JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Attorneys for the man awaiting trial in the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle want the death penalty off the table in his upcoming trial.
The motion filed on behalf of Donald Smith came the same day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Florida's death penalty.
In an 8-to-1 ruling, justices said the sentencing procedure is flawed and unconstitutional because juries only play an advisory role in deciding a death penalty. The judge actually makes the ruling.
Smith's trial is set for April 4, 2016. The state filed a notice to seek the death penalty.
According to police, Smith met Cherish Perrywinkle's mother, Rayne, at a local store and accepted his offer of help in buying her clothes for Cherish. They traveled to another store, and police say Smith managed to walk out with the 8-year-old girl who was found dead the next morning on the Northside.