A city medical examiner described for a Manhattan courtroom Tuesday the appalling injuries suffered by a 6-year-old Harlem boy who was allegedly beaten to death by his mother’s boyfriend three years ago.
Dr. Susan Ely said that little Zymere Perkins’ endured months of merciless abuse that left him undersized, covered in injuries and suffering from numerous broken ribs.
“He had in his case multiple bruises and scrapes on the outside of his body and a laceration,” Ely testified at the murder trial of Rysheim Smith in Manhattan Supreme Court. “They ranged from his head, his face, his trunk, his arms and legs.”
Ely said the first most striking observation she made was “he was a very thin boy,” weighing just 35 pounds and standing three-feet-six inches tall — the average size of a 4-year-old boy.
His internal injuries were equally extensive, including more than 30 rib fractures.
Jurors were shown heartbreaking photos of the boy’s abdomen covered in deep, purple bruises and numerous semi-circular impressions from a hard object.
The child died on Sept. 26, 2016, after Smith delivered an especially severe beating with a broomstick handle, prosecutors claim.
Smith met the child’s mother, Geraldine Perkins, a year and a half earlier.
Perkins and her son moved into a filthy, roach-infested Harlem apartment, where Smith was illegally squatting.
Prosecutors said that Smith regularly bludgeoned Zymere with a broomstick handle, a bat and fists to teach discipline and “make a man out of a little boy.”
Some of Smith’s torment did not leave obvious marks. Prosecutors say that Smith punished Zymere by forcing him to stand in a corner all night without sleep. Smith also routinely starved the child as he and Perkins ate his favorite foods in front of him.
The defendant once caught the child eating from the trash can and viciously beat him for the transgression, according to Assistant DA Kerry O’Connell.
Zymere’s tragic death exposed the stunning failures of the Administration for Children’s Services, which had launched five separation investigations into allegations of abuse involving the boy. The welfare agency failed to take action.
ACS boss Gladys Carrion eventually resigned and an independent monitor was appointed to oversee the embattled agency.
Defense lawyer Heather Smith argued in openings that Zymere “suffered more than anyone should ever have to suffer in their life” but that it was at the hands of his own mother, not Smith.
Perkins pleaded guilty to manslaughter and agreed to testify against Smith in exchange for a promised sentence of two to six years in prison.