COLLINS, N.Y. (WIVB) – A convicted child killer is currently in the Collins Correctional facility, where he is serving a term of nine years to life. Last week, Eric Smith appeared before the parole board for the sixth time.
Smith was 13-years-old when he killed 4-year-old Derrick Robie in the Steuben County Town of Savona by strangling the child and hitting him with a rock. Robie was also sodomized with a stick.
Now News 4 has obtained the transcript from the parole board hearing. Members asked what spurred Smith to commit this heinous crime.
“First, please allow me to say that he didn’t deserve anything that I did to him and no one deserved that kind of violence or any kind of violence of that nature. And what I did to him was brutal, I can’t deny that and I’m not going to run from the responsibility. I did do it and I have remorse for what I’ve done to him and his family and his extended family that I’ve never even known,” Smith started.
He continued, “I can’t say a specific thing that is going to in any way… I don’t even want to say justify because you can’t justify something like that and I’m not going to even try. What I can tell you is that at the time, I had no value system towards life. I didn’t value life. I didn’t value my own life and the way I looked at the world everyone was against me and I didn’t trust anyone. I took my anger and frustration and rage out on him and inside internally, my thoughts and feelings, the anger and rage were for someone else and I took it out on him and he did not deserve that. That is the thing that drove me, the emotions behind it.”
Smith told the parole board he was angry with high schoolers at his school, his father and his older sister, though he could not cite a specific incident. He said he only intended to hurt the boy, but when he saw the extent of what he had done, he feared getting in trouble.
“The only thing I could think of was to stop his heart and I couldn’t think of anything else to stop his heart than using the stick. I figured it would reach his heart. It doesn’t make sense, I know that. And it doesn’t even sound like feasible in any way, but at the time I was thinking, you know, can this… you know, does this even sound reasonable. That’s what I thought and at the time I went with it,” Smith said.
Smith told members that in the event parole was granted, he already has a place to stay and a job lined up. While incarcerated, he has obtained his GED and a certificate for residential carpentry and electrical. He has also undergone several therapeutic programs and has been without a disciplinary ticket since 2005.
Before the board dismissed Smith, he issued a long statement, saying, among other things, that the “child that I was that committed that crime, he’s gone. He’s never coming back.” He also told board members that he isn’t a threat “because I value life.”
And though he worried that board members consider him to be “institutionalized” due to his 20 years of incarceration, Smith said, “My institutionalization is not going to cause me to commit crime or rebel against the system. It’s helped me to look at laws and regulations that society has and say I can live up to these rules that sometimes I see as bull****. And at the same time, I can go out in society and live by their rules.”
On Monday, News 4 learned Smith’s parole was denied. The board stated, “Your release would be incompatible with the welfare and safety of society and would so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for the law. Parole is denied.”
Smith was last up for parole in 2012 and will again appear before the board in 2016.