Interpreter delivered confusion during Seminole Heights news conference

Hearing impaired people tuning into a news conference about the arrest of a suspected serial killer in Florida got a message of gibberish as they watched an American Sign Language interpreter.

Tampa Police Department spokeswoman Janelle McGregor said officials are conducting an internal review because they didn't request an interpreter for the Nov. 28 news conference. Police identified the individual as Derlyn Roberts.

Police Chief Brian Dugan announced the arrest of 24-year-old Howell Donaldson III that day.

Rachelle Settambrino, who teaches sign language at the University of South Florida, told the Tampa Bay Times the interpreter  signed the following: "Fifty-one hours ago, zero 12 22 (indecipherable) murder three minutes in 14 weeks ago in old (indecipherable) murder four five 55,000 plea 10 arrest murder bush (indecipherable) three age 24."

The next day, a new interpreter was at the news conference.

Tampa police issued the following statement:

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We have an internal review going on to determine who sent her and how she ended up at the Nov. 28th news conference.
After the news conference we found out that she didn’t meet our standards. We have a contract with Purple Communications in Tampa that’s who we request our interpreters from.

We didn’t request an interpreter for this press conference so now we have an internal review taking place to see if someone requested that she attend or exactly who sent her to provide services.

Immediately after the press conference we got feedback and determine she didn’t meet up to our standards.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.