Parents of Florida murder suspect refuse to answer questions

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In a twist in the Seminole Heights serial killer case, the suspect's parents may be held in contempt of court for refusing to answer questions about their son.

The judge questioned whether the goal was to punish the parents or simply to get them to comply with subpoenas.

"They elected not to discuss any matters that they were asked about because they are not going to be witnesses against their son", said Donaldson's parents' attorney, Ralph Fernandez.

The judge will weigh whether they have legal just cause for not answering certain questions posed to them by investigators.

5 hearing for Howell Donaldson Jr. and Rosita Donaldson. "And when that duty is explained to them by a judge, theyre willing to provide us answers".

But mostly, he said, they are anxious that anything they might say could lead prosecutors to seek the death penalty against their son or help put him on death row.

The judge opted to pursue indirect civil contempt in place of criminal contempt, and gave the Donaldson's until after the holidays to prove their case.

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"I'm not suggesting they have any direct knowledge, but I'm not suggesting they don't", he said. "I still believe in an America that respects that great family value". We will not testify against their son. Answers to those questions potentially could be used to determine whether Donaldson III murdered four people this fall in Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood.

He was arrested after a co-worker at McDonald's tipped off police about a gun he left at the restaurant.

Howell Jr. and Rosita Donaldsons attorney, Ralph Fernandez, said their refusal to answer questions is meant to to avoid further emotional pain.

"We're doing everything we can using all mechanisms possible to build as strong a case as possible to seek justice for the victim's families, for the residents of Seminole Heights and the entire community".

The Tampa Bay Times reports Rosita Donaldson told investigators she and her husband also have a 28-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son.

"This is a rarity", State Attorney Andrew Warren said while addressing the issue on Wednesday.

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