Geraldine Perkins, 29, wept in court as she testified on Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court, admitting she beat the six-year-old with a belt to avoid using her hands because she ‘has Lupus and didn’t want to hurt herself’
She was called to witness stand at trial of her ex-boyfriend Rysheim Smith, 45 who is charged with second-degree murder in death of her son Zymere Perkins
In September 2016, Zymere was beaten to death with a broomstick in a fit of rage by Smith at his squalid Harlem apartment
Perkins described to jurors how she struggled to raise Zymere as a single mom, sometimes needing to sell her body just to buy food when they lived in shelters
Perkins already pled guilty to second-degree manslaughter
Perkins is testifying against her former lover as part of her plea deal
Perkins said she has struggled all her life with the autoimmune disease Lupus, which has, on occasion, landed her in the hospital.
Last week, Assistant District Attorney Kerry O’Connell told the court, Smith ‘picked up Zymere, held him by the arm and began to beat him with a stick like a piñata.’
‘Tellingly, he did not call out to his mother… because he knew his mother was not going to protect him,’ O’Connell said.
Authorities say Zymere was beaten to death with a broomstick and a shower rod before being hung on the back of a bathroom door and left to die in Smith’s squalid apartment in Harlem in September 2016.
According to her plea deal, Geraldine Perkins testifies as a prosecution witness against her son’s alleged killer. Smith shown Monday [photo] on the witness stand, is expected to serve three years behind bars for her complicity in the abuse
Rysheim Smith arrives in court on Monday for his murder trial in the death of his girlfriend’s son whom he’s accused of killing
‘I mean, I’m a single parent. I’m a new parent. I didn’t know how to raise him.
‘I didn’t know what I was doing.’
As part of a deal with prosecutors, Perkins pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in connection with Zymere’s death.
Perkins agreed to testify against Smith. In exchange for her cooperation, Perkins is expected to receive a prison sentence ranging from two to six years.
Having been arrested three years ago, she will already receive credit for time served.
Full disclosure: Geraldine Perkins testified in court on Monday that she abused her son when he was just three years old
Perkins testified in court on Monday that she abused her son when he was just three years old. At the time, they were living in a shelter for drug addicts.
‘I would yell at him or I would beat him with a belt,’ she said of Zymere. ‘He’d cry.’
Perkins testified that a counselor at the shelter witnessed her abuse her son. She was warned that further abuse would force the counselor to report her.
‘That was the last time until I met Rysheim,’ she said of the beating.
According to the New York Post, Perkins’ testimony on Monday in court was the first time she came face to face with Smith since they were arrested three years ago.
She told jurors that her grandmother kicked her out of her house.
‘My grandmother accused me of beating my son,’ she said.
She said she resorted to prostitution to make some cash in order to buy food.
Then she says she lied about being addicted to crack in order to gain entry into a shelter.
At the shelter, Perkins says she didn’t learn much from the mandatory parenting classes.
‘Maybe I didn’t pick up on the lessons they were giving me,’ she testified.
‘I didn’t cherish it. I didn’t hold onto those lessons they taught me.
‘Sometimes I wouldn’t be bothered with him, because I (didn’t) have the energy or because (I was) too tired.’
Perkins testified that she met Smith in May 2015. She recalled first running into him outside her old apartment building as she was walking up the stairs from the subway.
Perkins said Smith wooed her with flowers and gifts. They started dating less than six months after they first met.
‘It was wonderful,’ Perkins testified.
‘He was a father figure for my child. He played with him. He cut his hair most of the time.
‘He bought toys for him. He read the Bible to him.’
Eventually, Perkins and her son moved into Smith’s apartment in Harlem, which was infested with roaches.
It was later learned that Smith was squatting in the apartment illegally.
According to prosecutors, Smith began abusing Zymere. He would beat him and force him to take cold showers, it has been alleged.Smith is also alleged to have forced Zymere to relieve himself in a bucket in the living room.
On the day that Zymere died, his mother, who is alleged to have watched on ‘passively’ as the abuse took place, is said to have waited several hours before checking on her son after the beating.
When she finally did so, he was already dead.
Perkins carried his body from their 135th Street Harlem home to the hospital long after he could be saved.
Graphic photos of Zymere’s badly beaten body were shown to jurors which detailed his injuries including cuts and bruises to his neck, head and ribs.
Last week, ER nurse Michael Nelson recalled how Perkins ran inside the hospital ‘screaming’ as she carried Zymere in her arms.
‘He was extremely cold. I felt the coldness of him through his clothes,’ he said. ‘This child was dead for a while. There was no bringing this child back.’
O’Connell went onto portray how unpleasant life had become for Zymere in his home where flies had laid eggs in feces that was embedded into the carpet and crawling with maggots.
Zymere was allegedly ‘deprived of food as punishment’ and given just bread for dinner while his mother and her boyfriend feasted according to the prosecutor.
‘When he was caught eating from the garbage because he was so hungry, the defendant beat him mercilessly,’ O’Connell said. ‘He had broken ribs on broken ribs. This child had more fractures than he had ribs.’
After Zymere’s death, three Administration for Child Services employees were fired from the troubled agency. Its commissioner, Gladys Carrion also resigned.
It was revealed that up to five welfare reports were filed on Zymere’s behalf but were ignored. An investigation into allegations of severe corporal punishment was also closed.
Zymere’s death exposed flagrant misconduct at the Administration for Child Services and led to the agency’s commissioner, Gladys Carrion, to resign.
State and city probes revealed ACS had closed five investigations without fully looking into allegations of child abuse suffered by the boy.
The failings of the agency will also be revealed in court during the trial. ACS received a tip-off in 2015 that alleged Smith smacked Zymere 20 times at a picnic.
The little boy also told ACS workers how his mother’s boyfriend hit him and punished him by forcing him to take cold showers.
Smith’s defense attorney, Heather Smith, has said the death of Zymere is solely down to Perkins who she described as a ‘profoundly unreliable person who will say anything to avoid jail time.’
‘There is no reliable evidence that Rysheim’s actions caused Zymere’s death,’ she said. ‘Perkins is a known liar with every incentive to lie to save her own life.’
Smith faces up to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges.