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Who is Eric Smith? Why Was He Arrested and Convicted in 1993?

The 1993 second-degree murder of the 4-year-old Derrick Bobie committed by the then teenage neighbor Eric Smith is still creating shock waves in the entire world. People across the country were jolted by the idea that a young and innocent-looking boy would commit such a horrible crime. Smith, who is 42 now, was arrested and convicted shortly after the disturbing case was investigated thoroughly. But if you ask why we are once again talking about the same inhuman act and digging the pit deeper, we can tell you that Smith’s devastating story is now all set to be depicted in the forthcoming episode 22 of 48 Hours on ID Season 18. Aren’t you all pumped?

Who is Eric Smith?

The terrible saga is being thrust into the national spotlight again with the premiere of the CBS news magazine, dealing with Derrick’s murder, the impact it had on his family, Smith’s arrest, his conviction, and finally his parole after nearly three-decade behind bars. 

The official synopsis of Eric Smith: Gambling on a Killer reads: “Eric Smith spent (long) 28 years in prison for the 1993 murder of a 4-year-old Derrik Robie, and he was freed from in February 2022; Jim Axelrod reports whether he has changed now or not.”

Before watching the true-crime series, you better learn more about the killer, who ruthlessly took the life of the little boy and dragged a whole family into a situation of melancholia. 

Eric Smith and How Did He Kill Derrick Robie?

Eric Smith was a 13-year-old kid living in the town of Steuben County, New York, who made national headlines, killing a 4-year-old boy from the same town after luring him into the woods, strangling and beating him with rocks. The brutality did not end there, Smith also sodomized him with a stick after which he went to the authorities, confessed, and was eventually arrested. 

Due to Savona’s proximity to the high, authorities previously suspected that Derrick was killed by some faceless drifter passing through town. A week later, Derrick’s body was discovered and it triggered an immense investigation leading the culprit to reveal the truth. 

It was on Aug. 8, 1993, that Smith confessed to the bothersome murder as his whole family was begging him to tell the truth, and reveal what exactly happened on that cursed day, to which Smith replied, “I’m sorry Mom. I killed that little boy.”

Who is Eric Smith Why Was He Arrested and Convicted in 1993

In a 2009 interview by WENTY-TV, he disclosed that his anger at the time was not at all directed towards Derrick, who became his prey unknowingly. Smith further elucidated and said that his vengeance was towards the boys who used to tease him at school, implying that he was fed up with the bullying he was subjected to. 

Smith recalled that on the day Derrick was killed, he was already in a bad mood when he rode his bicycle to the nearby recreation program in the Savona Village, only to find it was yet to be opened. Apparently, Derrick was also interested in recreation events and the two met there. Irritated than normal, Smith walked away and saw the little boy and instantly decided to take his anger on him.

Later in the discussion, he confessed his remorse and said, “If I could only switch places with the little boy, then I would take the grave and let him live,” he continued, “I’d do it in a second.”

How was Eric Smith Convicted?

Derrick Robie

The pesky case gained nationwide popularity as it involved the names of a kid and a teenager, which stunned many of the readers as well as the locals of Steuben County. Although Eric Smith’s attorney professed his client was suffering from a “mental disease” that could have been the reason why turned out rigorous and killed the young boy, the prosecutor completely denied it and said, Smith was not diagnosed with a rage disorder, in stead, he claimed whatever Smith did was with full consciousness which is why he should be held complete;y responsible for his merciless actions. 

Subsequently, Smith was convicted and sentenced to nine years to life, and was kept imprisoned until Feb. 1, 2022. He was released from the Woodbourne Correctional Facility In Sullivan County, New York. Smith initially became eligible for parole in 2002. Before the Board of Parole finally granted him release, he was denied parole at least 10 times. Even now, his parole was agreed upon under several conditions, he must maintain regular contact with his parole officer, he should not leave New York without permission, he cannot associate with individuals who are engaged in illegal activities, and neither should he possess any deadly weapons.  Until 2001, he stayed in a juvenile home, from where he was transferred to a state prison. 

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Why did the Parole Board let Smith Release?

According to the transcript of the October hearing, Smith admitted his guilt and expressed his deep regret for handing over a dark fate to Derrick and his family, saying he became the bully that he disliked the most in his entire life. The board also noted that he had only been cited for three disciplinary issues during his confinement, a time period that Smith explained taught him patience and the value of human life.

Where is Eric Smith Now?

Who is Eric Smith Why Was He Arrested and Convicted in 1993

Per Community Supervision and Department of Corrections, Smith will be relocated to Queens County. He recently revealed that he was planning to get married to a woman who initially contacted him while she was studying law and was doing research on the juvenile justice system. 

He further said that with the electrical installation and carpentry fabrication certification, he will find a job that will earn him bread.

What Was the Reaction of Derrick’s Family After Smith’s Release?

Every time Smith came closer to parole, Dale and Doreen Robie [Derrick’s parents] fully opposed it. They also requested the state legislature, which usually makes violent felony offenders wait for 2 years for the next parole hearing, to extend it and make it 5. The family initially tried to escape from the public eye after their son’s killer was released from prison. 

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