On Tuesday, New York prosecutors showed jurors video of a child welfare worker’s interview with a 6-year-old boy five months before his mother’s boyfriend allegedly beat him to death.
The New York Daily News reported that the short video was taken at the Manhattan Advocacy Center in April 2016 after Zymere Perkins’ teacher contacted Children’s Services (ACS) because she noticed the boy limping in school. The video shows Perkins fiddling with Play-Doh as an ACS worker asks him questions.
“Do you wanna play with the Play-Doh while I go get the paper?” the counselor is heard asking.
“I wanna play with Play-Doh,” Perkins responded.
Ryshiem Smith, 45, is currently on trial for Perkins’ second-degree murder. He is accused of fatally beating the boy for defecating in the living room.
The boy’s mother, Geraldine Perkins, 29, reportedly watched as Smith battered her son with the sharp end of a broomstick and dump his lifeless body into a cold shower before continuing to beat him with a shower rod.
Prosecutors said they believe the boy 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.
Zymere Perkins’ mother reportedly left to get food and waited hours before taking her dead son’s body to the hospital. Last week, she revealed she spent 10 minutes putting on her makeup and a wig before getting her medical attention for her son.
The slain boy’s mother has testified against her boyfriend in exchange for a two-to-six year prison sentence for third-degree manslaughter.
The New York Post reported that jurors were shown an abridged video of Perkins’ interaction with the social worker after the defense claimed the footage was prejudicial.
The social worker who accessed Zymere Perkins five months before his September 2016 death wrote that he had “faint redness” on his legs and determined he was not in “immediate danger.”
Zymere Perkins slept on a makeshift bed in the living room of his roach- and maggot-infested home. Prosecutors said his mother and her boyfriend withheld food as punishment — causing him to become so desperate he would eat out of the garbage.
A medical examiner previously testified that the 4-foot tall victim weighed 35 pounds and looked younger than his age. She also explained that an autopsy revealed he had a layer of fat that was no more than a millimeter thick, indicating he was severely malnourished.
Zymere Perkins reportedly had 30 rib fractures at the time of his death. Postmortem photos of his 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.
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.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to a related episode
[Featured image: Manhattan District Attorney’s Office]