Tampa shooting suspect's parents risk jail

The parents of Howell Donaldson III, who is charged with four counts of premeditated murder, were ordered by a judge to comply with a subpoena from prosecutors or be held in contempt.
3:00 | 12/08/17

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Transcript for Tampa shooting suspect's parents risk jail
Take the first step. Connect with an advisor at northwesternmutual.com. Sage cc1 Test mes with investigators as their son is officially indicted on murder charges. ABC's Linzie Janis has the latest. Reporter: This morning Howell Donaldson III officially charged by a grand jury with four counts of premeditated murder for the killings that terrorized one Tampa neighborhood for nearly two months. We thank Tampa police department for their hard work in the investigation of the case and helping us to prepare the case to be brought before the grand jury. Reporter: Donaldson's parents now also facing potential charges if they continue to refuse to answer investigators' questions. On Thursday, a judge ordering rosita and Howell Donaldson Jr. To comply with a subpoena from prosecutors by January 5th or be held in contempt. They did not have a right to refuse to testify. We are seeking testimony that would only be within Mr. And Mrs. Donaldson's access and knowledge. Reporter: They had been vocal in the days following their song's arrest. We love our son. We support our son and we just -- we pray strength for the family members and ask them to do the same for us. We all are devastated. Reporter: Prosecutors who said they'll seek the death penalty now say the pair won't answer questions about their son's developmental history, gun possession, and state of mind before his arrest. Details that might help investigators discover an alleged motive in the murders. What would you do if the police came to tell you that you had to testify against your child? I don't know. Reporter: But his parents' lawyer says forcing them to testify against their own son is an attack on the American family. When there's a valid subpoena and an order by a judge compelling them to testify, they have no choice but to participate and to provide testimony. Reporter: Only a handful of states have laws protecting parent/child privilege and Florida is not one of them. Donaldson is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday of next week. His parents back in court on January 5th. Their lawyer says they simply don't want to help prosecutors with the case that could potentially see their son get the death penalty but, of course, victims, the victims' families want answers. And rightfully so. Thank you, Linzie. Coming up it's a battle

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