*Jury deliberations about to begin in the case against Donald Smith*
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We could have a verdict as early as Wednesday in the death penalty case against Donald Smith.
First Coast News will stream the closing arguments live on Firstcoastnews.com
Wednesday marks day three in the trial against the now 61-year-old.
Smith, a serial sex offender, is accused of kidnapping Perrywinkle from a Northside Walmart, sexually assaulting and killing her.
Both days of testimonies against Smith were emotional for those up on the witness stand, and for those in the jury box.
State Attorney Melissa Nelson began her opening arguments with an emotional and fuel-charged statement:
"He gagged her, he raped her, he sodomized her, and then he strangled her," She continued. "He gagged her with such force her gums and her nostrils bled, he strangled her with such force her eyeballs bled. She did not die quickly, and she did not die easily, in fact, hers was a brutal and tortured death."
Rayne Perrywinkle, Cherish's mother, was the first to take the witness stand early Monday morning. Rayne described how Smith lured her into his van with the promise of money and clothes. Fighting back tears, Rayne described how she made a lot of mistakes when it came to that fateful night.
Rayne said when she first spotted Smith, she had some strange feelings about him, but ultimately ignored her gut stating she was just being paranoid.
Smith would eventually get the young 8-year-old girl alone, with the promise of a cheeseburger from McDonald's. As Cherish and Smith walked away to the front of the store, that would be the last time Rayne would see her daughter alive.
The second day of the trial against Smith was an extremely hard one for many jurors to watch. The Medical Examiner that performed the autopsy on Cherish and the DNA analyst who performed her rape kit explained in detail the horrors the little girl went through hours before her horrific death.
The defense rested its case early Tuesday afternoon, which means closing arguments and deliberations are expected to begin Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. First Coast News will stream the closing arguments live on Firstcoastnews.com