Cherish Perrywinkle's mom sees daughter's accused killer for first time

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A first for Rayne Perrywinkle: She was in court Wednesday to see in person the man accused of kidnapping, raping and killing her 8-year-old daughter.

Last summer, the abduction and murder of Cherish Perrywinkle captured the attention of the city. Arrested and charged with Cherish's murder was Donald Smith.

On Wednesday, Smith had a routine pretrial hearing with Cherish's mother in the courtroom. She had not attended previous hearings because she was not ready for the experience.

Following the hearing, Perrywinkle did not make any comments.

In court with Perrywinkle was Diena Thompson, whose own daughter Somer was murdered in another high-profile abduction-murder case on the First Coast

"She (Rayne) is just preparing now to get used to going in the courtroom," said Thompson outside the steps of the Duval County Courthouse.

"Just being strong to stand up against the monsters," said Thompson of what Perrywinkle faces in upcoming court hearings.

Smith will be back in court on July 16. His trial is tentatively scheduled for this fall.


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