JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Conversations between inmate Donald Smith and a convicted murderer that were recorded while the two were in adjoining cells in the Duval County jail will be the subject of new motions.
That came out in court Friday morning at a hearing, but the only decision was that Smith’s new attorney, Charles Fletcher, was to be granted access to recording between Smith’s former attorney and the state.
Smith is charged in the 2013 kidnapping, rape and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle. His attorneys had filed a motion to suppress 74 hours of recorded conversations between Smith and death row inmate Randall Deviney, claiming that they were obtained unlawfully, without a warrant.
While he awaited retrial, Deviney sent a handwritten letter to the state attorney's office saying that Smith told him about a previous rape and murder that he committed, and Deviney was willing to trade that information for a lighter sentence in his murder case.
The state attorney's office has said it thinks Deviney was lying about another case to benefit himself. Deviney has since been reconvicted and resentenced to death for killing Delores Futrell in 2008. Smith's trial date has not been set.
Smith's attorneys argued last year that since he signed a form the day after his arrest saying that he would not speak to police,and his lawyers said Deviney was acting as an agent of the police, Smith should have been read his rights.
Fletcher has filed new motion to keep the 74 hours of recorded conversation from being presented at trial and Judge Mallory Cooper set a deadline later this month to file a motion to suppress four transcripts. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for Aug. 2.
"You can expect this case will continue to take time," said Gene Nichols, an attorney not affiliated with the case. "And now with this Deviney issue that's been thrown in ... they've got to work through all of this."
Nichols predicts this case could go to trial next year.