The Daily Moth 11-29-17

November 30, 2017



Tampa “Serial Killer” Suspect Arrested; Unqualified Interpreter for Tampa Bay Press Conference?; NBC Fires Matt Lauer from “Today” Show After Sexual Misconduct Complaint; President Trump Retweets Anti-Islam Videos; News Briefs: Gunman Killed After Shooting in Reno, Bosnian Croat Military Chief Drinks Poison After Sentencing, Updates on NoKo Missile




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, November 29. Ready for news? 




Last night the Tampa Police Chief said they have arrested and charged a suspect in connection to the four deaths, one of them a CODA woman, in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood. 


His name is Howell Donaldson III (24), who lived in Tampa. How was he caught? 


He was working at a McDonalds in Ybor City, which is a few miles south of Seminole Heights. 


Yesterday afternoon he pulled up at the restaurant in a red Mustang car — (which might be his father’s car) — wearing a McDonalds uniform and went inside while carrying a loaded handgun in a bag. 


He gave the bag to his manager, asking her to hold it for him while he went outside to get a payday loan. 


The manager talked with other employees on what to do with the gun, then saw a police officer who was seated inside, working on paperwork. 


The officer called for backup. Several other police officers showed up and waited for Howell to come back to the restaurant — then arrested him and took him away for questioning. Police taped off the red Mustang and the restaurant as crime scene.


The police chief, Brian Dugan, briefed reporters at the McDonalds that the arrest was related to the murders, but did not share much details. 


Then at 11 pm, Chief Dugan hosted a press conference — (an interpreter was present) — in which he confirmed that they have arrested Howell and charged him with four counts of murder. They said people who lived in Seminole Heights now can have a good night’s sleep. 


Tampa Mayor Buckhorn said, “51 days go I said this was a struggle between good and evil — and that tonight, goodness has won.” 


The arrest report said key evidence is the gun he had, a Glock gun with .40 caliber Smith & Wesson bullets. The same kind of bullets were found at all four of the murder scenes. 


Howell told police that he bought the gun at Shooter’s World in Tampa on October 3, but had to wait for a mandatory four days before he could pick it up. On October 6, he picked up his gun and bought a 20-round box of .40 caliber Smith & Wesson ammo. 


The first murder was on October 9. Then there were three more deaths, with the most recent on November 14.


Police also saw that Howell’s cell phone data records showed he was in the Seminole Heights area on the same dates and times as the murders. 


In the Ford Mustang car, police found clothes that matched with previously released surveillance videos of the suspect. There was a blood stain. 


Police said he did not admit to the killings — and did not share a motive for why he did them. 


Howell is now jailed at the Hillsborough County jail, held without bail. His first court appearance will be tomorrow (Thursday). 


It’s not clear if the two McDonalds employees will get the $110,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Many say they should get it. 


Howell grew up in Tampa and went on to graduate from from St. John’s University in New York, then worked for the New York Mets baseball team, Adidas, the NBA. It’s not clear what happened between the time he worked for the NBA to working for McDonalds. His family is known in Tampa for running a hair and beauty school, Shear Excellence. 


Howell has not been convicted guilty — he will get his day in court. But for the families of the four victims, Benjamin Mitchell (22), Monica Hoffa (32) — (I interviewed her mother Olga at the beginning of this month), Anthony Naiboa (20), and Ronald Felton (60), there is some closure as they are seeing justice in progress.


Daily Moth Interview with Olga:




The interpreter for Tampa Police’s 11 pm press conference last night didn’t seem to be qualified — from my observations, she didn’t sign clearly and her spelling was incoherent. There were some comments on Facebook by people saying she was not qualified. 


I called a spokesperson for the Tampa Bay Police Department. He said he couldn’t give information about last night’s interpreter, he said she was “available.”  


He said there was a different interpreter today for another press conference who worked for the city — and I checked on Tampa Police’s Facebook page — and the person appeared to be qualified with clear, articulate signing. 


I asked on which agency the police contracted with for the one last night, but the person said he couldn’t respond immediately — due to the department being very busy. We are still in touch and I’ll provide more information as they come.  


It is possible this is yet another issue in the Tampa area with an “unqualified” interpreter — we remember the one who attempted to interpret an emergency press conference during Hurricane Irma at Manatee County. 


More updates later. 


Nov 28 11 pm conference:


Nov 29 Conference:




This morning NBC announced they fired long-time TV host Matt Lauer after a complaint was raised by an employee about him doing inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. 


Lauer had worked for the “Today” show with co-host Savannah Guthrie. This morning Savannah, with a substitute host Hoda Kotb — announced the news — with Lauer no longer there. Savannah said it was a sad morning, she was heartbroken, that Lauer was a dear friend, but that she is heartbroken for the brave employee who shared her story. 


The New York Times reported that NBC News’ president, Andrew Lack, got information about a complaint Monday night from a lawyer representing the female complainant. Lack then saw other information that showed Lauer might have done sexual misconduct other times — so they decided to terminate his employment. 


It’s not yet revealed what Lauer did. Some media reports say it was related to an incident during the Winter Olympics in Russia in 2014. There appears to be other media that were doing investigations in him — we might see more information come out later.




Another day, another round of controversy for President Trump. This morning he was sharply criticized for retweeting three videos by Jayda Fransen, who is a part of a far-right, anti-Islam group — “Britain First.” 


The tweets had video clips that said, “Muslim beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”, “Muslim destroys a state of Virgin Mary!”, and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!” 


The videos had no sources or background information on where it was filmed — it appears to just be clips that portrays Muslims in a negative light. 


Today media sources said one of the videos was from a protest in Egypt in 2013, while the second video (Dutch boy) — was from an incident this year and the assaulter was not an immigrant but born and raised in Holland. So the videos appear to be falsely labeled, but Trump shared them anyway. 


Jayda was excited that Trump retweeted her — she tweeted that the President of the United States has retweeted three of her tweet videos. She said, “God bless you Trump, God bless America!” 


Jayda was convicted guilty in 2016 of religious harassment for verbally abusing a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, and fined 2,000 GBP. She was also charged with hate speech in August and will go trial on December 14. 


Britain First calls itself a political party that has tried to get elected representatives in the UK parliament, but has not succeeded. Jayda said the organization’s looks at Islam as the biggest threat to the world. 


The UK Prime Minister Theresa May said through a spokesperson that it was wrong for Trump to share the videos, because the group Britain First seeks to divide communities with hate and lies to stoke tensions. 


The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it was unbelievable that Trump would issue materials that basically say, “Hate Muslims. I want you to hate Muslims” — that this kind of posting would show up on anti-Muslim hate groups. 


But the White House Press Sec. Sanders said the point is not the videos itself, but that the “threat is real” — that there is a need for national security and military spending. 


Several British lawmakers said Trump was not welcome there and that the invitation for him to visit the country should be withdrawn. There has not yet been a scheduled date. 


This afternoon Jayda released a video on Twitter asking for help with her upcoming December 14 court case, saying she faces prison for her criticism of Islam — and asked Trump to intervene on her behalf. 


So all this is another major controversy for Trump and this appears to have a huge impact on how the U.K. perceives Trump and the U.S.




News Briefs: 


1— Last night in Reno, Nevada — a gunman fired shots from high up at a luxury apartment — the Montage complex — towards a street below. A woman was injured in her hand, but there was no other injuries or deaths. 


Police responded to the shooting and found the gunman on a 8th floor apartment with a female hostage and killed him. The hostage is safe. The gunman’s identity has not been released, but police said he is a young adult with a rifle who had 20 to 50 bullets and fired occasionally for 20 minutes.  


It raised fears of another shooting similar to the Las Vegas shooting in September. It’s a relief nobody except for the gunman died. 


2 — There was an international war crimes tribunal for a former Bosnian Croat military chief accused of genocide, for killing Muslims to try to create a mini-state. His name is Slobodan Praljak (72). When a judge said he was to stay in prison for 20 years, he shouted, “Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal!” and drank a small container of liquid, then announced that he drank poison. The court was suspended, he was rushed to the hospital, but he died. 


3 — Update on North Korea’s ballistic missile launch yesterday — it was a new kind of missile, named a Hwasong-15. It flew 10 times higher than the International Space Station, going up 2,800 miles above Earth’s surface. 


See this illustration by Twitter user Scott LaFoy to visualize the trajectory of the missile. 


U.S. Defense Sec. Mattis said it was the highest missile launch ever. 


North Korea announced that the test was done with a heavy, large warhead (to simulate a possible nuclear warhead). NoKo said they now can strike any location in the US. mainland (if they aimed the missile lower). 


Yesterday’s missile was the 18th test since Trump became president. Trump said we will take care of it, that it is a situation we will handle.





That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light! 




























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