Parents of accused Seminole Heights killer refuse to testify against their son

The parents of Howell "Trai" Donaldson, III refuse to testify against him.

Donaldson is the man accused in four Seminole Heights killings. Now his parents may be in trouble with the law themselves.

They could be served with a notice that they are in contempt of court as early as Wednesday. Their lawyer, Ralph Fernandez says a court hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Fernandez says Rosita and Howell Donaldson, Jr. are refusing to testify against their son, for which they could face either a fine or jail.

They were subpoenaed by prosecutors to give information about the background of their son. They only agreed to give the basics but would say nothing about their son.

That includes any mental health information or anything about what he was like in the days leading up to the shootings.

Fernandez says it is unreasonable to expect parents to be able to testify against their son.

"They are willing to go to jail not to testify against their son," he said. "They believe in America. That is a core value of the religious, principled, patriotic segment of the population. We will not testify against their son. This goes back to the early days of the Bible."

He says they had a two-minute video conference on Friday with their son at the jail, and that the parents were so emotional, they were unable to stand afterward.

"The assets of law enforcement are a monster," said Fernandez. "The assets of a couple and their son are limited, regardless of what the person is charged with. To bring the family in and do that, when you have everything else at your disposal, to everyone, that seems like significant overkill."

Fernandez says they had a polite conversation with prosecutors, but they will have to explain to a judge why they did what they did.