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State Attorney: Donald Smith indicted for murder, Cherish Perrywinkle strangled

4:21 PM, Jul 2, 2013   |    comments
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Donald Smith, 56, is accused of abducting Perrywinkle from a Walmart in Jacksonville
 PDF Document: Donald Smith Indicment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The state will seek the death penalty against the man suspected in Cherish Perrywinkle's murder, State Attorney Angela Corey announced Tuesday.

A grand jury indicted Donald Smith, 56, for first degree murder with the state seeking the death penalty. 

During a news conference, Corey cited the indictment and said Cherish Perrywinkle was strangled to death.


According to investigators, the 8-year-old girl was abducted from the Walmart on Lem Turner Road on June 21. She was found dead the following day and Smith arrested a short time later.

Smith was also indicted for capital sexual battery and kidnapping of a child.

RELATED: Remembering Cherish Perrywinkle

Smith, who was classified as a sexual offender, has been in and out of court most of his adult life.

Corey said she is restricted in what she can say about past cases since they will become part of Smith's murder trial.

RELATED: Cherish's mom speaks about daughter's disappearance

"We understand the public is asking, but are asking people to bear with us just as we have in other high profile cases. Just wait until everything can come out detail by detail," said Corey.

Smith will next appear in court July 16 to enter a plea to the murder charge.

RELATED: Cherish Perrywinkle's pastor: 'Blame the law'

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