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Young Killer Denied Parole in N.Y.

June 12, 2002

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SAVONA, N.Y. (AP) _ A man who was barely a teen-ager when he bludgeoned a 4-year-old boy to death was denied parole Wednesday after serving the minimum nine years of a potential life sentence.

``I just feel like a big weight’s been lifted off my shoulders,″ said the victim’s mother, Doreen Robie.

It was Eric Smith’s first appeal before the parole board at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, where he was sent when he turned 21 in January 2001.

He had served in a youth lockup since being convicted in 1994 of second-degree murder and sentenced to nine years to life in prison, the maximum for a child tried as an adult.

In 1993, at age 13, Smith lured preschooler Derrick Robie off the sidewalk into the woods, chocked the boy and crushed his head with a rock.

In its decision, the parole board said Smith had adjusted well in prison, but ``to release you at this time would depreciate the seriousness of your vicious criminal act and undermine respect for the law.″ It also said he showed little remorse.

Smith’s next parole hearing will be in June 2004.

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