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Donald Smith made his first court appearance Sunday morning

8:54 AM, Jun 23, 2013   |    comments
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  • JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Donald Smith, the registered sex offender accused of kidnapping and later murdering 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle, made his first appearance in court Sunday morning.

    Smith pleaded not guilty and the next court appearance is scheduled July 16.

    Judge Roberto Arias accepted the request by prosecution to deny Smith bail.

    Fred Gazaleh, Smith's court-appointed attorney said during court that there was not a chance of Smith getting a bail, "not on this charge."

    RAW VIDEO: Police surround abduction, murder suspect on highway

    According to police, Smith has been charged with the murder and kidnapping of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle.

    The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office confirmed that the mother of Cherish said she met Smith at the Dollar General Store at 1610 Edgewood Avenue West around 7:30 p.m. where he befriended her.

    RELATED: A memorial for Cherish Perrywinkle at Highlands Baptist Church 

    Smith initiated a conversation with Cherish's mother by asking her if she wanted a dress, according to the police report.

    Smith said his wife had a $100 gift card for Wal-Mart, police say, but the complainant needed to wait until she arrived to use it, but the wife never arrived.

    According to the police report, the suspect said they could meet his wife at Wal-Mart and Smith, the mother and three children, including Cherish, drove to the Wal-Mart shopping center at 12100 Lem Turner Road.

    Smith later left the Wal-Mart with Cherish according to police.

    Police were contacted around 11 p.m. Friday by Cherish's mother who said her daughter had gone missing at the Wal-Mart. Smith was identified on surveillance by Cherish's mother as Cherish's kidnapper.

    Police officials began an immediate search of the area both in air and ground. Early Saturday morning an Amber Alert was issued.

    Police released photos of a white 1998 Dodge Van that was suspected to be involved in the kidnapping.

    Smith was arrested after he was spotted driving the van  southbound I-95 near the I-10 split, according to police.

    Cherish's body was found in near Highlands Baptist Church on Broward Road.


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