April trial date set for sex offender accused in child death

Author: The Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – A Jacksonville judge has set an April trial date for the man accused of raping and murdering 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle.

Prosecutors say they are seeking the death penalty against 59-year-old Donald James Smith.

Smith, a registered sex offender, is accused of killing Perrywinkle in 2013, after luring her family to a Wal-Mart with promises to buy food and clothing.

Authorities say he took Perrywinkle to a fast-food restaurant inside the store; her body was found the next day.

Smith is charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual battery.

The Florida Times-Union  reports the case has stalled because of the large amount of evidence and because the public defender had to withdraw as Smiths’ original lawyer because the office also represented another death row inmate who said he has incriminating evidence against Smith in another death.

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