Eric Smith has been released on parole in February 2022 after serving 28 years in prison. In 1994, Smith was sentenced to the maximum available for a 13-year-old offender, 9 years to life. After the minimum 9 years, Smith was available for parole every two years. The parents of his victim attended the parole hearings, pleading for him to remain imprisoned.
August 2, 1993
The victim, 4-year-old Derrick Robie, had been walking a mere block from his home in Savona, New York to attend a day summer camp. His mother had never allowed him to walk anywhere alone, but with his baby brother, Dalton, being fussy, his mother agreed to let him walk alone for a short distance.
“It’s the first time I ever let Derrick go anywhere alone,” his mother told 48 hours. “He gave me a kiss and I said, ‘I love you.’ He says, ‘I love you, Mom.’ And he went hopping off the sidewalk.”
Eric Smith, then 13-years-old, came across the little boy on his way to the same day camp. For unknown reasons at the time, Smith lured Derrick into a nearby wooded area. He immediately attacked, strangling the 4-year-old. Then he began beating Derrick over the head with heavy rocks. He crushed the little boy’s head with a 26-pound rock. Smith then sodomized Derrick with a stick. After his death, Smith rummaged through the lunch Derrick’s mother packed for him that day. He went on to crush the food and pour the kool-aid into Derrick’s wounds.
Attempts at Parole
Smith became available for parole every two years after the minimum of 9 years he was sentenced to. According to a 2014 parole transcript, Smith claims he was afraid Derrick would “tell on him” and so he tried to “stop his heart” by sodomizing him with the stick. In that same 2014 parole hearing, Smith said, “I took my anger and frustration and rage out on him,” and stated, “He did not deserve that.” He went on to explain that his anger was not emotionally directed at Derrick, but at everyone who had bullied and abused him (including his father, siblings, and fellow students).
Smith described his crime as “violent, “horrendous,” and “violent and wrong.”
He went on to say, “Who I was at age 13 does not exist. That child that committed that crime, he’s gone. He’s never coming back.”
Derrick Robie’s mother stated, “It upsets me, the fact that we have to beg to keep this killer behind bars. They could decide that well, now he’s done his time and we’re going to let him go. It scares the hell out of me.”
Now 42, Eric Smith has been paroled and released. In recent interviews, Smith claims he wants to counsel children who are bullied and help control their anger. Smith also claims to be a new man, saying, “You can label me a monster, a cold-blooded killer, a demon child, Satan incarnate. Doesn’t mean that’s who I am.”
Smith claims to be looking into ministry work and seeks to raise a family with his pen pal fiance. Upon news of his release, the residents of Savona held a peaceful protest to show Smith that he was not welcomed back. Derrick Robie’s mother stated, “I don’t let him take space in my head. I do not focus on where he is, what he’s doing cause I don’t care. As long as he’s not near friends and family.”
He is allegedly living in Queens, New York.
Derrick Robie would be 33 years old.