SAVONA, N.Y. (WETM) – One year ago today, convicted Steuben County child killer Eric Smith appeared for a parole hearing for the 11th and final time, setting in motion a months-long process of his release from prison.

Eric Smith, who made national headlines in 1993 for brutally killing 4-year-old Derrick Robie—and became the focus of multiple TV true-crime broadcasts—appeared for his final parole interview on October 5, 2021.

Days later, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision reached its decision to grant Smith parole after almost 30 years. The news shook the Twin Tiers and people around New York State.

November 17, 2021 was the first date that Smith could leave the Woodburne Correctional Facility in Sullivan County. However, frequent requests for updates from DOCCS revealed that Smith and the department were still working on finding an address for him after he left, raising the question of where he would live after he was released.

On his November 17 open date, DOCCS released the transcript from his final hearing. In it, Smith discussed the anger he felt as a 13-year-old in 1993, the bullying he faced, and the abuse at the hand of his father as reasons for the sudden violence against Robie.

He also discussed his engagement while in prison and his hopes to get a job in electrical installation or carpentry. His long-term goal was to get involved in ministry; as of last year, he was working toward an Associate’s degree in crusade evangelism.

It wasn’t until February 1, 2022 that Smith was released from prison after 27 years. He moved downstate to live and be supervised in Queens, New York.

At the time of his release, Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker, who assisted the former DA 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.”