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The Florida Supreme Court is due to hear arguments this week over whether a killer sentenced to death for the 2013 murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle daughter of Rayne Perrywinkle should be retried.
Cherish Perrywinkle: Florida Supreme Court takes up appeal for killer who took little girl from store, raped & murdered her https://t.co/fJeDce7l88
— Constitutional Nobody (@USSANews) December 7, 2020
Brief filed in the case,
According to a brief filed in the case, convicted killer Donald Smith’s attorney argued that his trial should not have taken place in Duval County due to the high level of publicity and media interest in the case, which have remained ubiquitous over the years.
“In particular, the court outreach was so extensive that it overcrowded the ward for years, delivering a one-sided and continuous narrative that led to a conclusion in the trial, the inevitable conviction of Mr. Smith and the death sentence,” the letter said.
Assistant Attorney General Charmaine Millsaps said Smith’s trial did not begin until four years after the murder. She added that the defense never passed the legal tests to move the venue.
“There was more than four years between that crime and the selection of the jury,” wrote Millsaps. “Additionally, Duval County is a very diverse county with hundreds of thousands of eligible jurors who are hard to believe that twelve unbiased judges, unaffected by the public and indifferent to social media posts, are indifferent or unaware of this can’t found. ”
Smith’s attorney argued that autopsy photos of the 8-year-old girl should never have been shown during the trial, which at one point made a chief doctor cry during her testimony.
“These photos showed a naked child with severe injuries to her vagina and anus, as well as skin removed from the front of her neck to reveal deep bruises around her windpipe. The evidential value was significantly outweighed by the adverse effect, as these images, to show the jury, would “shock” them and “inflame their passions”. ”
As previously reported by CrimeOnline, a 2018 jury unanimously decided that Smith would receive death for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Cherish.
Donald Smith Age
On June 21, 2013, then 57-year-old Smith reached out to single mom Rayne Perrywinkle at the Dollar General Store on Edgewood Avenue West in Jacksonville. Smith offered the mother to buy a dress and then offered to buy her a $ 150 gift card, which court documents said she agreed to.
When Smith found out that Perrywinkle did not have his own car, he convinced her to drive him to collect the gift card at a nearby Walmart after talking to her for a few hours about his own past financial problems. He also told her that his wife, who turned out to be fictional, would meet him at the store.
Rayne Perrywinkle mother of Cherish Perrywinkle
Smith drove Perrywinkle and their daughter Cherish with their two young daughters to the Walmart on Lem Turner Road, claiming his wife would help them buy clothes. The family loaded into Smith’s white van, which was lined with dark curtains on the inside.
At around 11 p.m. when they were shopping at Walmart, Smith’s wife had still not arrived. Smith then suggested they get something to eat at the McDonald’s in the store while he waited for his wife. He asked Cherish to come with him and choose the food she wanted.
Perrywinkle assumed her daughter was safe in a shop with surveillance cameras and numerous employees, and allowed Cherish to go with him.
After 30 minutes had passed and her daughter hadn’t returned, Perrywinkle became distraught when she learned that McDonald’s had already closed for the night.
“I don’t want him to kill her. I don’t want to be one of those parents who go through this.” Perrywinkle told a 911 dispatcher. “I don’t understand why he would go now.”
After some time, while discussing strategies to find the little girl, officers began searching the area in search of Cherish. They received surveillance footage from Walmart and watched Smith leave the store, with the child following close behind.
Investigators later identified Smith as a convicted sex offender who was out of jail about three weeks before prosecuting the Perrywinkle family.
Smith has an extensive criminal record that includes a lewd attack on a child, attempted kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl, harassment of phone calls with a 9-year-old girl, and attempted kidnapping of two teenage girls about to bring her to his vehicle with pornographic magazines Curls.