ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Eric M. Smith, who was 13 when he killed a 4-year-old boy with a rock in western New York, has been granted parole, according to corrections officials.
Smith, now 41, appeared for the 11th time before the Board of Parole on October 5 and was granted release as early as Nov. 17, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said in an emailed statement Saturday.
Transcripts of the hearing were not immediately released.
Smith was convicted of second-degree murder in 1994 for luring Derrick Robie into woods near the younger boy’s home and striking his head with a rock. Robie was walking alone to summer camp at a park in the Steuben County village of Savona in August 1993.
At his trial, Smith’s lawyer unsuccessfully argued that Smith was mentally ill. Smith was sentenced to nine years to life in prison.
He told a parole board in 2014 that he had held in his rage and frustration after years of bullying and took it out on a little boy who didn’t deserve it.
Derrick’s parents, Dale and Doreen Robie, opposed Smith’s release each time it was previously considered and have lobbied for parole reforms that include extending the time between hearings for violent offenders from the current two years to five.
Dale Robie told local media the family did not want to comment on the latest decision.
Smith is housed at the medium-security Woodbourne Correctional Facility in the Catskills.
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