A mother testified in court on Monday that she abused and beat her son years before she met the man now accused of beating the 6-year-old to death in 2016, the New York Post reported.
Geraldine Perkins, 29, accepted a plea deal for two to six years in prison for manslaughter in exchange for her testimony against ex-boyfriend Ryshiem Smith, 45, who has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of little Zymere Perkins.
Smith allegedly tortured and killed Perkins on September 26, 2016, in the roach- and maggot-infested Harlem home because he defecated on himself. The boy’s mother reportedly watched the fatal beating occur.
Last week, jurors saw video of the filthy apartment where the couple lived with the boy — where Smith had been squatting. In addition to the broom handle Smith allegedly used to bludgeon Zymere Perkins, jurors saw a hook on the bathroom door. Authorities said the suspect hung the lifeless boy and his wet clothes on the hook after dumping him in a cold shower, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
Smith is believed to have taken the 6-year-old’s dead body off the hook and hurled him into a bedroom wall. His mother reportedly left to go get food and waited hours to take her son’s dead body to a hospital.
Prosecutors said Geraldine Perkins met Smith on the street 16 months before the murder. Perkins testified that she gave birth to Zymere not long after graduating high school and that her grandmother kicked her out of the house seven months later. She lied about a drug addiction, she said, to get into a shelter for addicts, and there, she abused the boy, then 3-years-old.
“I would yell at him or I would beat him with a belt,” she said of Zymere, according to the Post.
A counselor at the shelter saw the abuse and warned her that if it happened again, she’d report her to authorities.
That was the last time until I met Rysheim,” she said of the beating.
Perkins testified that Smith was initially “a father figure for my child,” who played with him, bought him toys, and read him the bible.
Perkins’ testimony is expected to continue on Tuesday. Previous testimony in the trial revealed the boy had at least 30 rib fractures in his young life and weighed just 35 pounds. Prosecutors have said Smith and Perkins withheld food as a punishment.
Earlier on Monday, school officials testified that they were deeply concerned about Zymere and tried to warn authorities, the Post reported.
Teacher Josefina Gutierrez said that Zymere missed 36 days of school from September to November 2015 and that he had injures when he returned.
“He was academically behind,” Gutierrez said. “He wasn’t able to write his name. He did not know the alphabet.”
Gutierrez also said that she would sometimes tell Geraldine Perkins about behavior problems, and when she did, he would subsequently miss a few days of class and return with visible injuries. Once, she told the boy she was going to tell Smith about his behavior.
“I said to Zymere, ‘I’m going to tell Rysheim that you are misbehaving,’” Gutierrez testified. “He said, ‘No!’ He was very afraid. ‘No, please Ms. Gutierrez, please don’t say anything.’”
Gutierrez said she told school authorities about each incident and that the school contacted the Administration for Child Services (ACS).
Three ACS workers were fired and the agency’s commissioner resigned in light of Zymere Perkins’ death.
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.
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[Featured image: Zymere Perkins/Facebook]