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The Kelly Ann Tinyes murder, 30 years later

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The Tinyes family, clockwise from left, Victoria, Richard, Kelly Ann and Richie Jr.
The Tinyes family, clockwise from left, Victoria, Richard, Kelly Ann and Richie Jr.
Courtesy the Tinyes family

On March 3, 1989, 13-year-old Horton Road resident and Woodmere Middle School student Kelly Tinyes was babysitting her younger brother, Richard, when they received a phone call from a man named “John.” Kelly told Richard that she was heading to a friend’s for a short while. She never returned.

Roughly 24 hours later, her mutilated body was found stuffed in a sleeping bag in a neighbor’s basement. Within a month, a suspect was arrested: 21-year-old bodybuilder Robert Golub, who lived in the house, after a bloody handprint was discovered on the basement doorway.

Much of the testimony in the case focused on the grisly nature of Tinyes’s killing, with prosecutors and medical experts giving graphic testimony about a brutal beating, mutilated sex organs, the use of an 18-inch bayonet and a possible sexual motive. Tinyes was reportedly beaten and slashed for roughly 20 minutes before dying by strangulation, according to news accounts from the trial, but she fought back, and it was Golub’s blood found on her body that would lead to at least some semblance of justice for her family.

After a nearly year-long trial, Golub was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He would later admit to the killing, saying it was accidental. Dubbed the “Hell on Horton Road” murder, the case captured national attention for its brutality, and was significant in that it was one of the first cases in the United States to rely on DNA evidence to secure a conviction.

Now, the murder has re-entered the local consciousness, with a petition circulating from the Tinyes family asking for Golub to be denied parole. His hearing is set for November, according to the New York State Parole Board. The petition has so far garnered more than 3,700 signatures.

“As time draws on, the odds for a successful parole hearing increase in Golub’s favor,” reads the petition, signed by Tinyes’s father, Richard. “Robert Golub is not just a murderer, but rather a child murderer and sexual psychopath.”

It is not the first time Golub has been up for parole. In 2013 a similar petition was circulated, and the Nassau County district attorney at the time, Kathleen Rice, submitted a letter the board requesting Golub’s parole be denied. He was up again in 2015, and was denied. In 2017, the District Attorney Madeline Singas, issued a similar letter, and according to representatives for her office, she is preparing to do so again.

“It was clearly a horrific and unique crime,” said Randi Kreiss, a Woodmere resident who was the editor of the Nassau Herald at the time and covered the murder and the subsequent trial. “Nothing like this had ever happened in our community, and details of it were very disturbing”

Kreiss, who is now a Herald columnist, lived in the neighborhood, which made covering the story particularly personal for her.

She recalled the details of the trial, witnessing the agony of both the Golub and Tinyes families, not just in the courtroom, but also in the hallways outside and the courthouse women’s room.

Her coverage earned accolades for in-depth reporting.

“Nobody wants to win a prize for this coverage,” she said, but she had access that other outlets did not.

“We were on the inside track,” Kreiss recounted. “We knew [Tinyes’s] teachers, knew the prosecuting team, the detective; It was a very unique perspective. It was surely something I’ll never forget.”