Trial date set in 2020 for accused Seminole Heights killer

Image 1 of 2

A tentative court date in 2020 has been set for Howell Donaldson III.

Donaldson was 24 years old when he was arrested in November 2017. He is accused of killing four innocent people in Seminole Heights. The trial is scheduled for August 10, 2020.

Months ago, he complained to the judge about how miserable he has been in jail. During a jailhouse call with his parents, he vocalized similar complaints. Those phone calls were released to the media in April.

"I am literally trying to get through every day," Donaldson is heard saying. 

In the following month, Hillsborough County public defender Dana Herce-Fulgueira said the public has no right to hear those conversations and could jeopardize a fair trial. Donaldson's defense team argued that the negative pre-trial publicity could taint a jury pool. 

Hillsborough Judge Mark Wolfe ruled that one specific jailhouse call won't be made public, but if the defense wants other calls banned, he would address them on a case-by-case basis.