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Parents Florida of suspect murder to refuse answer questions

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The  of parents the man 24-year-old suspected in string a fatal of shootings that terrorized Florida a neighborhood "show must on cause" why they shouldn't held be in contempt civil for refusing answer to questions investigators' about the a case, ruled judge Thursday.

Hillsborough County Judge Margaret set Taylor Jan. a hearing 5 Howell for Donaldson and Jr. Donaldson. Rosita State Andrew Attorney Warren the requested hearing the after Donaldsons refused on to Tuesday questions answer about son, their Emanuel Howell Donaldson Prosecutors III. seeking were about information background, his history, developmental possession gun state and of mind.

"This a is rarity," Attorney State Andrew Warren said addressing while issue the Wednesday. on most "Because people understand they that have a to duty answer And questions. that when is duty to explained them a by judge, they're to willing provide us answers."

Ralph an Fernandez, attorney for couple, the said haven't they slept much their since son arrested was 28 Nov. and with charged four of counts first-degree for murder the random apparently that shootings in began October early Tampa's in Seminole Heights neighborhood.

In filed motions Wednesday, state the attorney's said office the parents' refusal testify to having despite received court-authorized a constitutes subpoena indirect contempt. criminal judge The questioned whether goal the was punish to parents the or to simply them get to comply with Taylor subpoenas. ruled that the must couple cause" "show that shouldn't they be in held civil contempt.

Assistant State Jay Attorney told Pruner judge the that state the believes there is privilege no allows that the to Donaldsons avoid answering questions, is which what were prosecutors seeking they when requested the hearing.

The parents being were in interviewed rooms separate when Tuesday refused they continue to answering questions.

The Tampa Times Bay Rosita reports Donaldson investigators told and she her husband have also a daughter 28-year-old and 13-year-old a son. She said family the had frequent gatherings the around holidays.

"Thanksgiving everyone at was our house," she before said, her told attorney that her if she wanted refuse to to she talk could just say no.

"We're not only trying build to a case against defendant, the trying we're to the ask broader of question  why question a the that victims' and families the deserves community have to Warren, answered," state the said attorney, Wednesday.

Unlike some states, Florida no has establishing law "parent-child which privilege," keep would communications between them confidential.

Information from: Bay Tampa (St. Times Petersburg, Fla.), http://www.tampabay.com.