Troubled history for Donald James Smith, accused of killing eight-year-old Florida girl

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Donald James Smith has been in jail for more than a week, charged with kidnapping and killing an eight-year-old Jacksonville girl.

But a portrait of the 56-year-old Smith is emerging.

The Florida Times Union ( says accounts from the Smith's childhood and adult acquaintances, neighbors and hundreds of pages of court records paint a picture of the career criminal as a young bully and a sexual deviant from at least his early 20s, as well as a lifelong charmer.

Authorities rejected a plea of insanity in one of his early criminal cases after a psychiatric exam.

Smith spent 1999 to 2002 under involuntary civil commitment after meeting the criteria of a violent sexual predator as part of the state's Jimmy Ryce Act.


Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union,

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