Jail recordings of Cherish Perrywinkle's accused killer released

72 hours of conversations between Donald Smith and 2nd inmate recorded

Donald Smith enters courtroom for March 1 hearing.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As Donald Smith awaits trial on charges that he kidnapped, raped and murdered 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle in June 2013, News4Jax has obtained 72 hours of recordings of secret jailhouse conversations of Smith and another defendant who was awaiting prosecution for murder and is now on death row.

In all, police recorded more than 74 hours of conversations and noises using a hidden microphone placed in the utility space between the isolation cells of Smith and Randall Deviney in the Duval County Jail. 

Police started the secret recordings after Deviney told prosecutors he had information about another murder that he said involved Smith.

News4Jax has listened to the audio and found one conversation in which inmates were talking about how girls as young as 12, are dressing up to look like grown women. (Warning: The conversations contain graphic language.)

"There was two females with … Wesley. And, I don't know, I can't tell you how old these girls were you hear? But man, this one looked like 12, 13, 14 at the most you hear? Big a**, cantaloupe-sized, t******...and got an a** that make Coco..."

"...look like s***, you hear? You can sit a wine glass on top of this girl's a**, you hear me? It'd sit perfectly. This b**** has fake eyelashes, fake nails, fake hair. Look like a grown a** woman, you hear?"

The identity of the person talking is unclear. But the recordings do include audio of Deviney, who, during his prosecution, claimed to have information about a rape and murder that happened before 8-year-old Cherish was killed.

Deviney said that the other rape and murder was committed by Smith.

Deviney told the State Attorney's Office he had information that Donald Smith had committed the prior rape and murder, but at the time, the State Attorney's Office said it wasn't interested in considering Deviney’s testimony to reduced his sentence. They believed that Deviney was just making up information, trying to get a plea deal for himself to avoid a death penalty.

After the State Attorney’s Office listed the recordings as evidence it plans to use against Smith, Smith’s attorneys asked the Court to seal the recordings to prevent the public from hearing them. The Court agreed to seal portions of the recordings because they are exempt from public records laws and might contain confessions. The remainder should be public, the court said.

The State Attorney's Office on Tuesday released the remaining portions of 72 hours’ worth of recordings.

If there were any confessions on the recordings, they would be exempt from disclosure.

News4Jax is continuing to review the recordings to see what else they might contain.

In court Wednesday morning, Smith's lawyer argued a motion to suppress all the audio, which would not allow it to be used as evidence in Smith's trial.

Smith’s attorneys are arguing that Deviney worked as “an agent” of the state, trying to entrap him into making admissions about various crimes, which could violate Smith’s right against self-incrimination. The State denies that Deviney was working with law enforcement.

The judge took those arguments under advisement and set another hearing for 9 a.m. on May 26.


About the Author:

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.