What to Know
- Zymere Perkins, 6, was found covered in bruises, scratches and welts on his stomach when his mom brought him to the hospital Sept. 27
- The 42-year-old Smith and Zymere's mom, Geraldine Perkins, were initially charged with child endangerment last September
- A medical examiner ruled the boy's death a homicide
The boyfriend of the mother of 6-year-old Zymere Perkins, one of the highest-profile child abuse cases the city has seen in the last year, now faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the little boy's death.
Rysheim Smith, 42, who previously had been charged with child endangerment in the Manhattan case, was indicted on the upgraded offenses Tuesday. He's expected to be arraigned later in the day.
The indictment comes three months after the city medical examiner ruled Perkins' death a homicide. An investigation further determined that the child died from fatal child abuse syndrome, which means he showed evidence of acute and chronic abuse and neglect.
According to the criminal complaint, the apartment where Perkins lived was infested with cockroaches and other insects. There was no electricity in the home, which had rotting food in the fridge and large amounts of mold, rust and mildew in the bathroom.
Zymere died Sept. 26 after what prosecutors say was months of abuse by his mother and Smith. The day he died, Smith allegedly beat him with a broostick and hung him by his shirt over the back of the bathroom door. According to a criminal complaint, Geraldine Perkins reported seeing Smith punch her son in the ribs and stomach multiple times and lift him by his neck.
Last month, a damning state report revealed several instances where individuals who cared about little Perkins had called the Administration for Children's Services, starting when he was just a baby.
A tipster told the child abuse hotline Smith allegedly had hit Zymere at least 20 times at a June 2015 picnic while the boy's mother, Geraldine Perkins, neglected to interfere. Geraldine Perkins faces child endangerment charges.
Five ACS case workers were placed on desk duty after Zymere died, and four others were suspended for a month without pay. A probe by Comptroller Scott Stringer's office found that at least 10 children died within three months under the city agency's watch.