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Photos of gun, crime scene released in Seminole Heights Killings case against Howell Donaldson III

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jul 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-30 20:41:01-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The State Attorney released hundreds of photos of evidence on Monday in the case against accused Seminole Heights killer, Howell Donaldson III.  

The images include the .40 caliber Glock firearm with SIG brand Smith and Wesson ammunition, investigators say was used to murder Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton in 2017.

Donaldson is charged with four counts of First-Degree Murder.

On July 26, Donaldson was found competent to stand trial after he was evaluated by medical doctors. 

A tip about a man with a gun at a McDonald's in Ybor City, ultimately led Tampa police to the 24-year-old suspect, also known as "Trai," last November.

The arrest affidavit said Donaldson gave consent to conduct a search of his car and cell phone as well as permission to examine his firearm at the F.D.L.E. laboratory. Evidence from the search of his vehicle, examination of the firearm and cell phone records ultimately led police to charge Donaldson.

The F.D.L.E. comparison of the Glock firearm to the cartridge casings revealed that the cartridge casings, which were recovered in the first three murders, were fired in the Glock firearm, according to investigators. 

The investigation into the firearm's purchase revealed that Donaldson bought the firearm on October 3, 2017, and he picked it up on October 7. His purchase was in accordance with the mandatory wait period, which requires three days between purchase and delivery of a firearm, according to the Florida Constitution.

Receipts further revealed that Donaldson purchased a 20-round box of SIG brand Smith and Wesson ammunition on October 7.

When police searched Donaldson's car, they found clothing that looked like the clothes worn by the subject captured in surveillance video the night Benjamin Mitchell was murdered. The arrest affidavit states that police saw what appeared to be a blood stain on an article of clothing.


  • Monday, October 9: Benjamin Mitchell, 22 was killed at approximately 9 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 11: Monica Hoffa, 32, was shot. Her body was found on October 13.
  • Thursday, October 19: Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot at approximately 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 14: Ronald Felton, 60, was shot at approximately 4:51 a.m. 
  • Tuesday, November 28: Howell Emanuel Donaldson III was arrested and charged with each of the murders.

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