MANHATTAN — The man accused of beating 6-year-old Zymere Perkins to death in 2016 was convicted of murder in a Manhattan court room Wednesday.
Rysheim Smith, Perkins’ mother’s boyfriend, was said to have used a broom handle and shower curtain rod to beat Perkins back in September 2016, then hung the brutally injured child on the back of the bathroom door of the Harlem apartment where he lived.
He was found guilty on all counts.
“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,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said. 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.”
The Administration for Children’s Services had opened five investigations on the family, based on calls from Zymere’s teachers and neighbors.
The child had gone to school with a broken jaw, busted teeth, and fractured ribs.
Then-ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion stepped down in the wake of Perkins’ death and another child abuse death that followed soon after.
The boy suffered months of abuse by his mother and Smith, prosecutors said at the time of his death.
The defense tried to shift the blame onto Perkins’ mother, Geraldine.
Monday, jurors heard the painful story of a child’s torture — a child that prosecutors said was “beaten like a piñata.”