Attorney of Cherish Perrywinkle's father speaks

Attorney: Although unwelcome, dad to make appearance at viewing, funeral

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Cherish Perrywinkle's family prepared for a viewing Thursday night and a funeral on Friday, the 8-year-old's father, who is now in Jacksonville, says he's an unwelcome guest to the proceedings.

Gerald Wilkerson represents Billy Jarreau, who lives in California. Wilkerson spoke with Channel 4 on Thursday.

The big news from his lawyer is that Cherish's father is here, preparing to pay respects and grieve his child's death.

However, Channel 4 is told that Jarreau won't be welcome at the viewing or the funeral, but will make an appearance anyway.

"But he's still going to pay his respects, see his baby and still going to the funeral," Wilkerson said.

Jarreau has been fighting a losing battle for custody of the girl since 2007. Now, Jarreau's attorney said he's speaking for his client because his client is too upset.

"Mr. Jarreau is extremely emotional, and he is upset," Wilkerson said. "We want to focus on burying his daughter, focus on having no conflict and no drama."

Wilkerson said there may be some drama when it comes to honoring the memory of Cherish.

Jarreau has apparently been told through victims' advocates and others that Rayne Perrywinkle will have him removed if Jarreau attends the viewing or the funeral.

"So because of that, we've asked for private viewing and we are going to have private viewing at an undisclosed time, because if he shows up there, she is going to cause a scene," Wilkerson said. "This is what we've heard through credible sources."

Wilkerson said instead of a conflict, Jarreau will try to honor his daughter's memory and then take up his complaints about her care later.

"Now, this is a time for grief, but doesn't mean we just ignore culpability," Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson said he's seen children in the system taken from their parents for much less than this, and that he's seen parents charged with crimes for much less than this.

Wilkerson said the mother should be charged with criminal neglect and at the very least investigated for that.

Jarreau said he is very upset about losing his daughter and very upset that the courts did not give him custody. His attorney said they believe living with Jarreau would have provided a much safer environment for Cherish.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.