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Public defender wants delay to Seminole Heights serial killer case

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HILLSBOROUGH CO., Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County Public Defender Julianne Holt says she doesn’t believe the alleged Seminole Heights serial killer case can be tried this year.

Holt, who is personally representing the man charged with the four murders, made the comments Sunday morning on Politics On Your Side, WFLA News Channel 8’s weekly local political show.

Howell “Trai” Donaldson III is charged with the murders of Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton.

The trial is scheduled to begin August 20.

“I don’t believe this case can be tried any sooner than 2 years from now,” Holt said, referencing the nearly 50,000 pages of discovery documents and 300 witnesses. “I don’t think the judge is going to let me delay it for 2 years.”

Holt, who also announced she is running for re-election in November, said the case is overwhelming.

“I don’t believe that that August date is a realistic date,” Holt said. “We’re still receiving discovery in this case.” While Holt has personally taken the case, her office is working collectively to gather the evidence.

“The big part will be, let’s take the discovery depositions,” said Holt. “There’s still 250 of those to do.”

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