You are reading

Teen Who Brutally Murdered 4-Year-Old Boy in 1990s Is Released From Prison, Will Live in Queens

Eric Smith, pictured, who killed 4-year-old Derrick Robie in 1993, has been released from prison (Photo: Dept. of Corrections and Community Supervision)

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.”

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Queens Botanical Garden hosts Lunar New Year celebration with globally beloved Miffy

About 4,200 people joined the world-renowned beloved rabbit Miffy to ring in the Year of the Rabbit at Queens Botanical Garden’s Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday, Jan. 28. 

Queens Botanical Garden’s Lunar New Year celebration included a visit from Councilman Shekar Krishnan, who gave remarks, followed by a program of activities for all ages. Attendees enjoyed a lion dance performance, zodiac crafts, demonstrations, lucky plant sales and more. Miffy was in attendance for photos, story time and to greet children throughout the event.

Mets owner Steve Cohen hosts second community visioning session regarding development of area around Citi Field

Hundreds of community residents and leaders gathered at the Piazza Club inside Citi Field to participate in a visioning session regarding the development of a nearby 50-acre lot. This marked the second visioning session New York Mets owner Steve Cohen has hosted at Citi Field in January as he attempts to collect as much community feedback regarding the development as possible.

Attendees of the visioning session went to a series of interactive stations, sharing what mattered most to them when it came to improving the area around Citi Field, including preferred forms of year-round entertainment, ability to access different forms of transportation and attainable local jobs and training. Information and input was collected from the community in how they would like to see the lot utilized. A common theme among many of those who took part in the visioning session was the desire to see something built there that would bring a lot of economic opportunity to the community and provide year-round entertainment.

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens doctor aims to bring awareness to women’s heart health

With February marking the beginning of American Heart Month, a cardiologist from NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital spoke with QNS about the importance of heart health for women.

According to attending cardiologist Dr. Joanna Troulakis, approximately 400,000 women die as a result of cardiovascular diseases each year in the United States. She noted that women have suffered more cardiovascular disease deaths than men in recent years. When it comes to heart attacks, the mortality rate for women is higher than men.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

‘Where do we go now?’ Michaels set to close its doors in Fresh Meadows next month

The Michaels located at 187-04 Horace Harding Expwy. in Fresh Meadows will be permanently closing its doors on Feb. 23. The announcement that Michaels will be leaving the Fresh Meadows Shopping Center has led to an outpouring of reactions from many community members.

“We know this is disappointing to our customers in Queens, but we hope to continue to serve them at our other locations in New York City or online at Michaels.com,” a spokesperson for Michaels said in a statement to Patch.com.