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Parents Of Boy, 4, Murdered With Rocks 27 Years Ago Relieved Over Killer's Parole

Parents Of Boy, 4, Murdered With Rocks 27 Years Ago Relieved Over Killer's Parole

After Eric Smith was released, Derrick Robie's parents said: 'He's been released, but in a way, so have we'

Derrick Robie's parents have spoken of their relief after his killer Eric Smith was released from prison.

Smith spent 28 years behind bars for the second-degree murder of four-year-old Derrick Robie in 1993, when Smith was just 13 years old. He strangled him and beat him to death with rocks.

He was tried as an adult, and was sentenced to nine years to life. He first served time at a juvenile detention centre, before being transferred to an adult prison at the age of 21. After numerous unsuccessful parole hearings, Smith was released in February this year.

In an interview with CBS News’ 48 Hours as part of the documentary Eric Smith: Gambling on a Killer, Doreen and Dale Robie reflected on their son's murder and spoke about Smith's release for the first time.

Doreen described the emotional toll of attending parole hearings. "It upsets me, the fact that we have to beg to keep this killer behind bars," she said.

"They could decide that well, now he's done his time and we're going to let him go... it scares the hell out of me."

Doreen and Dale Robbie.
CBS News

Now that he's been released, it'll give Derrick's parents the opportunity to move on. "He's been released, but in a way, so have we," she said.

"No more parole. We can get on with our lives. Now the true healing can begin."

When they heard Smith was being released, they 'found each other on the porch and gave each other a hug... we will never forget our boy, because he was a wonderful child'.

In a 2009 interview, Smith explained how his anger wasn't 'directed' at Derrick when he killed him. "It was directed at... all the other guys that used to pick on me. And when I was torturing and killing Derrick... that was what I saw in my head," he said.

Eric Smith was released on parole in February.
CBS News

At that time, he understood why his parents didn't want him to be released. "I did kill Derrick. And for that, you know, I am sorry. If I could switch places with him and take the grave for him to live, I'd do it in a second," he continued.

He also spoke about having a proper life of his own one day, saying: "I want to, you know, get married and raise a family. You know, hold down, you know, a job. Pursue the American dream."

Doreen said she understood 'why after so many years they've decided to give him a chance... and that's fine for him and his family'.

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Featured Image Credit: CBS Mornings

Topics: US News, Crime