Howell "Trae" Donaldson III is the man that Florida authorities suspect of being the so-called "Seminole Heights Killer." Over a 51-day period in 2017, Donaldson randomly targeted and killed four people. The victims included Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Ronald Felton, and Anthony Naiboa.

According to court transcripts obtained first by the Tampa Bay Times last week, police investigators believe that Donaldson visited an internet pornography site on his phone immediately after three of the murders. In a warrant published by Oxygen, police officials say, "In summary, Howell Donaldson showed a pattern of visiting this adult-themed website after committing three homicides." Florida officials have yet to release the exact name of the website that Donaldson visited, but have said that the website allows users to interact with private models.

These findings were made public knowledge on Friday when police released 1,500 pages of investigative reports. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, police have long focused their investigation on Donaldson's phone. Specifically, police officers used Donaldson's phone to track his movements on October 9 and November 14, 2017 -- the timeline of the four murders. The San Francisco Chronicle also says that Donaldson's cell phone records included some 269 "Internet activities" involving pornographic material.

Killing spree

Donaldson, 25, was finally arrested by police on November 28, 2017. Police arrested the suspected serial killer after fellow employees at McDonald's noticed that he attempted to throw away a garbage bag containing a handgun.

Donaldson's victims were all shot to death, with all being complete strangers. Two victims were 60-year-old men, one victim was an autistic youth, and another was a 30-year-old woman walking home from her aunt's house.

Prior to becoming a suspected murderer, Donaldson attended St. John's University in New York City for five years.

Here, Donaldson played basketball for the school's team during the 2011-2012 season. The online sports website Bleacher Report has said that Donaldson was well-liked by his teammates and was considered a hard worker.

When questioned by police after his arrest, Donaldson stated that he was in the process of trying to move back to New York.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Donaldson told one of the detectives, "I'm just trying to get my education and further my career," he said. "I just want to do good in the world."


Very little has been published about Donaldson's motivations. In April, Donaldson was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation after his attorneys claimed that he suffers from several mental disorders. If Donaldson is declared mentally competent enough to stand trial, then prosecuting attorneys plan on pursuing the death penalty, according to Fox 13 in Tampa.