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Eric Smith Denied Parole for Sixth Time

10:50 PM, May 16, 2012   |    comments
Photo: This undated photo shows Eric Smith at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y. / File photo Democrat & Chronicle
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Written by JON HAND , Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Eric Smith, convicted of killing 4-year-old Derrick Robie in Steuben County in August 1993, has been denied parole for the sixth time and will spend at least the next two years in prison.

According to the report from the Department of Corrections, a parole review board "concludes that discretionary release in not presently warranted due to concern for the public safety and welfare."

Smith, who is now 32 and living in the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, was 13 when he lured Robie into a wooded area near the boy's Savona home. Robie was walking alone to a summer camp at a nearby park. Smith strangled Robie, smashed his head with a rock and sodomized Robie with a stick.

His lawyer at the time tried to persuade a jury that Smith suffered from a mental disorder, but Smith was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to nine years to life in prison.

State Department of Corrections spokeswoman Linda Foglia said Smith was housed in a juvenile facility until 2001, when he was transferred to state prison.

He was first denied parole in August 2002 and will be eligible again in April, 2014.

Prior to this denial, Smith's lawyer said Smith has been "all but a model prisoner," and has spent more time in prison than most adults who commit murder.

"It's shocking and appalling that he is still in there," Susan BetzJitomir of Bath, said recently. "He's no more harm to society than anyone who didn't commit a crime as a child."

Smith has earned certificates in programs such as carpentry and tailoring and undergone extensive mental health treatment, she said, but acknowledged that the notoriety of his crime does not help his chances.

"People don't want to be blamed if something happens," she said of parole officers who will decide whether Smith is set free.  

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

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