Killer who beat boy, 4, to death when he was just 13 is granted parole

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A killer who was 13 years old when he beat a four-year-old to death with a rock in New York has been granted parole after numerous failed attempts.

Eric M. Smith wickedly lured his neighbour Derrick Robie into the woods near his home before sexually abusing his body with a stick in August 1993.

Smith, now 41, was convicted of second-degree murder the following year after targeting his victim who was on his way to summer camp in the Steuben County village of Savona.

The case was widely publicised due to the extreme age of both the attacker and the victim and gained attention after Smith famously showed up to court in a Bugs Bunny sweatshirt with his red mane of hair.

The child killer appeared for the eleventh time before the Board of Parole on October 5 and was granted parole as early as November 17, the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said.

During the trial, his lawyer had tried to argue that Smith was mentally unstable when he strangled, struck and sexually abused Derrick in his local park, reports Sky News.

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It was reported that Smith had first become eligible for parole in 2002, but Derrick's parents Dale and Doreen Robie stopped each of his attempts.

Smith had previously told the parole board that he became angry after years of being bullied at school and at home, according to New York newspaper the Elmira Star-Gazette.

"He didn't deserve anything that I did to him, no one deserved that kind of violence," the newspaper quoted him in 2014.

"What I did to him was brutal."

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