'Call 911. My Daughter's Been Taken': Man Convicted of Rape, Murder of Girl After Mom's Tearful Testimony

PEOPLE.com | 2/14/2018 | Staff
Click For Photo: https://peopledotcom.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/cherish-perrywinkle.jpg?crop=0px,115px,1271px,668px&resize=1200,630

Donald James Smith has been found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle in a Florida courtroom Wednesday, PEOPLE confirms.

The jury deliberated for only 15 minutes before convicting Smith, 61. Sentencing is scheduled for next week, and Smith faces the death penalty.

Day - Verdict - Rayne - Perrywinkle - Stand

The day before the verdict, Rayne Perrywinkle took the stand in a Florida courtroom to describe the worst day of her life — the day her 8-year-old daughter, Cherish, was killed.

Her voice wavering, she told the jury that she was approached by Smith while she was shopping with her two daughters at a Family Dollar discount store.

Perrywinkle - Smith - Clothes - Walmart - Smith

According to Perrywinkle, Smith offered to help them buy clothes at a nearby Walmart. When she initially hesitated, she says Smith told her that his wife had a $100 gift card and would meet them at the store. Rayne Perrywinkle told police that she told him, “I don’t usually go with strangers, but if your wife is coming, then it’s OK.”

In court, Perrywinkle says that Smith reassured her that she and her daughters were not in danger. “He looked into my face and told me I was safe,” she testified.

Girls - Perrywinkle - Smith - Food - McDonald

The girls soon started to get hungry, Perrywinkle testified. She said Smith offered to get them food at the McDonald’s inside Walmart. Video surveillance later showed Smith and Cherish Perrywinkle walking out of the Walmart.

When Perrywinkle couldn’t find her daughter, she began to panic. Because she didn’t have a cellphone, she pleaded with others for help.

Daughter - Taken - One - One - Someone

“I was yelling, ‘Call 911. My daughter’s been taken.’ And no one wouldn’t, no one would help me right away,” she tearfully testified. Someone eventually gave her a phone to call authorities.

• For more compelling true crime coverage, follow our Crime magazine on Flipboard.

PEOPLE - Call - June

PEOPLE has obtained the 911 call made in June 2013. “I had a bad...
(Excerpt) Read more at: PEOPLE.com
Wake Up To Breaking News!
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome to Long Room!

Where The World Finds Its News!