I-TEAM obtains newly-released evidence against Donald Smith

Smith sentenced to death for rape and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle

The I-TEAM has obtained all of the evidence against Donald Smith, who was convicted of raping and killing 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle. The evidence, some of it newly released, is required to be preserved for inmates who are currently sitting on death row.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4JAX I-TEAM has obtained all of the evidence against Donald Smith, who was convicted of raping and killing 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle.

The evidence, some of it newly released, is required to be preserved for inmates who are currently sitting on death row.

Among the documents that will be preserved for decades are dozens of criminal PDF documents, 911 calls, crime scene photos and Crime Stoppers tips — all of which paint a clear picture regarding the sexual offender who committed one of the most heinous crimes in North Florida history.

One of the newly-obtained pieces of evidence is an audio transmission from Jacksonville sheriff’s officers of the dramatic moments when police took Smith into custody on Interstate 95 in June 2013.

“There’s five units up there. We don’t need anybody else up on the van. Everyone else do a rolling roadblock. I need units in front of the van with stop sticks,” police can be heard saying. “I want a felony takedown, do a felony takedown.”

Smith surrendered to Jacksonville police hours after raping and killing Perrywinkle, who he kidnapped from a Jacksonville Walmart and left in a wooded area.

Interrogation video reveals Perrywinkle injured Smith in the fight for her life.

“She **** bit me,” Smith can be heard saying.

READ MORE: Cherish Perrywinkle: The case that shocked Jacksonville | Who was Cherish Perrywinkle before Donald Smith cut her life short?

Video also documents the methodical forensic examination that would lead to Smiths’ conviction and death row sentence.

“It’s a search warrant for your person. We’re going to be taking your clothes. We are going to be taking some hair. We are going to be taking some swabs, OK? None of it’s going to be painful,” one person can be heard saying, telling Smith that he has no choice. “It’s a search warrant.”

Smith is also heard on camera expressing concern for his mother’s safety, asking deputies if there’s anything police can do to protect his family while he’s in jail.

”I’m afraid for her to stick her hand in the mailbox. They’re going through her trash. I’m just very fearful for my mother. She’s old,” he can be heard saying.

Also preserved for decades: two Crime Stopper tips that came in by phone the day of Perrywinkle’s death.

One was from a caller, who states that Smith was seen June 11, 2013 — 10 days before the kidnapping. The caller says he was in a Walmart in the Villages in Central Florida, looking fidgety and wandering the store aisles.

The second Crime Stopper tip preserved was from a witness in the Walmart the night Cherish was kidnapped. The caller states Smith was seen hiding behind the women’s clothes rack on his cellphone.

All of the agencies that responded to the incident are required to preserve all of their evidence and documentation in the case, including Smith’s defense attorneys.

The Florida Supreme Court rejected Smith’s first appeal in April. More appeals are expected, and a potential execution is years away.

Cherish Perrywinkle

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.