. He later told police he had given his manager the weapon for safe keeping, as he planned to go out of town.
Police examined the weapon and obtained cell phone data from Donaldson’s phone. The defense is asking for that information to be kept out of his upcoming trial.
Right after his arrest, police questioned Donaldson for more than four hours and asked for permission to test the firearm and Donaldson agreed, even signing a form to allow the test.
A detective then showed Donaldson photos of the four victims and he claimed he didn’t know anything about them.
Finally, the detective confronted Donaldson with even more information.
“It’s the gun. Okay. You murdered those people. The jacket you were wearing in the video that we showed you that you claimed not to be able to identify, it’s in your car. Okay? Your phone puts you right there at specific times,” Tampa Police Detective Kenny Knightlinger told Donaldson.
The defense is asking for any statements Donaldson made during the interview, his cell phone records, the search of his vehicle to be thrown out, calling his detention and subsequent arrest illegal.