Medical Examiner Breaks Down While Testifying in Cherish Perrywinkle Murder Trial | Law & Crime

Medical Examiner Breaks Down While Testifying in Cherish Perrywinkle Murder Trial

A medical examiner testifying in the murder trial of Donald Smith became so emotional describing her examination of the 8-year-old victim that she needed the court to take a break Tuesday morning. Dr. Valerie Rao was answering questions regarding her examination of  Cherish Perrywinkle, discussing the process she used as well as the findings of her exam. The testimony was rather graphic, as the discussion included gruesome injuries to the child’s head and genitals.

In the middle of answering a question regarding images of her examination, Dr. Rao suddenly said, “I’m sorry, I have to take a break. Can I just have, like, five minutes?”

The judge agreed, ordering a ten minute recess.

Law&Crime Network trial analyst and Julie Rendelman said that in all her years as a criminal attorney, she’s never seen anything like this.

“I must admit in my years as both a homicide prosecutor and defense attorney, I have never seen a medical examiner break down on the stand,” Rendelman said in a tweet Tuesday morning. “I do realize this is an incredibly emotional case but, nevertheless, I really have never seen this before.”

Later in the morning, Dr. Rao continued with her testimony regarding her examination of the young victim.

Stay with LawAndCrime.com and the Law&Crime Network for continuing coverage of the trial.

[Image via Law&Crime Network screengrab]

More Stories About This Trial


  1. Mediaite
  2. The Mary Sue
  3. RunwayRiot
  4. Law & Crime
  5. Gossip Cop