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WATCH: 'I was extremely violent. She had to go:' Donald Smith talks about Cherish Perrywinkle in secret jailhouse recordings

***WARNING: The content and language within the videos are graphic and can be disturbing.***

Anne Schindler, First Coast News

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Published: 1/30/2019 1:42:23 PM
Updated: 11:20 AM EST February 1, 2019

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following videos were recorded in the Duval County Jail. They depict conversations between Donald Smith and his mother, Patricia Moore. They were obtained by First Coast News through a public records request.

Smith is currently on death row after he was convicted of kidnapping, raping and murder of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle back in June 2013.

In secret jailhouse videos, Donald Smith blames 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle for her murder, schemes with his mother to fake a mental illness and gloats about his rank among the world’s most notorious criminals.

Recorded: July 19, 2013

Smith boasts about the rape and murder charges he faces in the death of 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle, comparing himself to notorious offenders like Casey Anthony. He says the case "is probably one of the most explosive cases that's ever come out of Jacksonville."

“This is bigger than that," he said. "This is bigger than all of that. This has got every major component in the system … You have kidnapping, you have death and you have rape of a child. That is explosive material. To the max. Casey Anthony didn’t have all that.”

Recorded: July 19, 2013

Smith tells his mom about the night he kidnapped and killed Perrywinkle from a Northside Walmart. He says he knew he was "f***ed" as soon as she got into his van.

Noting he was already a registered sex offender, he recalls thinking, "Don, you got an 8-year-old girl in your van. They'll never believe anything you say." The girl "had to go," he said.

Recorded: June 28, 2013

Smith asks his mom to buy him a copy of the “DSM IV” – a guide to mental disorders -- so he knows how to act mentally ill. 

“We have to be careful about how we express ourselves,” he tells his mom, and continues to whisper or use sign language. (His mother worked as a sign language interpreter.) Smith acknowledges that even if he pulls off a psychiatric defense, he won’t be coming home soon. “[Not] right away, or for a very long time -- probably not years -- but at least I’ll be in a 'hospital,' a civilized treatment setting, where people treat you like a human being.”

Recorded: Between June 28, 2013 and July 19, 2013

Smith expresses his worries about being sent to prison. He says he'd prefer to be sent to a mental hospital but prefers death over being housed with other inmates. 

“I don’t want prison!" he said. "I’d rather go to death row because I’m going to die anyway. Prison is going to kill me. At least on death row, they just give me a shot and I’ll just ... go to sleep. … But every moment, every day, I’ll never know in prison, when it’s coming. … It’s going to be violent. Violent. And I may not even die. I could be crippled. Have my eye poked out… Or raped.”

Recorded: June 28, 2013 and July 19, 2013

Smith responds to his mom's question about whether he raped Perrywinkle, saying “I don’t view children as sexual objects, or sexual partners.” Minutes later, however, he concedes the point. “Could it have happened the way they said? Yes, it could have. It could have. Because …rape is not a sex act. It’s violence. It’s a violent act.”

“Exposing yourself is sex," he said. "Touching, that’s sex. Rape. That’s not about sex. It’s about violence. And at that point, I was so psychotic. I was extremely violent.”

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