Kerri-Anne Buck is one of the reasons Donald Smith got the death penalty for kidnapping, raping, and murdering 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle. She testified at a sentencing hearing against the man she described as a “monster.” Buck joined Law&Crime host Aaron Keller for an interview on Thursday. She had no role in the Perrywinkle case, but Smith previously pleaded guilty in trying to kidnap her in 1992. He spent six years in prison.
“I’m lucky,” Buck said. “Unfortunately, Cherish was not that lucky, and I feel like it’s my responsibility to let the world know the fear that she felt because I felt that fear.”
She said “Cherish got justice” after the death sentence on Thursday.
Jurors convicted Smith last week in Perrywinkle’s murder. Prosecutors said he abducted her from a Walmart in 2013. Now-retired K9 Officer Charlie Wilkie, of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, said he found the girl’s body in a creek–Smith attempted to hide her under bricks, cement, and other material.
Buck testified about her own experience with Smith. Now 37, she was 13 when he tried to kidnap her. She said he approached her when she was on her way to a friend’s house.
“He told me to ‘get the fuck in the van,'” she testified on Tuesday. She ran away and tried to hide in a playground, but Smith pursued her, Buck said. He later showed up at her house, she said. Buck and her mother took down his license plate, and called authorities.
“I was terrified,” a tearful Buck said about testifying. “I just kept telling myself that I was doing this for Cherish and to bring justice to her and for her mother.”
She said sitting in the courtroom with Smith was difficult, and described him as ” very smug.” Her testimony played a role in his death sentence.
#DonaldSmith jurors found all 6 aggravators (previous violent felony, murder while kidnapping/sexual battery, avoid/prevent arrest, especially heinous/cruel, cold/calculated, victim < 12) and 2 mitigators (age & relationship with father).
— Aaron Keller (@AKellerLawCrime) February 22, 2018
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]