A western Southern Tier man, who was 13 years old when he killed a 4-year-old boy with a rock, is to be released.

Graphic: Kathy Whyte Marisa Tudbaugh/Town Square media

After several failed attempts, 40-year-old Eric Smith of Savona has been granted parole. State corrections officials said Saturday, October 16 that Smith appeared for the 11th time before the parole board earlier this month and was granted release as early as November 17.

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Smith was convicted of second-degree murder in 1994 for luring Derrick Robie into woods near the younger boy’s Steuben County home as the child was walking to a  summer recreation program near his home.  Robie strangled the younger boy and hit him in the head with a rock. Court documents indicated Smith mutilated and defiled the child’s body.

He confessed to killing Robie a few days later.

Smith had been described as a loner who had been bullied by other children, At his trial, Smith’s lawyer unsuccessfully argued that the 13-year-old was mentally ill.

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