TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - In an unexpected move, the man accused of killing four people in Seminole Heights, Howell 'Trae' Donaldson III, had something to say to the judge Tuesday in court.
"Since I’ve gotten in jail, for the last 14 months I've become physically ill. I do sincerely need some help," Donaldson pleaded.
For five minutes, during a hearing Tuesday, Donaldson had a list of grievances for the judge. The hushed courtroom seemed to collectively lean in to listen.
"I'm an ex college athlete and it's hard for me to stand right now. I'm struggling to stand right now. I know my body and I know I'm a strong guy. You ask me, I'm 26 years old. I shouldn't feel like I’m 96 years old," explained Donaldson.
He is accused in four murders that terrorized the Seminole Heights community in October 2017. Prosecutors say he gunned down four innocent people during a six-week period.
After his arrest, doctors evaluated Donaldson and they determined he was mentally fit to stand trial.
But now, the 26-year-old says sitting in jail is making him sick.
"If I'm in there much longer, my heart and my body won't be able to last what I've been enduring, so I'm really just asking for some help," Donaldson said.
After Donaldson's plea, the judge ordered that a jail doctor evaluate Donaldson's physical health.
In addition to his request for help with his health, Donaldson also said he wants to be present for every court date. His attorneys say there are over 300 witnesses in the case who need to be interviewed.
Donaldson faces four counts of first-degree murder.