Feb. 2, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A man who was 13 when he brutally killed a 4-year-old boy nearly 30 years ago has been released from prison and is expected to live in Queens.
Eric Smith was convicted of second-degree murder in 1994 for luring Derrick Robie into a wooded area in Steuben County, New York, in 1993 and crushing his skull with a rock before sexually assaulting him with a stick.
The case shocked the nation given the nature of the crime as well as Smith’s young age.
Smith, now 42, was released from prison on parole Tuesday after spending nearly 28 years behind bars for the murder, according to the Dept. of Corrections and Community Supervision.
The child-killer was granted parole in October, on his 11th attempt. However, Smith’s release was delayed because he had not provided an approved address of where he intended to live, which is required for parolees.
Smith, however, will be living in Queens under supervision, according to multi reports citing the state department of corrections.
It is unclear where in Queens Smith will live. The Queens Post reached out to the department of corrections for comment but has yet to receive a response.
The horrid incident took place on Aug. 2, 1993 when Smith rode his bicycle to a local pavilion hosting a summer camp and discovered it was closed.
Smith, who said he was irritated that it was shut, started riding away from the pavilion when he spotted Robie walking alone toward the same camp. He then enticed the 4-year-old into a secluded wooded area in the village of Savona, where they both lived.
Smith then proceeded to strangle Robie before smashing a large rock on the boy’s head. He then sodomized him with a stick.
He was tried as an adult and convicted by a jury for the horrific killing.
The jury rejected the argument presented by Smith’s defense that he had a mental disorder. His lawyers argued that he should have been committed to a psychiatric facility as opposed to prison.
Smith told various parole boards that he carried out the murder because he was angry that his family members and classmates bullied him — so he took out his frustration on Robie.
“He didn’t deserve anything that I did to him; no one deserved that kind of violence,” Smith said at his 2014 parole hearing, according to a published report.
“What I did to him was brutal… uncalled for and wrong.”
Smith, according to the transcript, said he decided to kill Robie—after initially hurting him—because he thought he would get into trouble if the boy got up and told on him.
He claimed that he thought by inserting a stick into Robie it would reach and “stop his heart.”
Asked in his October hearing why he was bullied, he responded: “My ears, my glasses, being short, my red hair, pretty much all of those, if not one, an accumulative of all of them.”
Smith told the board in October that he is deeply remorseful for Robie’s death and hoped the boy’s parents could forgive him one day, according to the transcripts.
Robie’s parents have opposed Smith’s parole each time he has been up for release.
Smith said he has come a long way since the murder and is not a danger to society. He told the board he is engaged to be married and is working toward a degree in crusade evangelism.
“I assure you that if you were to give me the chance I would not only prove that I’m not a threat, I would definitely be an asset to society.”