Derrick Robie’s Parents Continue Fight for New Parole Legislation

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The parents of Derrick Robie, the Savona boy murdered when he was just four years old in 1993 by Eric Smith, joined other families of murder victims in Albany to continue pushing to a new parole law which could extend the time between parole hearings.

Smith lured Derrick into the woods before using a rock to crush his skull. Smith was just 13 years old at the time, and he was sentenced to nine-years-to-life behind bars.

The Robies are among other families of murder victims working to increase the time between parole hearings for those convicted of murder-related crimes. If the bill passes, that time could be extended from two years to five years.

In a recent attempt to pass the bill, lawmakers in Albany reduced the range of murder-related crimes the changes would apply to.

“I don’t think it could narrowed any lower,” Dale Robie, Derrick’s father, said regarding the bill’s current parameters. “We can only speak for our children who are not here and we hope this is a bill that every person who has a chance to vote on it, doesn’t have to actually use this bill themselves.”

On top of the argument of 24 months being too short between hearings, lawmakers say there’s really only 18 months until victim’s families have to relive the past due to parole hearing notices.

“We need to be compassionate and think about these victims and their families by passing this legislation,” Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R, Corning) said. “It won’t bring their loved ones back, but it will give their families time in between these hearings so they can get back on with their lives and don’t have to relive things every 18-24 months.”

Eric Smith first became eligible for parole back in 2002, but has been denied eight times since.

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