This week, a New York court heard graphic details of how a man allegedly abused his girlfriend’s 6-year-old son until his death in September 2016.
Ryshiem Smith, 45, is currently on trial for the second-degree murder of Zymere Perkins. On Monday, Assistant District Attorney Kerry O’Connell described how Smith fatally beat the malnourished child because he had defecated in the living room.
“He picked up Zymere, held him by the arm and began to beat him with a stick like he was a little piñata,” O’Connell told the jury, according to the New York Post.
“Tellingly, he did not call out to his mother…because he knew his mother was not going to protect him.”
The boy’s mother, Geraldine Perkins, pleaded guilty to third-degree manslaughter in 2017. She is expected to testify against Smith in exchange for a two-to-six year prison sentence.
O’Connell said Geraldine Perkins not only watched the initial beating, but observed Smith batter the 6-year-old and put him in a cold shower. After the boy lost consciousness in the bathtub, Smith allegedly beat him with a shower rod, cutting his head.
The New York Post reported that Zymere Perkins was believed to have died shortly after Smith hung him by his wet clothes on a hook on the bathroom door. Smith allegedly then pulled the boy off the hook and hurled him into a bedroom wall.
The boy’s mother is believed to have left to get food and waited hours before checking on her dead son and bringing him to the hospital. An ER nurse testified on Monday that she entered the hospital screaming and holding her son’s cold, emaciated body, according to the New York Daily News.
Three Administration for Child Services (ACS) workers were fired and the agency’s commissioner resigned in light of Zymere Perkins’ death. The Daily News reported that an investigation revealed that ACS closed an investigation before adequately verifying allegations of severe discipline involving him. The agency was also accused of essentially overlooking as many as five welfare reports pertaining to the slain child.
Prosecutors said Geraldine Perkins met Smith on the street 16 months before the murder. They accused Smith of abusing her son early on in the relationship and forcing her to also abuse her son under the guise of discipline.
Medical examiner Dr. Susan Ely testified on Tuesday that Zymere Perkins had a minimum of 30 rib fractures. She also claimed his injuries were consistent with “significant blows to the chest” and “forceful squeezing,” according to the Daily News.
O’Connell said Zymere Perkins slept on a makeshift bed in the living room of his roach- and maggot-infested home. She said his mother and her boyfriend withheld food as punishment — causing him to become so desperate he would eat out of the garbage.
Ely said the 4-foot tall victim weighed 35 pounds and looked younger than his age. She also testified that an autopsy revealed he only had no more than a millimeter of a fat layer due to severe malnourishment. Further, prosecutors said his thymus gland, which regulates the immune system, was completely gone.
Postmortem photos of 6-year-old’s thin body reportedly showed torso scarring and grab marks on his wrists. An examination determined he suffered widespread hemorrhaging underneath his skin due to the repeated beatings, the news outlet reported.
Smith is also facing manslaughter charges. He faces life in prison if convicted.
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[Featured image: Zymere Perkins/Facebook]