Eric Smith update: Convicted Steuben County child killer’s release delayed

Corning Bureau

WOODBOURNE, N.Y. (WETM) – The release of convicted Steuben County child killer Eric Smith has been delayed.

According to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, Smith does not yet have an approved address upon his release.

When making housing decisions, DOCCS seeks to enhance public safety and facilitate the successful return of individuals to their home communities by considering risk levels, laws, vulnerable populations, and accessibility to an individual’s support system.

All re-entry planning, including future housing, starts about four months prior to an incarcerated individual’s release. Once housing is approved, DOCCS staff conduct home visits to ensure the parolee is in compliance with the conditions of their release.

Smith was originally scheduled to be released on Nov. 17 after serving 28 years for the 1993 murder of 4-year-old Derrick Robie in Savona.

Smith made national headlines when, at 13 years old, he lured Robie into the woods in Steuben County, strangled him, crushed his head with a rock, and sodomized him with a stick. A jury unanimously found Smith guilty of second-degree murder.

The transcript of Smith’s 11th parole hearing was released to WETM on Wednesday through a Freedom of Information Law request with the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

The entire transcript with redactions set by DOCCS can be read on our website.

When asked by the parole board where he would move to upon release, Smith said he planned to move in with his mother before finding his own apartment. He then acknowledged that he became engaged in December 2019 to a lawyer who was studying the juvenile justice system.

Upon his release, Smith said he hoped to start a job in electrical installation or carpentry fabrication.

Former Steuben County District Attorney John Tunney, who originally prosecuted Smith, told 18 News that in prior parole hearings Smith indicated wanted to return to his hometown of Savona.

“Something I’ve thought about for decades. Now all I could think of was Doreen Robie standing in line at the checkout at Kings grocery in Savona and seeing the person behind her in line being Eric Smith,” Tunney told 18 News in October.

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