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Judge officially sentences Donald Smith to death for crimes against Cherish Perrywinkle

In February, a jury found Donald Smith guilty and recommended death as the punishment for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle. On Wednesday, a judge made it official.

In February, a jury found Donald Smith guilty and recommended death as the punishment for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle. On Wednesday, a judge made it official.

Rayne Perrywinkle embracing State Attorney Melissa Nelson.

"May God have mercy on your soul," Judge Cooper said to Smith.

Judge Mallory Cooper officially sentenced Smith to death. She kept this case even into her retirement

In order for the death sentence to be recommended, all 12 jurors had to come to a unanimous decision and in February, they did, after roughly 15 minutes of deliberation.

Smith previously said he wanted to die because it would be “simple happy and peaceful” compared to life in prison. His attorneys tried to make the case that he’d suffer more if given a life sentence.

Cooper also denied the request for a retrial, which Smith's team had requested on the grounds that comments made by the prosecutors that the death of Smith would send a message meant that he did not receive a fair trial.

It is expected Smith's defense attorneys will appeal.

Rayne Perrywinkle, mother of Cherish, was in court today. She tearfully thanked a juror who helped to sentence Smith to death.

"He always looks away first, every time I look at him and we lock eyes he always looks away first. I don't think it's guilt though," she said of Smith, "Now when I look at him, I'm numb."

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