QUEENS, N.Y. (WETM) – Eric Smith, nationally known for killing four-year-old Derrick Robie in Steuben County almost 30 years ago, has been released from prison to live downstate.
According to the NY Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Smith was released on February 1 from the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Sullivan County. According to DOCCS, Smith will live and be supervised in Queens County, N.Y. Per the standard conditions of NYS Parole, Smith will be required to notify the Community Supervision Office of his arrival within 24 of his release.
In his last parole hearing, Smith said he said he would likely stay with his mother until he can find his own place. His mother, Tammy Smith’s, address is unknown. He then plans to either get an apartment or put a down payment on a house of his own and hopefully move in with his fiancee.
According to former Steuben County District Attorney John Tunney, in Smith’s early parole hearings he expressed his wishes to return to Savona. However, according to a 2012 article in the Steuben Courier, Smith had changed his mind and said he would not want to return to Savona.
This comes two-and-a-half months after his original scheduled release date of November 17, 2021. He was granted parole in October after being in prison for nearly 28 years; however, his release was delayed for months because Smith hadn’t gotten an approved address, a requirement for parolees.
Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker, who assisted Tunney in Smith’s case 28 years ago, told 18 News “It was one of the most shocking and tragic collections of events I’ve ever been had the misfortune to be around. So the idea he’s being released is still difficult for most of us to stomach, but I guess that unfortunately that ship is sailed and that’s a decision made by state parole and not by anybody else so we can’t influence at this stage.”
Baker also thinks that even though Smith is out of prison, the community might be feeling relief that he isn’t back in Steuben County.
“Steuben County is a small tight-knit community across the board; Savona is particularly,” Baker said. “So the idea that he would come back to a place that he’s so traumatized, and this crime traumatized the entire community, galvanized the entire community… the idea of him being back here and being on the streets with all those people who were so affected by this crime particularly in the into Savona itself where the victim’s family still lives… there is really no degree of separation between many of the families.”
Smith made national headlines in 1993 when, at age 13, he lured 4-year-old Derrick Robie into the woods in Savona, beat him in the head with a rock, and sodomized him with a stick. He confessed to the murder a week later.
18 News has reached out to the DOCCS for more information. More details will be provided as they become available.