Jurors Brought To Tears During Trial Of Man Accused Of Raping 8-Year-Old Girl to Point of "Total Distortion" And Brutal Strangulation

Jurors Brought To Tears During Trial Of Man Accused Of Raping 8-Year-Old Girl to Point of "Total Distortion" And Brutal Strangulation

Even the medical examiner became emotional while describing how the young victim fought for her life.

Published February 14th

During the trial for the man accused of kidnapping, raping, and brutally murdering an 8-year-old in Jacksonville, details of the killing brought the jurors to tears.

In June 2013, Cherish Perrywinkle was lured out a Walmart, never to be seen alive again. Donald Smith, 61, was arrested for her killing and charged with kidnapping, sexual battery and first-degree murder, reported News4Jax.

During the trial on Tuesday, Medical Examiner Valerie Rao described Cherish's brutal rape and last moments alive. Rao explained how Cherish’s autopsy revealed she suffered sexual trauma to her body before being strangled.

At one point, Rao said Cherish fought back during the horrific attack. During this testimony, several members of the jury could be heard crying.  

As Rao continued to describe how Cherish had been strangled and suffered so many blunt force traumas to the head that she appeared “totally distorted,” the medical examiner choked back tears.  

Cherish’s mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, delivered a testimony describing how her family first came into contact with Smith.

According to Perrywinkle, she and her three daughters were shopping at a discount store for clothes when Smith noticed that she was having difficulty paying for the items. After Perrywinkle left the store, Smith, she said, was waiting for her outside and offered to take her family to Walmart to buy the children clothes.

Perrywinkle only agreed to Smith's offer because he said his “wife” would be meeting them at the store. The mother and her children got into Smith’s white van and went to a nearby Walmart.

As they shopped, it started getting late and his “wife” never showed up. Perrywinkle’s daughters said they were hungry and Smith offered to go to a McDonald’s in the store and get them some food.

Cherish followed behind him and instead of going to the McDonald’s, he left the store.

About 20 minutes later, Perrywinkle, began to panic. She realized the McDonald’s was closed and her cellphone was not working. The mother then yelled out for someone to help.

"No one noticed. It looked like a grandfather and a granddaughter," State Attorney Melissa Nelson told the jury during her opening statement.

Nelson said Cherish's mutilated body was later found in a creek and when officials arrested Smith, he was wet from the waist down.

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: WJXT News4Jax)

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