JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Seven years before police arrested Donald Smith as a suspect in the slaying of Cherish Perrywinkle, a panel of experts told the state he did not meet the criteria to be considered a sexually violent predator despite a warning from another state agency.
Smith already had been in and out of jail on child-related offenses since 1977 when police first arrested him on charges of lewd assault on a child.
According to the Department of Corrections, Police arrested Smith again in August 1979 for masturbating in front of two young girls, aged 5 and 8. He was sentenced to probation for a lewd and lascivious act on a child under 16.In 1982, state records show Smith went to prison for a lewd and lascivious act on a child under 16.
In 1992, a Department of Corrections report showed Smith lured a 13-year-old into his van before releasing her into a park. The report said Smith tried to lure two other teenage victims by showing them pornography, but those victims ran off.
In 1998, the Department of Corrections said Smith was convicted for a lewd and lascivious act on a child under 16.
All that evidence led up to a warning on March 8, 2006, by the Florida Department of Corrections.
The agency notified the Florida Department of Children & Families that Smith appeared to be a sexually violent predator under the Jimmy Ryce Act.
It was part of a sex offender screening process that the Department of Corrections performed on certain inmates who were due to be released in 590 days or less. Smith was due to be released in October 2006.
The screener reported Smith showed "conclusive evidence of suffering from a psychosexual disorder according to DSM IV criteria." The screener also said Smith had "no comment" when asked if he engaged in deviant sexual fantasy or deviant/illegal sexual behavior.
Months later, a multidisciplinary team met on Sept. 22, 2006, to discuss a plan of action for Smith. Psychologists Lynne Westby and Anthony McCoy determined Smith needed a mental health evaluation to see if he met the criteria to be considered a sexually violent offender.
Soon after, psychologist Chris Robison conducted the clinical evaluation. Smith refused to be interviewed as part of that evaluation. Robison ultimately determined Smith did not meet the criteria.
A week after the evaluation, the multidisciplinary team reviewed the case. Those members included Westby, psychologist Janis Heffron, and psychologist Patrick Cook.
They all said Smith didn't meet the criteria to be considered a sexually violent predator, and recommended the assistant state attorney not file a petition to have Smith committed involuntary.
Action News tried contacting all of the Psychologists listed in the 2006 report.
A DCF spokesperson is also helping us try to track them down.
Some of those doctors no longer work for the State of Florida. We were able to track down the doctor who signed off on the report - we reached out to her by phone and email and are waiting to hear back from her.
[Special coverage: Remembering Cherish