Donald James Smith, Charged In Cherish Perrywinkle's Kidnapping, Murder, Has Long Criminal History

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Normal Donald James Smith, Charged In Cherish Perrywinkle's Kidnapping, Murder, Has Long Criminal History

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:52 pm

The Florida man accused of kidnapping and murdering an 8-year-old has a criminal history of child abuse that goes back decades.

Donald James Smith, 56, allegedly abducted Cherish Perrywinkle from a Jacksonville Walmart Friday night. The girl's body was found the next day in a wooded area in the same city.

In 2009, Smith was convicted of attempting to take another young girl. On Sunday, Stephanie Thornton told Action News JAX about the incident, in which he tried to kidnap her own daughter.

Smith called the girl's grandmother, pretending to be a Department of Children and Families employee. He claimed that the 9-year-old had been raped and that he needed to meet her at McDonald's "to pick her up to take her to be checked, Thornton told the station.

Suspecting he was a fake, Thornton contacted police and Smith was arrested. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to attempted impersonation of a public employee and attempted child abuse. He was released from jail on May 31, just 21 days before he allegedly kidnapped Perrywinkle.

The morning of the day Perrywinkle vanished, Jacksonville deputies conducted a monthly address check at Smith's home, as is required for registered sex offenders, News 13 reported.

Thornton did not know Smith had been released, and is incensed that he had the opportunity to harm another child.

"He needs to be electrocuted. He should never be able to get back out, never," she told Action News JAX.
The 2009 incident was not the first time Smith broke the law. Smith has been a registered sex offender since 1993, when he tried to lure three young girls into his pornography-filled van, Fox 30 WAWS reported. He spent five years in prison on an attempted kidnapping conviction.

Before that, Smith was convicted in 1977 for lewd and lascivious behavior on a child under 16.

Smith is currently being held without bail for Cherish Perrywinkle's abduction and murder. He allegedly befriended Perrywinkle's mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, Friday evening when she had trouble affording a new dress for Cherish at a Dollar General store.

The mother and her three children, including Cherish, went with Smith to the Jacksonville Walmart, where he said he would buy the family food and clothing. After spending a couple of hours at Walmart, Smith disappeared with Cherish. Her mother called police after realizing her daughter was missing. Smith pleaded not guilty on Sunday. His next court date is July 16.


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Normal Cherish Lily Perrywinkle Body Found: Donald James Smith Arrested In 8-Year-Old Girl's Abduction

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:55 pm

The Huffington Post


Charish Lilly Perriwinkle, 8, was found dead Saturday morning after being abducted from a Walmart in Jacksonville, Fla. Friday night.

The body of 8-year-old Cherish Lily Perrywinkle was discovered near a church in Jacksonville, Fla. around 10 a.m. Saturday, Jacksonville.com reported.

UPDATE: Initial reports suggested that Cherish Perrywinkle's mother allowed her daughter to go to McDonald's with Donald James Smith. The mother has now told Action News Jax that she did not realize Smith left with the girl.

Perrywinkle was abducted from a Walmart in Jacksonville at around 11 p.m. Friday.

Donald James Smith, a registered sex offender, has been arrested and charged with murder, according to Action News Jax.

Police have not commented on the cause of Perrywinkle's death.

The girl's mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, told Action News Jax that she and her daughter met Smith Friday evening at a dollar store. Her two other children, ages 4 and 5, were also with her, according to Jacksonville.com

Smith overheard the mother saying she couldn't afford to buy her daughter a dress, and offered to help her out. She says Smith told her his wife had a Walmart gift card, and could meet them at Walmart and use the card to buy items for the family.

They headed to the Walmart in Smith's van. Once there, Perrywinkle says Smith kept insisting they were waiting for his wife. At one point, he said he was heading to the store's McDonald's. The mother says she did not realize her daughter was going with him.

"He asked if I wanted anything and I heard Cherish say 'cheeseburger.' I thought she stayed near me. I didn't realize she went with him. I didn't let her go with him like people think," the mother told the station.

She also noted that at first she thought the man was "creepy and annoying," but he seemed like he truly wanted to help her. "Part of me wanted to believe this was a blessing for my children," she said.

Smith, 56, was previously convicted of attempted kidnapping and lewd and lascivious assault on children. Police tracked down Smith's van driving on I-95 in Jacksonville at around 9 a.m. Saturday. They have not said whether or not Smith led them to the girl's body.

Rayne Perrywinkle's two younger children were unharmed and remain in her custody.

CORRECTION: The Amber alert for the missing child, as well as initial police sources, incorrectly spelled her name "Charish Lilly Perriwinkle." The story has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of her name, "Cherish Lily Perrywinkle."


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Normal Re: Donald James Smith, Charged In Cherish Perrywinkle's Kidnapping, Murder, Has Long Criminal History

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:57 pm

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Normal Re: Donald James Smith, Charged In Cherish Perrywinkle's Kidnapping, Murder, Has Long Criminal History

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:58 pm

 

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Normal Donald James Smith, Cherish Perrywinkle case update: Smith pleads not guilty to kidnapping, murder

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:02 pm


Donald James Smith has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murder charges in connection with the death of Cherish Lilly Perrywinkle.
 Photographer: Jacksonville Sheriff's Office
Posted: 06/24/2013
By: Catherine E. Shoichet and Alina Machado CNN

(CNN) -- The night that ended with Cherish Perrywinkle's disappearance started with a generous offer at the dollar store.

Investigators said a man met the 8-year-old's mother at a Dollar General in Jacksonville, Florida, Friday evening. He told her that the family looked like they were down on their luck and that he wanted to take them to Walmart and buy them new clothes.

Hours later, the mom called 911. Her daughter was missing.

The mother and her three children had spent hours shopping at Walmart with the man when he offered to buy hamburgers at the store's McDonald's, according to Michael Williams, director of investigations and homeland security for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The man set off toward the front of the store with Cherish.

That, Williams told reporters, is when something went horribly wrong.

"They walked to the front of the Walmart toward the McDonald's. They did not stop at the McDonald's," he said. "They walked outside, got in his van and left."

On Saturday morning, investigators found Cherish's lifeless body in a wooded area near a church 4 miles away.

Authorities accuse the man who offered to buy her family clothes at Walmart, Donald James Smith, with kidnapping and killing her.

He was arrested Saturday morning after an officer spotted his van driving on a local highway.

Suspect appears in court

Smith, 56, pleaded not guilty when he appeared in court on Sunday, CNN affiliate WAWS reported. He is being held without bond. It was not immediately clear whether Smith has a lawyer.

Smith is a registered sex offender who was released from custody less than a month ago, Williams said. Authorities from the sheriff's office had just made contact with him to verify his address on Friday morning.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Smith has a lengthy criminal record that includes crimes involving children. He was most recently convicted of impersonating a public employee and aggravated child abuse by willful torture.

Court records show he was sentenced to a year in the county jail and was released on May 31.
Investigators have not released information about how Cherish died or what they believe Smith was doing from the point of the abduction until his arrest.

Her mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, hasn't spoken publicly about what happened Friday night, and she declined to discuss the case with WAWS on Sunday.

Williams told reporters that investigators had used all the resources they could to find the child. He said the tragic case offered a sobering reminder.

"Pay attention to your surroundings," he said. "Pay attention to who you meet, who you give access to your children."

A devastated community

A makeshift memorial of flowers, balloons, cards and stuffed animals has piled up in front of the church near the area where Cherish was found over the weekend, WAWS reported.

Devastated friends left hand-written notes.

Kendall Cabanda, an elementary school classmate, cried as she told WAWS about how much fun she had riding the bus with Cherish.

"We talked about stuff like TV shows, like girly things about dolls and fairies," Cabanda said, "about stuff that is imaginary."

On Sunday, hundreds attended a candlelight vigil to honor Cherish, whom friends described as a vibrant girl who liked to play dress up and loved to sing.

At the vigil, her 5-year-old sister sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" for her.

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Normal Re: Donald James Smith, Charged In Cherish Perrywinkle's Kidnapping, Murder, Has Long Criminal History

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:04 pm

MUST SEE!!

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Normal Re: Donald James Smith, Charged In Cherish Perrywinkle's Kidnapping, Murder, Has Long Criminal History

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:07 pm


The body of Cherish Perrywinkle was found in front of Highlands Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday morning after a frantic search
It\\'s Not FairangryangryangryangryangryElectric ChairElectric ChairElectric ChairElectric ChairRIPcryingagaincrying

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Normal Murdered 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle remembered at prayer vigil.JAX pastor Art Taylor says children ‘are of great value’ to Jesus

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:53 am

Jun 26, 2013
By JONI B. HANNIGAN
Managing Editor

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—A baby picture of Cherish Lilly Perrywinkle smiled beneath iridescent stars on a table near where her five-year old sister Destiny sang “Twinkle, twinkle little star.”
As Destiny sang, hundreds wept at a prayer vigil in front of Highlands Baptist Church in Jacksonville June 23, close to where 8-year-old Cherish was found dead the day before. 

Police say Cherish was taken from a Jacksonville Walmart June 21 by a 56-year old convicted sex offender who lured her mother there with a promise of clothes for Cherish and her two sisters, Destiny, and 3-year-old Nevaeh. At Walmart, the family became separated when the man said he was taking Cherish to the in-store McDonalds. Her mother later reported her missing. 
JACKSONVILLE (FBW)—A baby picture of Cherish Lilly Perrywinkle smiled beneath iridescent stars on a table near where her five-year old sister Destiny sang “Twinkle, twinkle little star.”
As Destiny sang, hundreds wept at a prayer vigil in front of Highlands Baptist Church in Jacksonville June 23, close to where 8-year-old Cherish was found dead the day before.

Police say Cherish was taken from a Jacksonville Walmart June 21 by a 56-year old convicted sex offender who lured her mother there with a promise of clothes for Cherish and her two sisters, Destiny, and 3-year-old Nevaeh. At Walmart, the family became separated when the man said he was taking Cherish to the in-store McDonalds. Her mother later reported her missing. Police arrested Donald Smith, a sexual offender with a criminal history, shortly after they found Cherish’s body and charged him with kidnapping and murder.

The Jacksonville Times Union said Ann Dugger, a victims advocate, told them Cherish’s mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, said in an interview she wanted to buy her daughter a new dress before she left Sunday to visit her father in California.

Cherish’s father, Billy Jarreau, in a Facebook message, said he “had spent many years in court” apparently trying to get custody of Cherish, and indicated he is a retired U.S. Navy veteran. Photos show him with a family and Cherish enjoying visits to the Grand Canyon and Disneyland. Court records show the two had never married, according to the Times Union.

Prayer meeting

Inside Highlands Baptist, Pastor Art Taylor led the family and hundreds gathered from the community in a time of worship and prayer.

“Tragedy is a natural part of life,” Taylor said to the multi-cultural, multi-generational crowd. “Jesus, the Son of God, knows that when death occurs we need help in the form of consolation, emotional support, encouragement, and most of all, hope.”

Sharing the story of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha from John 11, Taylor said the Scripture reassures that even in death, Christ through His sacrificial death “opened the door to eternal life.”
“Cherish Perrywinkle is alive at this moment because of what Jesus did,” Taylor said, adding that children are “of great value in the mind and heart of Jesus,” quoting from Mark 10.

Offering other comforting verses and asking the question of why God allows tragedies to happen, Taylor said, “God did not cause this tragedy. ... However, there is the reality of evil in our world and it manifests itself in many ways in the deeds of man.”

Proclaiming hope, Taylor said despite the tragedy of the child’s death, “Cherish Perrywinkle moved from tragedy to triumph because of the love and power of Almighty God.”

Psalm 23 was recited.

With faces uplifted and tears flowing, a packed sanctuary linked hands to join Wayne Rowbottom,  a pastor at Park City Baptist Church in Jacksonville and a volunteer at Highlands, in prayer as he challenged listeners to be cautious before laying blame.

Candelight vigil

Outside, the crowd spread from the sidewalk where a growing memorial of balloons, stuffed animals, candles and notes bore testimony of a community in mourning—to massive white columns at the church’s front steps.

Tables with banners, drawings and notes, stood in between—and a rough hewn cross to one side reminded of the ultimate sacrificial death of Christ.

A growing memorial for murdered 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle is outside Highlands Baptist Church on the north side of Jacksonville near where the body of the child was found early June 22. She was reported missing by her mother the night before. The church joined with Jacksonvilles Justice Coalition to host a prayer meeting and vigil Sunday, June 23. Photo by Joni B. Hannigan
Joey Vaughn, a member of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, introduced Cherish’s mom and sisters, who were all wearing t-shirts with a picture of the murdered child—and  Ann Dugger, executive director of the city’s Justice Coalition.
A trio of girls from Cherish’s Sunday School class at Paxon Revival Center Church in Jacksonville, sang, “Jesus Loves Me,” as a tribute to their friend—and nearly made it through the song when one of the youngsters began to cry. Dugger comforted her until she walked nearby into her father’s arms.

Dugger talked about how Cherish enjoyed drawing, like her mother.

“She liked to paint faces,” Dugger continued. “She liked to pretend she was a teacher.”

Dugger led the crowd in singing  “Amazing Grace” and then held Destiny up, with Steve Dobbs, pastor of Paxon Revival Center Church, to sing, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.”

“Do it for your sister,” Dobbs told the quiet little girl, who smiled and began to sing in a clear voice.

Hundreds held aloft candles in the fading sunlight, remembering Cherish, finally joining with Destiny to sing, “Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.”

Community ministry

Taylor invited the community to stay after the vigil for refreshments and food supplied by church members in the fellowship hall. Although there are only about 100 regular attenders, the pastor said members of the congregation heard of the tragedy and immediately made a decision to offer the prayer service as a ministry opportunity.

“We are doing our best to tell everyone in our community that God loves them and they are invited to be a part of our fellowship,” Taylor told Florida Baptist Witness.

Churches, Taylor said, don’t have a choice of whether to minister in times like these. “The only choice they have is to answer the question as to how much they will do.”

The community is watching to see if the church “will practice what it preaches about the love of God,” Taylor said.

Vaughn told the Witness a group from First Baptist Church in Jacksonville sprang into action immediately on hearing there was a need for some volunteers for the evening—and with just a few hours notice, leaders were quick to offer hundreds of candles and candle holders for the evening vigil.

A member of the Justice Coalition and a local attorney, Vaughn has monitored the family’s needs since learning of the girl’s disappearance.

Hardage-Giddens Town & Country Funeral Homes in Jacksonville donated funeral arrangements, according to the Justice Coalition. The public is invited to a viewing and memorial service at Paxon Revival Center Church, 5461 Commonwealth Ave., Jacksonville. Visitation is June 27, 5-8 p.m., and the funeral is June 28 at 2 p.m. with Pastor Dobbs officiating.

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Normal Donald James Smith Pleads Not Guilty In Death Of Cherish Perrywinkle

Post by NiteSpinR on Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:43 pm

July 16, 2013


Donald James Smith pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning in the kidnapping, sexual battery and slaying of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle.
Smith, 56, appeared for less than five minutes for his arraignment before Circuit Judge Mallory Cooper. He said nothing as his public defender entered the not guilty plea.
The first pre-trial hearing will be Sept. 4. He is being held without bail.
Smith is accused of kidnapping Cherish from a North Jacksonville Walmart and dumping her body near a church. He was arrested driving a white van about 10 hours later.

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Normal Petition Created For Tighter Sex Offender & Predator Laws ~ It's called Cherish's Law, in honor of Cherish Perrywinkle

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:06 pm

Sept 4, 2013


Cherish Perrywinkle on vacation with her father, Billy Jarreau.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A new petition has been created to create tighter sex offender and predator laws.  It's called Cherish's Law, in honor of Cherish Perrywinkle.

Cherish was 8-years-old when she was abducted from a local Walmart. An AMBER Alert went out, and she was later found dead. The man accused of killing her, Donald Smith,  is a registered sex offender.

Florida State Representative Janet Adkins says she would love to see tighter laws and because of that has created new legislation.
"It is my goal to listen and gather information regarding the current laws and circumstances regarding registered sex offenders in Florida.  I plan to file legislation in the 2014 session to improve and strengthen laws of Florida as it relates to these crimes against children," says Adkins.

The public can speak at a hearing at City Hall Wednesday, September 4, at 2 p.m. Adkins will host the meeting in the Lynwood Roberts Room.

The law will likely be similar to, but tighter than, the Jimmy Ryce law. It went into affect in 1999. But people insist more sex offenders need to stay behind bars.

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Normal Donald Smith Waives Right To Speedy Trial

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:09 pm

September 4, 2013



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A pretrial for Donald Smith was held Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Smith's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Fred Gazaleh, announced Smith was waiving his right to a speedy trial.

Defendants can waive their Sixth-Amendment right to a speedy trial, which allows for additional time to prepare. However, it means the trial may last longer.

The next pretrial for Smith, 56, is scheduled for October 15, 2013.

Smith, a convicted sex offender, has pleaded not guilty to the slaying, kidnapping and sexual battery of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle.

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Normal Re: Donald James Smith, Charged In Cherish Perrywinkle's Kidnapping, Murder, Has Long Criminal History

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Sep 04, 2013 11:28 pm

He can plead 'not guilty' till he's blue in the face...OMG, that little one and those pics just break my heart!

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Normal Mother Of Cherish Perrywinkle Sees Accused Killer Donald James Smith In Court For 1st Time

Post by NiteSpinR on Sat May 10, 2014 12:15 am

May 7, 2014

For the first time, Rayne Perrywinkle found herself in the courtroom with the man accused of raping and murdering her 8-year-old daughter.

Donald James Smith, accused of the murder of Cherish Perrywinkle, had a pretrial hearing Wednesday that concluded in about a minute. Lawyers for both sides said they were continuing to work on depositions in the case, and the next pretrial was set for July 16 with a trial expected to occur in October.

If convicted, Smith, 57, could get the death penalty. He is a registered sex offender released from prison three weeks before Cherish was murdered.

But Wednesday’s hearing was notable for the appearance of Rayne Perrywinkle, who was led into the courtroom minutes before bailiffs escorted Smith in shackles. Perrywinkle appeared reluctant to look at Smith but glanced at him several times while Smith never looked at her.

Perrywinkle never attended previous hearings in the case. Friends and supporters said she was not ready to see Smith. But it was decided that now was a good time for her to be in court, so she’d be better prepared and know what to expect before the trial occurs.

Assistant State Attorney Mark Caliel and officials with the Justice Coalition, a victims advocacy group, said Perrywinkle would not be speaking to the media.

One of the people who came into court with Perrywinkle was Diena Thompson, mother of 7-year-old Somer Thompson, who was abducted and murdered in Orange Park. Her killer, Jarred Harrell, was later sentenced to six life sentences in prison.

Thompson said she came to support Perrywinkle and let her know she would not be alone.

“Any mother who’s been through this needs support,” Thompson said. “I can’t even begin to describe what she must be going through.”

She said she plans to continue supporting Rayne Perrywinkle as the case comes closer to trial, Thompson said.

Smith is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual battery. He is accused of befriending Rayne Perrywinkle and her young children at a Dollar General store on June 21 and convincing them all to go to Walmart in his van after offering to buy them clothes and food.

Rayne Perrywinkle told police that about 11 p.m. Smith offered to buy the family hamburgers at the McDonald’s inside the Walmart on Lem Turner Road. She let her daughter go with him. They did not return.

Cherish’s body was found near a creek off Broward Road in the morning. Police found her wedged underneath an old tree that had fallen in the grassy marsh area of the creek.

Smith was arrested after his van and photo were broadcast in a statewide alert. He was stopped on Interstate 95.

The case led to a tightening of civil commitment laws in Florida, with Gov. Rick Scott signing four bills last month that will allow the state to send predators to a high-security treatment center even after they’ve finished their prison sentences.


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Normal Re: Donald James Smith, Charged In Cherish Perrywinkle's Kidnapping, Murder, Has Long Criminal History

Post by Wrapitup on Sat May 10, 2014 4:51 pm

From above (and Thank YOU, Nite..for the update!)
If convicted, Smith, 57, could get the death penalty. He is a registered sex offender released from prison three weeks before Cherish was murdered.
He should have NEVER been released!!!!

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Normal Cherish Perrywinkle's Mother Rayne Claims She Prophesized Her Daughter’s Death

Post by NiteSpinR on Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:50 pm

12/12/14

JACKSONVILLE – A self-proclaimed clairvoyant, who said she prophesized her daughter’s death, might be a key to the defense of the man accused of murdering a Jacksonville girl.
Lawyers for 58-year-old Donald James Smith argue that jurors have a right to decide whether the mother might have taken steps to make her prophecy come true.

Smith, a sex offender, is charged with the June 21, 2013, rape and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle. Prosecutors say Smith lured the Perrywinkles to a Wal-Mart with promises to buy them food and clothing.

The mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, lost custody of her other children after the slaying.
The Florida Times-Union reports that the judge may call Rayne to the stand during the trial to determine whether her claims are admissible.

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Normal Prosecutors don't want jurors to know Rayne Perrywinkle said she foresaw daughter's death

Post by NiteSpinR on Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:05 pm

December 12, 2014

Jacksonville prosecutors are asking a judge to prohibit personal information about the mother of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle from being heard by a jury, including that Rayne Perrywinkle has said she’s clairvoyant and foresaw her daughter’s death.

Donald James Smith, 58, is charged with the rape and murder of Cherish and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Rayne Perrywinkle is expected to be a key prosecution witness because she allowed her daughter to be around Smith when he offered to get them some McDonald’s and never saw her child again.

Defense lawyers want to introduce her history into the trial, including her time with Cherish’s father, being committed to mental institutions, legally changing her name and a sexual assault she said happened 11 years ago.

Perrywinkle, 46, lost custody of her other children soon after Cherish was killed.

At a Thursday hearing Assistant Public Defender Fred Gazaleh argued he wanted jurors to know that Perrywinkle has said she’s clairvoyant and always thought her daughter would be dead by the time she was 8. Perrywinkle volunteered that information during a deposition taken in the case.

A jury has a right to decide whether Perrywinkle may have taken steps to make that prophecy come true, Gazaleh said.

Assistant State Attorney Mark Caliel said none of this is relevant to Smith’s criminal trial and shouldn’t be allowed.

“It doesn’t mitigate what this defendant did,” Caliel said.

Circuit Judge Mallory Cooper did not make any rulings Thursday and said she might have Perrywinkle called to the stand during trial without the jury present to determine what she’ll allow in and what she will exclude. Then she could testify again in front of the jury.

Perrywinkle has vowed to get her children back, but other’s have argued they should be adopted.

She had a contentious relationship with Cherish’s father, Billy Jarreau, and has acknowledged she didn’t want her daughter to spend the summer with him in California, as Cherish was scheduled to do the day after she was killed.

Perrywinkle was not in court Thursday. Lysa Telzer, a victims advocate with the Justice Coalition, said Perrywinkle would have no comment.

Defense attorneys did not object to a second motion from prosecutors prohibiting any discussion of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office internal affairs investigation that occurred after Smith was arrested.

The leader of the Sheriff’s Office homicide unit was suspended and moved out of the unit after an internal investigation found officers at the scene didn’t notify the public quickly enough that Cherish had been kidnapped.

Police at the scene originally doubted Perrywinkle’s story and questioned whether it was a genuine abduction.

Defense attorneys also are asking to be kicked off the case, arguing that they have a conflict with another unnamed client.

Cooper has refused to release them from the case, but that ruling has been sent to the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee.

If the appellate court overrules Cooper, the trial would be delayed indefinitely while new lawyers get up to speed on the case.


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No record of a Trial Date set as of yet

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Normal Trial Postponed Now Tentatively Set For May or July 2015

Post by NiteSpinR on Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:29 pm

Dec 19, 2014

The death-penalty trial of the man accused of raping and killing 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle is delayed until at least May, and might be delayed much longer.
Circuit Judge Mallory Cooper agreed Firday to delay the trail of Donald James Smith, 58.

Public defenders told Cooper they would not be ready to defend Smith on Jan. 20 when his trial was scheduled to begin.

Prosecutors with the State Attorney’s Office did not object to the delay. Assistant State Attorney Mark Caliel said forcing a trial when the defense said it wasn’t ready could become an issue on appeal if Smith gets the death penalty.

“We don’t want to try this case twice,” he said.

Smith is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual battery. He is a registered sex offender released from prison three weeks before Cherish was killed.

He is accused of befriending Cherish, her mother and siblings at a Dollar General store in June 2013 and convincing them to go to Wal-Mart on Lem Turner Road in his van after offering to buy them clothes and food.

Perrywinkle told police that Smith offered to buy the family hamburgers at the McDonald’s inside the Wal-Mart. Cherish went with him to get the food, and they did not return.

Cherish’s body was found near a creek off Broward Road the next morning.

Cooper did not set a new trial date but said she was leaning toward having a trial in either May or July. A new trial date will likely be set at Smith’s next pretrial hearing Jan. 13.

A trial could be delayed even longer if the Public Defender’s Office is removed from the case.

Lawyers for Smith said they have a conflict with another client they represent, probably fellow death-penalty defendant Randall Deviney, that could lead to them being excused.

It’s likely the conflict is between the 23-year-old Deviney and Smith, with one of the men claiming to have information on the other. In both cases, the public defender has said there is a conflict between the named defendant and an unnamed second defendant, and that Cooper is the judge in both cases.

Cooper has ruled there is no conflict because prosecutors have said they have no interest in talking to either man about the other. But her rulings are being appealed to the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, and a decision is expected before Deviney goes on trial Jan. 5.

If the appellate court overrules Cooper, both trials would be delayed indefinitely while new lawyers get up to speed on the case.

Public defenders also asked for Deviney’s trial to be delayed, saying they won’t be ready for the January trial.

Cooper has a hearing scheduled Dec. 29 to consider that issue.

Unlike with Smith, prosecutors want Deviney’s trial to occur, arguing that defense attorneys have had plenty of time to prepare for trial.

Defense attorneys said this week that some expert witnesses in the Deviney trial won’t be ready until February. They also said they are hurt because Assistant Public Defender Senovia Portis, one of two lawyers scheduled to defend Deviney during the trial, is leaving the office at the end of December.

Deviney is accused of slitting the throat of 65-year-old Dolores Futrell in August 2008. He was convicted of the crime in 2010, when Cooper sentenced him to death.

That conviction was overturned by the Florida Supreme Court in February 2013. Justices ruled that police should have stopped questioning Deviney after he repeatedly told them he was done speaking.


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Normal Uncertainty remains on when Donald James Smith will go on trial

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:06 am

Mar 24, 2015

The death-penalty trial of Donald James Smith for the rape and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle was originally scheduled to begin in January. But after a brief hearing on his case Tuesday, it’s not clear if he will even go on trial this year.

Last month the 1st District Court of Appeal ordered the office of Public Defender Matt Shirk removed from the case, at the public defender’s request, due to a conflict of interest. The office was representing both Smith and another man charged with murder who said he has information on Smith in an unsolved death.

Circuit Judge Mallory Cooper appointed Julie Schlax as Smith’s new attorney. Tuesday, Schlax and co-counsel Charles Fletcher said they had not gotten the files yet on Smith’s case from the Public Defender’s Office and could not begin their defense until those were received.

A new pretrial motion was set for May 12. Lawyers for both sides said they hoped to be moving forward with the case by then. A trial date could be set at that time, but it’s also possible the case could get bogged down in questions of whether Smith is mentally competent enough to face the death penalty.

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Normal In A Video Taped Counseling Session, Donald Smith’s Mother, Patricia Moore Talks About Her Son's History

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu May 07, 2015 1:11 am

May 5, 2015

DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. — Soon, the family of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle will watch the 57-year-old man arrested in connection with her slaying, stand trial.

While her son faces justice, Donald Smith’s mother is dealing with the tragedy and working to heal from it. In a videotaped counseling session, Patricia Moore morphs from bewilderment to later understanding that she may have missed some very important warning signs in her son.

Moore knew she was being recorded, and agreed that it could be released.

"I'm Patricia Moore, my son is Donald James Smith," said in a taped counseling session between the mother of Donald 'Don' Smith and Dr. Kaye Smith, a sex abuse counselor. "Don is accused of kidnapping, raping and killing Cherish Perrywinkle."

"I was never led to believe there was anything emotionally wrong with him, only maybe depression and drugs," Moore said.

Moore said her son was first arrested in 1977 for exposing himself to children, but she thought it was a misunderstanding. He was then arrested for sex-related offenses in the '80s and '90s.

"As Don's mother, I know the loving side of Don. I never thought in a million years I could ever believe my son could be capable of hurting another person," Moore said in the tape.
"Most sociopaths have a very good side to them. They pick up your mail while you’re on vacation. Donald Smith fell right into that. He had a lot of people that loved him," said Dr. Kaye Smith. "But then again, they can have another side of them where their demons are screaming. There’s no doubt in my mind, Donald Smith’s demons were screaming.”

Smith was also charged in 2003 with pretending to be a Florida Department of Children and Families worker and calling a 9-year-old girl, asking her sexual questions and threatening her family. But, Dr. Kaye Smith said these are all signs of a sociopath.

When Smith was sentenced to three years in prison under the Jimmy Rice Act, he was supposed to get intense counseling.

"I believe each step he could’ve been crying out for help and no one was listening to the mind of the offender. He was under the Jimmy Rice Act, that alone could’ve stopped him but it didn’t,” Dr. Kaye Smith said.

Moore said, "He indicated the whole time he was there, there was very little therapy, counselors were dismissed or fired, others hired. But, the whole program was ineffective."

Smith checked himself in at UF Health Jacksonville for help days after being released from prison. He reportedly wanted to be placed under the Baker Act, under which he was held for four to five days.

Moore said Smith was sent home with a list of names for appointments. But, within days he met a mother at a Northside store with her daugthers. Cherish Perrywinkle's mother followed Smith, who had befriended her and her children, to a Walmart where he promised to get them food. Officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said a surveillance image shows Smith leaving the store with Perrywinkle. Hours later, the girl was found dead. Her body dumped behind a church off Broward Road.

Moore said Smith insisted that she sell his van before he was released from prison. But, she didn’t because she wanted him to work and support himself.

Moore said Smith talked about Perrywinkle and believes her son wanted to tell her more about meeting the little girl and her mother, maybe even confess; however, their visits were cut off.

"First time, I met with Don on a visitation, he tried to relay some things to me. One of the things he tried to tell me was the fact he and Cherish prayed together," Moore said.

Moore says all she has to offer is a heartfelt, "If I could just relay to Ms. Perrywinkle how deeply, deeply sorry I am for the loss and how I feel for her as a mother, I'm deeply sorry about that."

"In Mrs. Moore's case, she believed everything this man said to her, she wanted to believe the best for her son," Dr. Kaye Smith said when asked if he thought Moore was in denial.

"I can't stop hoping we get it right, and understand the mind of pedophiles, that we question the mind of an offender. We have no choice; we don't live in Kansas anymore," Dr. Kaye Smith said.

A handful of bills have passed the Florida House and Senate to jail sexual offenders and predators longer and order them to a psychiatric review once they complete their sentences.



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Normal Re: Donald James Smith, Charged In Cherish Perrywinkle's Kidnapping, Murder, Has Long Criminal History

Post by Wrapitup on Sat May 09, 2015 2:22 am

IMHO, a convicted sex offender should get a life sentence. Period!

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Normal Donald Smith's Mother Will Testify In Advance Of Cherish Perrywinkle Murder Trial

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed May 13, 2015 7:29 pm

May 12, 2015

A trial date for Donald James Smith has not yet been set for the abduction, rape and killing of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle. But in two months, the first witness to testify in Smith’s case will be his own mother.

Tuesday Circuit Judge Mallory Cooper agreed to let Patricia Moore, Smith’s mother, testify July 2. Prosecutors said Moore needs to testify now because she’s 76 years old and might not be alive or physically able to testify by the time Smith goes on trial. What's the freaken holdup?

If Moore is unable to testify when Smith’s actual trial begins, a videotape of the testimony will be shown to jurors. If she is able to testify, the July 2 testimony will be treated as a pretrial deposition, said Assistant State Attorney Mark Caliel.

Moore will likely testify to her son’s criminal history and also discuss his actions during the time Cherish Perrywinkle went missing.

Defense attorney Julie Schlax objected, saying there was no reason to take this step when Moore had a good chance of being able to testify whenever the trial occurs. But Caliel countered it is best to get Moore’s testimony now just to be safe, and Cooper agreed.

Cooper said she’d like to try to set a trial date when Moore testifies July 2. But it’s also possible the case could get bogged down in questions of whether Smith, 58, is mentally competent enough to face the death penalty or to face trial at all. This is such bullshit! Smith knew exactly what he was doing when he calculated a way to lure the family to Walmart and separate Cherish from her mother like a tiny lamb led to slaughter. He is not insane. He's a habitual predator with a perfected method.

Cooper is expected to retire at the end of 2015 and will likely seek to have the trial occur before she departs so a new judge doesn’t have to take the case over. But several other death-penalty cases have ground to a halt over questions of intellectual disability.

The case previously got delayed over questions of Smith’s representation. The office of Public Defender Matt Shirk represented Smith but said it should be removed because of a conflict of interest representing both Smith and Randall Deviney, who claimed to have information on another killing involving Smith.

Cooper refused to release Shirk’s office from the case, but in February the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee overruled her and ordered the public defender removed.

Schlax and Charles Fletcher, who are private attorneys, are now representing Smith and they are being paid by the state with taxpayer money.

Smith is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual battery. He is a registered sex offender who was released from prison three weeks before Cherish was killed.

He is accused of befriending Cherish, her mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, and siblings at a Dollar General store in June 2013 and convincing them to go to Wal-Mart on Lem Turner Road in his van after offering to buy them clothes and food.

Perrywinkle told police that Smith offered to buy the family hamburgers at the McDonald’s inside the Wal-Mart. Cherish went with him to get the food, and they did not return.

Cherish’s body was found near a creek off Broward Road the next morning.


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Normal Re: Donald James Smith, Charged In Cherish Perrywinkle's Kidnapping, Murder, Has Long Criminal History

Post by Wrapitup on Sun May 17, 2015 6:28 pm

This makes me Crazy! I couldn't agree with your comments more, Nite!

I guess if you want to get away with murdering your child, come on down to Florida! grrrr

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Normal Donald Smith's Mother Testifies In Court

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:33 am

July 2, 2015

The man accused of murdering 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle back in 2013 went before a judge Thursday. Smith sat in court while his mother gave a sworn statement under oath.

In a bright orange jump suit, Donald Smith, 58, walked into the courtroom Thursday afternoon in one of the many pretrial hearings in his case that has yet to get a trial date.

Members of the public were asked to leave the courtroom so that Smith’s mother, Patricia Moore could undergo a deposition.

Members of the media couldn’t stay for the deposition either, but back in May Action News obtained exclusive footage of Moore during a counseling session that gives us a glimpse into what she knew about the day little Cherish was kidnapped and murdered.

“The first time that I met with Don on a visitation day he was trying to relay some things to me. One of the things was the fact that he and Cherish had prayed together,” Moore said.

Moore knew she was being recorded and agreed to the release of the tape. She also expressed her condolences to Cherish’s mom.

“If I could just relay to Mrs. Perrywinkle how deeply, deeply, deeply sorry I am for her loss,” Moore said.
Back in 2003, Smith was charged with pretending to be a Department of Children and Families worker to get close to a 9-year-old girl.

He was sentenced to three years in prison. Moore said he was supposed to get counseling when he got out.
“He indicated that the whole time he was there, there was very little therapy because the counselors that were there were dismissed, they were fired, others were hired and so the whole program was just ineffective,” Moore said.

There was also some concern about Moore’s health which is why her deposition was recorded Thursday.
The state said they hope she will be able to testify in court during trial, but if not, they plan to use her recorded deposition.

Judge Mallory Cooper said they hope to set a date for the trial later this year or early next.


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Normal April 4, 2016 Trial Date Set For Donald James Smith, Charged In The Abduction, Sexual Assault & Strangulation Of 8-Year-Old Cherish Perrywinkle

Post by NiteSpinR on Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:43 pm

9/15/15

Smith, 59, is facing the death penalty. He was previously supposed to be in court Monday, but that got delayed a day.

Circuit Judge Mallory Cooper set the date Tuesday.

Defense attorneys said they are still examining the evidence in the case and don't want to move forward until they have a good handle on the evidence against Smith.

It is likely that defense attorneys Julie Schlax and Charles Fletcher will end up arguing that Smith is insane or too mentally handicapped to face the death penalty. But the lawyers have not yet indicated what their defense will be.

Smith is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual battery. He is a registered sex offender who was released from prison three weeks before Cherish was killed.

He is accused of befriending Cherish, her mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, and siblings at a Dollar General store in June 2013 and convincing them to go to Wal-Mart on Lem Turner Road in his van after offering to buy them clothes and food.

Perrywinkle told police that Smith offered to buy the family hamburgers at the McDonald's inside the Wal-Mart.

Cherish went with him to get the food, and they did not return.

Cherish's body was found near a creek off Broward Road the next morning.


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Normal The Use Of Secret Jail Recordings A First In Donald Smith Case

Post by NiteSpinR on Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:22 pm

Feb. 11, 2016

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Law enforcement has long relied on surreptitious means to obtain confessions -- be it recorded phone calls or jailhouse snitches.

But secret recordings of a type not seen before in Duval County have surfaced in the high-profile criminal case of Donald Smith.

Accused of kidnapping, raping and killing 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle in June 2013, Smith has been held in solitary confinement pretty much since his arrest. But unbeknownst to him -- and his attorneys -- secret recordings were made while he was in his jail cell.

Janet Johnson is a criminal defense attorney who has represented hundreds of inmates at the Duval County Jail, and is well familiar with the ways law enforcement tries to extract information from her clients.

“There are all kinds of ways to get people to confess, and some are a little sneakier than others,” she said.

But Johnson was not aware that there was surreptitious recordings of inmates in their cells -- because it’s new. On Feb. 2, the state revealed it had secret recordings of Smith talking to another inmate, Randall Deviney, who was sentenced to death last year for killing his neighbor.

Assistant State Attorney Mark Caliel, who is prosecuting Smith, said it will be the first time the state plans to introduce as evidence a surreptitious recording of an inmate made inside an isolation cell at the jail.

Caliel acknowledged that introducing the recordings as evidence could tip the state’s hand to criminals – essentially admitting the practice. He said that was a consideration prosecutors weighed before deciding to enter it as evidence. But he added, “We determined in this case that regardless of impacts … it was necessary.”

Former DEA special agent and First Coast News crime analyst Mark Baughman doesn’t expect the news of the secret recordings to change behavior. “It may deter it a little bit but you’re still going to capture culpable conversations even though they know it’s monitored,” he said. “That’s what happens with these guys -- they get in there, they’re in custody even if they’re in population, they get bored and start talking.”

Johnson agrees. She warns her clients about surveillance, but many can’t help themselves.

“I can tell my clients all day long, 'Be careful what you say in the jail.' It’s not going to stop people from talking to each other in the Duval County Jail.”

Smith’s attorney Julie Schlax filed a notice of intent to challenge the admissibility of the secret recordings, but declined comment. Jail officials, when asked about the practices, said there simply is no expectation of privacy in jail.

Smith is set to go to trial in April 4, though that will likely be delayed. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

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