Shell Casings, Cell Phone Data Cited in Tampa Murders Arrest

A 24-year-old worker at a McDonald’s was charged in the Tampa murders that many had suspected were the work of a serial killer.

Shell casings and cell phone data link the man police arrested Tuesday to four recent murders in Tampa’s Seminole Heights area, reports the Tampa Bay Times. A police report offers new details in the evidence against Howell Emanuel Donaldson, III, 24, who was charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Investigators found SIG brand Smith & Wesson .40 caliber shell casings at all four of the locations where four people were found shot to death between Oct. 9 and Nov. 14. A forensic analysis concluded that shell casings from the first three murder scenes were fired from a Glock handgun that Donaldson admitted to purchasing on Oct. 3.

The casings found at the scene of the fourth murder were not available for comparison but had previously been identified as being fired from the same gun of the first three murders. It was that gun that Howell gave in a McDonald’s food bag to a coworker at a McDonald’s on Tuesday, saying he planned to leave the state. The co-worker turned the gun over to a Tampa police officer who was in the restaurant doing paperwork at the time. The Glock had a loaded magazine containing five unfired rounds of SIG brand Smith & Wesson .40 caliber ammunition, the report says.