ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
cloudy-day
77°
Cloudy
H 87° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    77°
    Current Conditions
    Cloudy. H 87° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    76°
    Morning
    Cloudy. H 87° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    82°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 84° L 76°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
State Attorney to seek death penalty in Cherish Perrywinkle murder case
Close

State Attorney to seek death penalty in Cherish Perrywinkle murder case

State Attorney to seek death penalty in Cherish Perrywinkle murder case

State Attorney to seek death penalty in Cherish Perrywinkle murder case

The State Attorney will seek the death penalty in the murder case against Donald Smith after a grand jury handed up an indictment on charges of first degree murder, kidnapping of a child under the age of 13, and sexual battery on a child under the age of 12.

"We feel time is of the essence and that we want to keep this case on track. Death cases are different," state attorney Angela Corey said in a Tuesday news conference.

When asked if Smith had offered any sort of confession since his arrest, Assistant State Attorney Mark Caliel said he could not comment on any statements the defendant has made.  The State Attorney would also not discuss what happened between the time of Cherish's abduction Friday, June 21st and the time of her recovery the next day due to the sensitive nature of the investigation. Caliel says it would be inappropriate for the SAO to comment on any possible pending charges against Cherish's mother, Rayne Perrywinkle.

The Florida Department of Children in Families now confirms to WOKV that they are in contact with the Perrywinkle family.

“We just want to check on the living situation of the children in that home,” says DCF Spokesman John Harrell.

Harrell says it’s normal in an investigation like this, with a suspicious death and other young children in the home, to make contact.  He says DCF is offering the family resources while also making sure the two young children are doing well and the home is suitable.

Among new details included in the indictment we obtained today is the cause of death. We’ve learned Cherish was strangled. Additionally, the SAO says Smith premeditated the murder.

Caliel also renewed a push for any information you may have on a blue, older model, front and back stroller that he describes as a key piece of evidence. The stroller was allegedly put in the back of Smith’s van en route to the Walmart where Cherish was abducted, but when Smith was detained the next day the stroller was not present.  While Police won’t say exactly why they are searching for the stroller, Caliel says it could lead them to a second crime scene.

Smith is due to be arraigned in July 16th. He has pled not guilty and remains in jail on no bond.

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • An 18-month-old boy died after a reported drowning at a Yulee home on Tuesday, officials said. The boy was taken to the hospital after the reported drowning on Lents Road near Roses Bluff Road at approximately 11 a.m. Nassau County Sheriff's Office deputies said the boy was in the care of his 15-year-old babysitter. He was in an above-ground pool outside a trailer, deputies said. His death is under investigation. No one has been charged at this point, deputies said.
  • The body of a woman found found Monday inside a bathroom at a Walmart in Oklahoma has been identified, but police still aren’t sure how long she was there. >> Read more trending news Sand Springs police have identified the woman as 29-year-old Katherine Caraway from Muskogee. According to police, employees assumed that the family bathroom was out of order because it was locked. Employees placed an out of order sign on the door Friday and it remained there throughout the weekend. On Monday, employees unlocked the bathroom door and found the woman.  Sand Springs Police say their preliminary investigation shows nothing suspicious about the woman's death. They do not know why she was in Sand Springs.  Walmart issued the following statement about the discovery:   'We are saddened by this. We don't know all the facts right now, but we are working closely with local law enforcement to provide what information we have that might be useful. Because this is an ongoing investigation, we must refer you to them for additional information.' 
  • A Middleburg man was arrested after witnesses say he pointed a bow and arrow at his neighbor's new boyfriend. That woman told Action News Jax she's frustrated law enforcement didn't take action sooner. 'He was always a very nice person, but he lost his mind,' she said. She asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation. Gary Ruddlesden lives with his mother right around the corner from her. Clay County deputies arrested Ruddlesden after witnesses said he pointed a bow and arrow at the woman's new boyfriend after an argument through the fence. 'Bow and arrow sounds kind of like a kid thing, almost. But it's like a hunting bow and arrow,' she said. Ruddlesden's mother said her son just wanted to scare them, not hurt them. 'He's not a bad person,' said Ruddlesden's mother. Ruddlesden told his mother and friends that the woman is his ex-girlfriend, but she said they were just friends. Clay County Sheriff's Office records show the woman called deputies out to her home three times in the past month with complaints that Ruddlesden was harassing her. 'Since May 26, I've probably gotten over 300 texts. So when the police came out, you know, you try to point out the threatening ones - that he was going to kill my animals,' she said. The reports said deputies told her to block his number. She said she hopes this will be a wake-up call to law enforcement that they need to take women's complaints of harassment more seriously. Ruddlesden is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill, a third-degree felony. He is being held on $15,000 bond. Although Ruddlesden has had a few run-ins with the law in the past, including pleading guilty to trafficking drugs, court records show this was his first time being arrested for a violent crime in Clay County.
  • A fireworks recall is underway just in time for the Fourth of July. >> Read more trending news TNT Fireworks is recalling Red White & Blue Smoke Fireworks, which were sold at Walmart, Target and other stores. The product can explode unexpectedly, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. “The Blue Ammo Smoke effect could rapidly dispel from the bottom of the tube in an explosive manner posing a burn hazard,” the company said on its website. The pyrotechnics were sold in four states, Ohio, Illinois, Vermont and Wisconsin, between May and this month. The company said it is offering a refund or a replacement for those who bought the defective fireworks.
  • Danish shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk was one of multiple European companies to fall victim Tuesday to a cyberattack as Ukrainian government officials reported a “large-scale hacker attack” across the country. >> Read more trending news Attacks were also reported in several other countries, Russia cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said in a statement, including the United States, Russia, Poland, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.

The Latest News Videos