Eric Smith, who was 13 when he killed 4-year-old in 1993, granted parole

WOODBOURNE, N.Y. — Eric Smith, who made national news in 1993 as a 13-year-old when he killed a 4-year-old boy in upstate New York, has been granted parole.

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Smith, 41, had been denied parole 10 consecutive times. He appeared before the Board of Parole on Oct. 15 and was granted parole after spending 27 years in prison, the Democrat & Chronicle of Rochester reported.

Smith is scheduled to be released on Nov. 17, according to New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Smith was tried as an adult and convicted in 1994 of second-degree murder for killing his neighbor, Derrick Robie, WHAM reported. According to court documents, in August 1993, Smith lured the child into the woods in Steuben County. Smith then strangled Robie, crushed his head with a rock and then sodomized him, according to the Steuben Courier.

Smith was sentenced to nine years to life in prison and first became eligible for parole in 2002, according to the Democrat & Chronicle.

He was housed in a juvenile facility until 2001 when he was transferred to the state prison at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility, the newspaper reported.

“He didn’t deserve anything that I did to him; no one deserved that kind of violence,” Smith said during his 2014 parole hearing. “What I did to him was brutal.

“I took my anger and frustration and rage out on him,” Smith said, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. Smith told the board that his emotions were not directed at the child, but at his father, older sister and high school students who bullied him. “I took it out on (Robie) and he did not deserve that.”

The parole board denied that request in 2014, WHAM reported. In a report, the board said that Smith’s “positive programming and clean disciplinary record does not diminish the serious loss of life caused by your actions. .... Your release would be incompatible with the welfare and safety of society.”

John Tunney, the former Steuben County District Attorney who prosecuted Smith, said he was not surprised by the parole board’s decision.

“I’m simply not surprised that it took a while, but I’m also not surprised that it finally happened,” Steuben told WTEM.

Robie’s parents, Dale Robie and Doreen Robie, have opposed Smith’s parole at each hearing, the Democrat & Chronicle reported. They declined to comment about Smith’s release, according to WHAM.

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