Murderer, Has Long Criminal History
Donald James Smith, 56, allegedly abducted Cherish Perrywinkle from a Jacksonville Walmart Friday night. The girl’s body was found the next day in a wooded area in the same city.
In 2009, Smith was convicted of attempting to take another young girl. On Sunday, Stephanie Thornton told Action News JAX about the incident, in which he tried to kidnap her own daughter.
Smith called the girl’s grandmother, pretending to be a Department of Children and Families employee. He claimed that the 9-year-old had been raped and that he needed to meet her at McDonald’s “to pick her up to take her to be checked,” Thornton told the station.
Suspecting he was a fake, Thornton contacted police and Smith was arrested. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to attempted impersonation of a public employee and attempted child abuse. He was released from jail on May 31, just 21 days before he allegedly kidnapped Perrywinkle.
The morning of the day Perrywinkle vanished, Jacksonville deputies conducted a monthly address check at Smith’s home, as is required for registered sex offenders, News 13 reported.
Thornton did not know Smith had been released, and is incensed that he had the opportunity to harm another child.
“He needs to be electrocuted. He should never be able to get back out, never,” she told Action News JAX.
The 2009 incident was not the first time Smith broke the law. Smith has been a registered sex offender since 1993, when he tried to lure three young girls into his pornography-filled van, Fox 30 WAWS reported. He spent five years in prison on an attempted kidnapping conviction.
Before that, Smith was convicted in 1977 for lewd and lascivious behavior on a child under 16.
Smith is currently being held without bail for Cherish Perrywinkle’s abduction and murder. He allegedly befriended Perrywinkle’s mother, Rayne Perrywinkle, Friday evening when she had trouble affording a new dress for Cherish at a Dollar General store.
The mother and her three children, including Cherish, went with Smith to the Jacksonville Walmart, where he said he would buy the family food and clothing. After spending a couple of hours at Walmart, Smith disappeared with Cherish. Her mother called police after realizing her daughter was missing.
Recently I’ve been reading the news reports about families of inmates and registered sex offenders essentially whining about how bad prison is, yet the offenders continue to break the law, even knowing how bad prison is. Offenders whine about having to register as sex offenders when they have violated the moral and legal laws about this deviant behavior. I’m sorry I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the offenders. I do have compassion on their families, but compassion not for how they suffer because they continue to support the career criminals even those these people have shown by their actions that they are not willing to make good choices that lie within the law. I too was duped into “supporting” my son, even after he became a killer, but I finally saw the light. I finally realized that I was only hurting myself and the rest of my family. I know from personal experience that it is very difficult to give up on someone you love, but until an offender shows by their behavior that they will abide by the legal and moral laws of this land, I have no pity on them.
What is concerning me though, is why on earth was this man given such short sentences when he had shown by his repeatedly trying to lure children and to kidnap them. Why did he ever get released?
Most of the states have a “three strikes” law and a person who commits a second felony gets a longer sentence than a man who had not done the first felony, then if he commits the third felony, he is in for life. Unfortunately too many courts even in states with a “three strikes” law don’t utilize it. In this case, this man should have been locked up well before he killed this little girl and the key thrown away.