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Troubled Past For Man Charged In Florida Girl's Slaying

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Associated Press Release

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Donald James Smith has been in jail for more than a week, charged with kidnapping and killing an eight-year-old Jacksonville girl.

But a portrait of the 56-year-old Smith is emerging.

The Florida Times Union (http://bit.ly/18qLHui) says accounts from the Smith's childhood and adult acquaintances, neighbors and hundreds of pages of court records paint a picture of the career criminal as a young bully and a sexual deviant from at least his early 20s, as well as a lifelong charmer.

Authorities rejected a plea of insanity in one of his early criminal cases after a psychiatric exam.

Smith spent 1999 to 2002 under involuntary civil commitment after meeting the criteria of a violent sexual predator as part of the state's Jimmy Ryce Act.

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Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com


Associated Press Release

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a registered sex offender is charged with murder in the death of a Florida girl abducted while shopping with her mother.

Mike Williams of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Saturday that Donald James Smith befriended 8-year-old Charish Perriwinkle and her mother Friday night at a dollar store and offered to buy them clothes at Wal-Mart.

Williams says Smith took them to Wal-Mart, then told the mother he would buy them a snack at the front of the store. Instead, authorities say Smith walked out with Charish.

A tip led investigators to a wooded area where they found Charish's body Saturday morning.

Williams says Smith was released from jail May 31 and met with police Friday morning when officers visited to check his address, as required by state law.


Associated Press Release

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Authorities say the body of an 8-year-old Jacksonville girl abducted from a Wal-Mart has been found at a church.

Charish Perriwinkle had been shopping with her mother Friday night. Sgt. Lonnie Mills of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office tells The Florida Times-Union that the pair was befriended by a man who offered to take Charish to buy a snack.

The man is a registered sex offender. Sheriff's office spokesman Shannon Hartley said Saturday that the 56-year-old man had been taken into custody after officers surrounded his van.

About an hour later, the girl's body was found at a church.


Associated Press Release

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has issued an Amber Alert for an 8-year-old girl abducted from a Wal-Mart in Jacksonville.

Authorities say Charish Perriwinkle is white with brown hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen Friday night wearing an orange dress with a fruit print, purple flip-flops and a pink bandana.

Sgt. Lonnie Mills of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office tells The Florida Times-Union that the girl had been shopping with her mother when they were befriended by a man who offered to take Charish to buy a snack.

Authorities say the man is a registered sex offender. According to the Amber Alert, he may be driving a 1998 white Dodge van with a dark pinstripe down its sides and a Florida license plate.


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