Robie Family Reacts to Eric Smith Parole Decision
SAVONA (WENY) -- The family of Derrick Robie gets the news they were hoping for... Derrick's killer will remain behind bars.
The New York State parole board denied release for Eric Smith. The parole board released the ruling today, after Smith appeared before the panel yesterday.
Smith is serving nine years to life for the brutal murder of four year Derrick Robie, nearly 19 years ago. He is up for parole every two years...each time, Derrick's parents, Dale and Dori and his younger brother Dalton make their case as to why Derrick's killer shouldn't be set free. This year, the Robie's hand-delivered more than 100 community letters and a video of Derrick's short life to the parole board. They're relieved Smith will remain in prison for another two years.
"I wasn't worried. There's always a concern. There's always that portion in your heart that you think, gee you know, stranger things have happened. So we just hope for the best," said Dori.
Dori says after learning the news, she immediately contacted Dale, Dalton and her mother to let them know. She says Dalton, her son who is now 20 years old, told his mom he loved her.
Dori and Dale say the letters the community wrote to the parole board were vital in the effort to keep Smith in prison. And now that he'll remain behind bars for two more years, they can start moving forward with legislation that would extend the length of time between parole hearings for certain dangerous offenders.
Dale Robie says they're starting the process of reaching out to lawmakers to get the ball rolling.
"Just waiting for responses, because I know the process could take three years. But you've got to start somewhere," he explained.
The Robie family thanks the community for their support. Smith is eliglble for parole again in 2014.
To read Part One of the Robie's story about Derrick and their fight to keep Smiith in prison, click here.
To read Part Two, click here.