A Florida judge says the parents of a 24-year-old man suspected in a string of fatal shootings in a Tampa neighborhood must "show cause" on why they shouldn't be held in civil contempt for refusing to answer investigators' questions.
Judge Margaret Taylor on Thursday set a Jan. 5 hearing for Howell Jr. and Rosita Donaldson. They refused on Tuesday to answer questions about their son, Howell Donaldson III, who now faces four counts of first-degree murder.
The family's attorney, Ralph Fernandez, told the judge the parents are devastated, haven't slept and don't want to answer questions from prosecutors who are seeking "to make a decision about the life or death of their son."
Taylor said the state attorney's office has authority to subpoena the parents and question them. She added that the Donaldsons may go to the state attorney at any time before the court date if they choose to answer questions.
Their son was arrested Nov. 28.
The shootings, which began in early October, terrorized the Tampa neighborhood.