Convicted sex offender accused of killing Florida girl, 8, denied bond

June 23, 2013 at 7:39 PM
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla., June 23 (UPI) -- A convicted sex offender was denied bail Sunday after being charged with killing an 8-year-old Florida girl whose body was found near a church.

Judge Roberto Arias agreed with prosecutors who requested that Donald Smith, 56, be denied bond, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Smith's next court appearance was scheduled for July 16.

Smith's court-appointed attorney, Fred Gazaleh, said Smith didn't need to show up in court for his initial appearance, but the suspect was in the courtroom wearing a bright red jumpsuit, the newspaper said.

Smith allegedly kidnapped Cherish Perrywinkle from a Walmart store in Jacksonville Friday night and drove off in a white van, WJXT-TV, Jacksonville, reported.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Smith was stopped in a white van about 9 a.m. Saturday and soon after police said they had found the girl's body in woods near Highlands Baptist Church.

Authorities said Smith, who is charged with kidnapping and murder, had befriended the girl's mother and three children earlier Friday evening at a Dollar General store and then took them to Walmart to buy them clothes and other items, the TV station said.

"After being inside the store for a couple of hours, the man then offered to buy some hamburgers," sheriff's office Director Mike Williams said. "As he walked to the front of the store, he took our 8-year-old victim with him."

The mother called police when they failed to return in about a half hour and an Amber Alert was issued.

Smith has been in Florida's sex offender database since a 1992 conviction in Duval County for attempted kidnapping and selling obscene materials, the TV station said.

He also has subsequent arrests for burglary, dealing in stolen property, parole violation, child abuse, making obscene phone calls to a 10-year-old girl and making verbal threats,

Smith had been released from custody May 31 and neighbors told the TV station he was living with his mother in Lakewood.

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