Special Report: Derrick Robie’s Family Speaks Out - Part 2
SAVONA (WENY) -- The family of Derrick Robie of Savona want his murderer, Eric Smith, to remain behind bars for a long time to come.
"The number of years that keep going by you're thinking well, somebody may think that he's been in there long enough and they're gonna give him a chance," says Derrick's mother, Dori Robie.
That's the fear Dori, her husband Dale and son Dalton Robie have every two years, when Eric Smith comes up for parole. Smith is serving nine years to life for the brutal murder of Derrick on August 2nd, 1993. This week, he's eligible for parole for the fifth time.
"Our sentence is life. I think his needs to be longer, until he can not hurt anybody, not be a threat to society, whether that's 85 years old," says Derrick's father, Dale Robie.
The Robie's have been dealing with this for several years now, but say this year was different. It's hard celebrating holidays, birthdays and milestones when each passing one means it's closer to the time Derrick's killer comes up for parole again.
"A little tired, a little run down, and I think this year myself, we got a little angry. We've done it for so many years, let's help somebody else," Dale said.
Dale and Dori say they came up with the idea to push for legislation that would extend the amount of time between parole hearings for people convicted of heinous crimes.
"So I would like to see something done to give an opportunity to do more than every two years, for extreme cases such as ours," Dori explains.
"People spend more time in jail for... not so sensitive crimes," says Derrick's younger brother Dalton, who wasn't even two years old when Derrick was murdered.
The memories he has of their short time together are captured in these home videos the Robies share with the parole board, showing the young, vibrant life Smith took from them.
"People are trying to play it off like it's nothing, but if somebody was a rapist, child molester or something like that, they're scarred with that their entire life, and somebody, they move in next door they have to be registered, the whole community has to know about it. People are worried about that, but then they try to play this off like it's nothing, he was a kid, it doesn't matter. Well, I think it does matter," Dalton said.
Dale and Dori say they know, if a law is passed, it most likely wouldn't affect their situation - Smith would still be eligible for parole every other year. But perhaps it could ease the minds of other families who have loved ones taken from them too soon.
For now, they wait for the news if Eric Smith will remain behind bars for another two years... or if he'll become a free man.
"I just feel it's my job to do everything that I can to make sure that he doesn't," said Dori.