The medical examiner who performed the autopsy an 8-year-old girl named Cherish Perrywinkle testified at the trial of the man accused of kidnapping, raping and murdering the child. The medical examiner became so overwhelmed with emotions while describing the findings of the autopsy and the condition of the child’s body, that she needed to take a break in her testimony.
The Jacksonville Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Valerie Ra0 described the child’s “totally destroyed anatomy” and became teary-eyed and unable to continue at one point during her testimony. It was during the point in the trial when Rao was viewing the pictures of the child’s body when she became overwhelmed with emotion.
Donald Smith, 61, is facing the death penalty after he was found guilty today of the charges of kidnapping, raping, and murdering the girl. Whatever the medical examiner saw in those pictures of the battered little body of that innocent girl really hit her hard, as described by Fox News.
Smith allegedly lured the girl and her mother to Walmart with a promise of new clothing and a meal at McDonald’s. At some point during that Walmart trip, Smith walked away with the girl. Security cameras from the store show the child “skipping out the door behind him.”
The medical examiner explained the child’s cause of death in grisly details to the court. She said the girl sustained a “tremendous force to her neck, such that she basically could not breathe.” She died as a result of swelling of the brain caused by lack of oxygen to her brain, said Rao.
The jury members saw the pictures that depicted the child suffering abrasions on her neck from the force used during strangulation. The jury members could see in these pictures the “hemorrhaging and red blood vessels around the little girl’s neck. It was the viewing of those pictures that caused Rao’s emotional distress prompting the break in the testimony.
During that break, Smith’s lawyer presented an argument to the judge for a mistrial, but the judge denied his motion. The horrendous actions that allegedly occurred during this crime unfolded in the courtroom.
Rao told the court that it took an estimated 3-5 minutes for Cherish to die. She also described the evidence that pointed to the child trying to fight back and it was during this time that the little girl “managed to inflict injury on Smith’s penis” after he allegedly attempted oral sex on the child.
Secret recordings of Smith in jail were played in court. In one of the recordings Smith can be heard telling another inmate: “She had a lot for a white girl.” The closing arguments for this case were heard today, Wednesday, and from there the case was handed over to the jury to deliberate. In less than 15 minutes the jury came back with their decision.
Breaking News Update: It took the jury just minutes to find Donald Smith guilty of the charges against him, according to Fox News. The 61-year-old man was found guilty in less than 15 minutes after the jury started deliberating.
Smith had approached a poor family and introduced himself as a “good Samaritan.” He told the mother that he would take her and Cherish shopping with a gift card he had from Walmart. He said his wife would meet up with them later, which never happened. Once in the store, he managed to ditch the mother, who searched for about 20 minutes before calling 911. The last known image of little Cherish alive was from a security camera that showed her getting into a white van after she followed him out of the store.
Smith was convicted of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual battery on a child less than 12 years of age. His sentencing hearing begins on Thursday, where he is facing the death penalty as one of his punishment options.
Fox News points out how very unassuming this man was, he looked like a typical uncle of a typical American family. His fake kindness along with his ordinary appearance worked for him while luring the child away. It appears that monsters don’t always look like monsters.