August 11, 2013

Remembering Cherish: Prosecutors seeking death penalty for Donald Smith

8-11-2013 Florida:

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The State Attorney's office is pushing for death, in the kidnapping and murder case involving career criminal and registered sex offender, Donald Smith.

Smith is in jail right now for the murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle. Her family tells Action News, that death is exactly what Donald Smith deserves.

"We cant lose another one," said the pastor at Cherish Perrywinkle's funeral.

It's a desperate plea from the community, seeking justice for 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle, a girl's whose life was taken from us in the worst way imaginable.

"I sit here with 32 years of experience and I have chills all over my body speaking about this case right now," said State Attorney, Angela Cory.

There were some chilling details revealed at Tuesday's News Conference. One in particular, was hard for everyone to hear. Little Cherish died of strangulation. Her accused killer, Donald Smith, is now charged with a capital crime punishable by death.

"We received a three-count indictment for murder in the first degree, kidnapping a child under the age of 13, and sexual battery under the age of 12," said prosecutor, Mark Caliel.

As part of the first degree murder charge, Action News asked if the prosecution has evidence of premeditation, after neighbors told us they saw Smith putting toys in his van days before the murder.

"He bought a little stuffed horse and put it right by the driver's dash and I said to my husband...he's doing that to attract kids. That's so obvious," said neighbor, Mary Gagliardi.

We found out premeditation is applicable in Smith's case, but there's still one key piece of evidence investigators still haven't found. Cherish's mother Rayne says her stroller was in Smith's van while they were inside the Walmart, but not when ..continued.. by Alyana Gomez

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