On August 2, 1993, Eric Smith was riding his bike to a local park and saw 4-year-old Derrick Robie walking alone. Eric lured Derrick into a wooded area, where Eric strangled him, dropped a large rock on his head, and sodomized him with a tree branch. The cause of death was determined to be blunt trauma to the head with contributing asphyxia. He was was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to nine years to life in prison, the maximum at the time for his offense.
While in jail, he wrote a letter to the victims family, which he read on TV:
“I know my actions have caused a terrible loss in the Robie family, and for that, I am truly sorry. I’ve tried to think as much as possible about what Derrick will never experience: his 16th birthday, Christmas, anytime, owning his own house, graduating, going to college, getting married, his first child. If I could go back in time, I would switch places with Derrick and endure all the pain I’ve caused him. If it meant that he would go on living, I’d switch places, but I can’t.”
Eric Smith is currently incarcerated and has been denied parole 6 times since 2002.