WARNING: Graphic

It took a Jacksonville jury less than 15 minutes to find Donald James Smith, 61, guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle in Florida in 2013.

The swift guilty verdicts must come as a relieft to the medical examiner who performed an autopsy on the battered body the young girl.

Dr Valerie Rao earlier broke down while giving evidence at the trial of Cherish's killer.
The jury in the same Florida court were also in tears and "covered their mouths" when graphic photos of the child's death were shown in court.

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"She had so much trauma ... the anatomy was totally distorted by the injury she suffered," forensic pathologist and Jacksonville chief medical examiner Dr Valerie Rao said as jurors covered and closed their eyes.

Cherish Perrywinkle was 8-years-old when was assaulted and murdered.
Cherish Perrywinkle was 8-years-old when was assaulted and murdered.

"I'm sorry, I need to take a break. I need just 5 minutes."

Meanwhile, the man accused of the brutal murder of the girl "decided to turn his back when autopsy pictures were shown", according to sources in court.

Rao was discussing the heinous murder of Cherish Perrywinkle, a little girl who was lured away from her mother while out shopping before being found dead just hours later in June, 2013. News.com.au has viewed Rao's horrifying testimony.

Donald Smith was standing trial on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual battery. He had been released from prison 21 days before Cherish's murder and is now facing the death penalty. Smith had been on the sex offenders list since 1993.

Last year, video was released by the State's Attorney Office in Florida, US, showing horrifying CCTV footage where Cherish is approached, along with her mother and sisters, by Smith at a Walmart in Jacksonville, northeastern Florida.

Rayne Perrywinkle, second left, the mother of Cherish Perrywinkle reacts to the first verdict of guilty in Donald Smith's trial. Photo / AP
Rayne Perrywinkle, second left, the mother of Cherish Perrywinkle reacts to the first verdict of guilty in Donald Smith's trial. Photo / AP

It was the last time 8-year-old Cherish was seen alive.

She suffered severe injuries, abrasions and contusions all over he body after being strangled with a piece of clothing, tortured and raped.

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The surveillance video shows Smith walking alongside the little girl. He allegedly lured both mother and daughter by offering to buy them new clothes. Cherish's mother later told police she was struggling to buy clothes for her daughters when Smith overheard and offered to buy them for her

Hours later, at 11.18pm that evening, the girl's mother Rayne called 911 desperately looking for the child, whom she says was last seen in the company of Smith.

Donald Smith was caught on CCTV leaving Walmart with Cherish.
Donald Smith was caught on CCTV leaving Walmart with Cherish.

The last of the footage shows the little girl being led across the store's carpark.

"She died after she sustained tremendous force on her neck such that she could not breathe," Rao told the court.

In a desperate call to police, the girl's mother revealed how she fears the worst has happened to her daughter.

Perrywinkle can be heard saying: "I'm hoping he's not raping her right now because I've had that done to me and it's not fun."

Her mother told police Smith offered to buy the family food from a McDonald's inside the store and Cherish followed Smith to get the food. However, they never returned.

Smith was arrested 10 hours later after his vehicle was spotted by a police patrol officer.

Cherish's half-naked body, still wearing the same orange dress she is seen wearing at Walmart, was found in front of a church the next day.

In court videos seen by news.com.au, Rao was testifying for the Medical Examiner's office and provided disturbing details over the little girl's death.

Rao is visibly shaken as she describes the bruising, scratching and other physical injuries to the body, taking large gulps and appearing watery-eyed as she details the shocking sexual abuse carried out by Cherish's attacker.

As she looked at photos of Cherish's disfigured body, Rao began to cry and asked to take a break.

"Cherish did not die quickly, and she did not die easily," State Attorney Melissa Nelson told the jury a day earlier.

"In fact, hers was a brutal and tortured death."