DA Vance: Rysheim Smith Indicted for the Murder of Six-Year-Old Zymere Perkins

February 14, 2017

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictment of RYSHEIM SMITH, 42, for the murder of six-year-old Zymere Perkins. SMITH is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment with Murder in the Second Degree, Manslaughter in the First and Second Degrees, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. He is also charged with endangering the welfare of a second child on August 31, 2015, by causing an incident that left the child unattended.[1]

“The death of any child is tragic, but I am particularly struck today by the loss of two six-year-old boys, 37 years apart,” said District Attorney Vance. “The horrific abuse Zymere Perkins endured during the final months of his short life cuts deep, and as New Yorkers, shocks our conscience. This indictment marks the beginning of our pursuit of justice in the name of young Zymere. I urge anyone who believes they know of a victim of child abuse to call our Child Abuse Hotline at 212-335-4308, or visit the Manhattan Family Justice Center at 80 Centre Street. Help is available for those in need, regardless of immigration status.”

According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, beginning in June 2015, SMITH repeatedly assaulted Zymere Perkins, his girlfriend’s son. Over the course of the next 15 months, SMITH is alleged to have frequently beaten the child with a broomstick and other objects, as well as punched him in the ribs and stomach on numerous occasions. On September 26, 2016, SMITH is accused of severely beating the child with sticks and other objects, hanging him on a clothes hook by the neck of his shirt, throwing him against a wall, and leaving him for hours without medical attention. 

The victim was later taken to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Responding NYPD detectives found that the apartment where the child was living did not have electricity, and discovered large amounts of mold, rust, and mildew, as well as infestations of cockroaches and other vermin. The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner later ruled that his death was caused by fatal child abuse syndrome due to both acute and chronic injuries.

In an unrelated incident on August 31, 2015, SMITH is alleged to have endangered the one-year-old son of a fellow shelter resident by causing an incident that left him unattended. 

Assistant District Attorney Kerry O’Connell, Senior Trial Counsel to the Trial Division, is handling the prosecution of the case with Assistant District Attorneys James Zaleta and Sam Cocks of the Child Abuse Unit, under the supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Assistant District Attorney Armand Durastanti, Counsel to the Trial Division, is assisting with the case, as are Senior Rackets Investigators John D’Alessio and William Hicks, and Investigative Analysts Nora Wallace and Ethan Zubkoff. 

District Attorney Vance thanked the NYPD, particularly Detective Wilder Sanchez and Lieutenant Crinela Ianas of the 30th Precinct, and Detective Richard Koprowski and Lieutenant Patrick Brown of the Manhattan North Homicide Squad. 

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court or statements made on the record in court.

Defendant Information:

RYSHEIM SMITH, D.O.B. 2/21/1974
New York, NY

•    Murder in the Second Degree, a class A felony, one count
•    Manslaughter in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
•    Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
•    Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a class A misdemeanor, two counts