If you just take a look at Donald Smith's 19-page criminal history report, it's obvious the man accused of killing 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle has a very disturbing past.
In fact, the 56-year-old was first arrested on a sex offense when he was 21 and was just released from jail 21 days before he is accused of abducting and killing the girl.
"This guy is definitely one of those. He looks like he's never stopped," former prosecutor Rick Alexander said. "Anybody in law enforcement looks at this wrap and knows he's trouble. He's someone we want to put away."
Alexander said he was surprised by the long list and how it compares to the amount of time Smith has spent behind bars. In 1992, Smith was convicted of attempted kidnapping for trying to lure two teenage girls into his van. For that case, he spent five and a half years in prison.
Smith was recommended for civil commitment for sex offenders, meaning he would not have returned to society until cured. But the case fell through the cracks. As he was about to leave prison in 1999, the state flagged Smith as likely to reoffend and be dangerous in the future. Psychiatrists who evaluated him agreed. Just 1 percent of all sex offenders and predators get such a recommendation.
"In the statute, it says that we're supposed to be looking for that small, extremely dangerous number of predators," said Daniel Monfaldi, administrator of the sexually violent predator program for the Department of Children and Families.
Smith was sent to a civil commitment facility near Tampa.
Keeping a violent sexual predator in confined treatment after their sentence has run out requires the approval of an unanimous jury. Right now there are about 650 people undergoing that treatment.
For some reason, a jury never heard about the state's or psychiatrist's fears.
"He did do some treatment, but the court let him out in 2002," Monfaldi said. "There is no notation. There is just the petition was dismissed."
Smith was arrested again in 2009 for posing as a Department of Children and Families worker to make an obscene phone call to a young child. In that case, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and served just 14 months in jail.
Because there was no felony, Smith didn't meet the criteria to be reevaluated. That's an evaluation that almost certainly would have found Smith a danger to re-offend and would have kept him in prison indefinitely.
Alexander says things like that happen a lot.
"We have so many crimes going on, the system would literally break down if you took every case to trial," he said. "There's just no way in God's green Earth we could try every person charged with a crime. We have to take pleas."
Smith's first sexual violation was a 1977 arrest for lewd and lascivious act in the presence of a minor. After serving a year in the Duval County jail, he was placed on probation and adjudicated a "mentally disordered sex offender." He was arrested for violating probation in 1981 and served 14 months in from 1982-83.
And in 2003, Smith was convicted of dealing in stolen property and served two and a half years.
For his crimes, Smith is a registered sex offender, different from a sexual predator. It means he had never been convicted of a sexually violent offense. Police say he had been legally living within walking distance of Dupont Middle School since his release from jail three weeks ago.
The state attorney's office released this statement regarding Smith's criminal history: “This is an ongoing investigation, and the defendant’s past criminal cases may be relevant to the current murder investigation. It would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”
If this case makes you wonder how many sexual offenders or sexual predators live in your neighborhood, News4Jax provides an online database that allows you to search by ZIP code.