Cherish Lily Perrywinkle was born on Christmas Eve, 2004. At 8 years old, she was an honor student at Chimney Lakes Elementary School, where she had just finished second grade. She loved playing with dolls, the color pink and was proud that she had just mastered riding her bicycle. Cherish was with her mother and younger sisters shopping for clothes on June 21, 2013, when they were approached by Donald Smith.
Donald James Smith, a registered sex offender, had been out of prison for three weeks when he approached the Perrywinkle family that night. Less than 12 hours later, Cherish's body was found near a creek behind a North Jacksonville church and he was stopping driving his van on Interstate 95, his clothes soaking wet. Now 61, Smith is being tried on charges of kidnapping, capital sexual battery and first-degree murder.
Prosecutors: State Attorney Melissa Nelson and Assistant State Attorney Mark Caliel
Defense attorneys: Julie Schlax and Charles Fletcher
Circuit Judge Mallory Cooper, who has officially retired but given permission to continue to remain on the bench specifically to preside over this trial.
Over five days, a jury pool of 300 people was whilttled down to 16 -- eight black women, four white men, three white women and one Hispanic woman. Twelve will be jurors and four will serve as alternates, but all will sit as one panel until deliberations begin.