Cherish Perrywinkle

Interrogation video of Cherish Perrywinkle’s killer released five years later shows chilling reaction, as victim’s mom pleads to have video ‘taken down’

More than five years after the murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle, chilling footage of the man who took a young girl’s life has emerged, and offers a glimpse into the calculated killer’s actions shortly after his arrest.

News4Jax uncovered surveillance footage of child rapist and killer, Donald Smith, recorded the day after he kidnapped Cherish from a Jacksonville, Florida, Walmart store on June 21, 2013.

Smith sat calmly in a Duvall County interrogation room for around an hour before talking to authorities. At one point he fell asleep, seemingly undisturbed that he had just been arrested for the death of child.

When a Duvall County detective arrived to the interrogation room, Smith declined to comment on the charges against him.

Detective: This is an investigation into the abduction and murder of a Cherish Perrywinkle, 8-year-old female. We’d like to ask you questions about it. Do you want to talk to us?”

Smith: “No.”

Earlier this year, Smith was found guilty of murdering Cherish. He received the death penalty.

Retired Jacksonville retired K-9 officer Charlie Wilkie arrested Smith in May 2012, after spotting the convict traveling along Interstate 95 in Jacksonville, the morning after Cherish’s death. Smith was in a white van, the same vehicle used to abduct the little girl. He eventually sodomized, raped, and killed her, then tossed her lifeless body into shallow water behind a local Jacksonville church.

“The worst of the worst,” Wilkie told News4Jax. “He never showed any emotion…….If he got a chance to be out on the street today, he’d be driving by this highway (I-95), looking for his next victim. He was not going to stop.”

During Smith’s 2018 trial, Jacksonville Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Valerie Rao provided additional details of the incident, details so gruesome that she broke down on the stand while describing the graphic details.

READ More: Cherish Perrywinkle: Defense rests after medical examiner broke down while testifying that girl was ‘choked to death’ after brutal rape, beating

Donald Smith [Florida Department of Corrections]
Meanwhile, Cherish’s mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, told CrimeOnline that she doesn’t care to see the newly-released footage of Smith. She wants the video pulled down immediately, and said it does nothing but bring additional heartache to her.

“I’m her mother, regardless. I’m still her mother and I should have the right to put my foot down and say, ‘Stop exploiting Cherish! Stop bringing more haters to cause me more suffering.’ If the shoe was on the other foot, I’m sure they would not like it either.”

Smith remains behind bars at Florida State Prison, under maximum security in the death row unit.

[Feature Photo: Cherish Perrywinkle/Handout]