The Florida State Attorney’s Office has released chilling video of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle’s last moments with her mom in Walmart — and on Earth — before authorities say she was lured away by Donald Smith, who stands accused of her kidnapping, rape and murder.
The two can be seen leaving the Jacksonville, Fla., store together on the surveillance camera footage.
Smith is accused of the crimes against the little girl, whose body was found later in front of a church.
No one seems to know, however, when he’ll go to trial.
Her kidnapping an abduction happened back in June 2013. Prosecutors say they’ve been ready to go to trial since January 2014.
But Smith has had six trial dates over the last three-plus years, and they’ve all been delayed. Some was as a result of motions filed by his defense team. He was supposed to go on trial last week, but that’s been postponed again. The reason — the death penalty. The Florida Supreme court ruled just before Christmas that the state’s death penalty law needs to be re-worked to come in line with other states, and the Florida legislature is due to take up the issue. The Smith case is on hold while that legislature decides how to respond.
In the meantime, Smith remains in jail, and Cherish Perrywinkle’s family waits in agony. Her mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, told WJXT-TV when the latest delay was announced last month:
“Sometimes I’m numb because it’s surreal. No one should have to go through this,” Perrywinkle said. “I was angry. I wasn’t surprised. There’s nothing I can do. I can just keep going there to support Cherish. This is all about Cherish. It’s not about anyone else.”
The case history is horrifying.
A police report said Smith met Cherish’s mother at the Dollar General on Norwood Avenue and said he had a $100 Walmart gift card that he would use to by clothing for the woman and her three children.
They were at the Walmart on Lem Turner around 11 p.m. when Smith told her he was going to buy food for them at the front of the store.
Cherish followed him and the two left the store.
One 911 caller reported seeing his van parked in the woods. An associate of Smith’s who rented a room at his mother’s house called police with ideas about where he might be.