JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of Donald Smith, a man accused in the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in 2013 (all times local):
The mother of an 8-year-old girl who was abducted from a Florida Walmart, raped and killed said the man on trial for the crime convinced her he was a good Samaritan who was trying to help her family out.
At times struggling through tears, Rayne Perrywinkle testified Monday in the trial of 61-year-old Donald Smith.
Smith is charged with the first-degree murder, kidnapping and rape of Cherish Perrywinkle in 2013.
Rayne Perrywinkle said Smith had been hovering around she and her three daughters while they shopped at a discount store earlier in the day.
She said Smith saw that she was struggling to buy her kids clothes, and that he waited outside for them and offered to take them to a nearby Walmart and make purchases with a gift card. The mother testified that she accepted because Smith assured her his wife would meet them at the Walmart.
Smith’s wife never appeared and prosecutors say he instead lured Cherish away from her mother and sisters with promises of McDonald’s.
If convicted, Smith faces a possible death sentence.
Jurors in Florida are scheduled to hear opening statements in the trial of a man who faces a possible death sentence if convicted in the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in 2013.
Donald Smith faces first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual battery charges related to Cherish Perrywinkle’s kidnapping and death in Jacksonville.
The 61-year-old Smith is accused of killing Perrywinkle after luring her family to Walmart in June 2013 with promises to buy food and clothing. Perrywinkle’s mother called 911 after she suspected Smith had left with the girl.
Jurors are expected to see autopsy photographs of Perrywinkle’s injuries, which led many potential jurors to tell the court they would have problems serving.
Smith, who has a criminal record dating back to the 1970s, is represented by public defenders.
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