NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man has been convicted on all counts, including murder, in the death his girlfriend’s son – 6-year-old Zymere Perkins.
Rysheim Smith was convicted of second-degree murder, first- and second-degree manslaughter, and endangering the welfare of a child. He was also charged with endangering the welfare of a second child whom he allegedly left unattended on Aug. 31, 2015.
Zymere died in 2016, and the New York City Medical Examiner’s office ruled that his death was caused by fatal child abuse syndrome – meaning Zymere had evidence of acute and chronic abuse in the form of fresh injuries and old scars.
Court documents indicated that beginning in June 2015, Smith repeatedly assaulted Zymere. Over the next 15 months, prosecutors alleged that Smith frequently beat the boy with a broomstick and other objects, and punched him in the ribs and stomach.
The day Zymere died, prosecutors alleged Smith severely beat him with sticks and other objects, hung him on a clothes hook by the neck of his shirt, threw him against a wall, and left him for hours without medical attention.
“The death of Zymere Perkins was an unthinkable tragedy that sent shockwaves through the city and inspired a reckoning with how our social services system works to protect New York’s most vulnerable. As proven at trial, Zymere was an innocent and helpless six-year-old boy who suffered unconscionable, ongoing violence at the hands of Rysheim Smith. Now, a Manhattan jury has rightly held the defendant accountable for this horrific murder, and I’d like to thank the members of that jury for their careful attention during this heartbreaking case,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. said in a statement.
Zymere’s died despite five separate complaints of child abuse to the city’s Administration for Children’s Services. His death drew outrage and sparked a state investigation. An independent monitor was appointed to watch over the agency and three ACS employees were fired.