Kelly Ann Tinyes was a 13-year-old student at Woodmere Middle School, living in a seemingly perfect suburban block in Valley Stream, New York. Her friends described her as a sweet girl who never looked for trouble and who was always there for her friends. She loved ice-skating and skiing at Hunter Mountain. She was also extremely outgoing and accepted anybody as a friend.
On the 3rd of March, 1989, she was babysitting her younger brother, Richard, when the house phone began to ring. Richard picked up the phone and the man on the other end of the line identified himself as “John” and asked to speak to Kelly. Following this phone call, Kelly told her brother she needed to go to a friend’s house and that she would be back momentarily. However, Kelly never returned.
After a while, Richard walked to the friend’s house where Kelly told him that she was going. The friend, however, told Richard that Kelly had never been to her house that afternoon. A neighbour informed Richard that they had seen Kelly entering the home of another neighbour, 22-year-old Robert Golub, who lived just five doors away with his 14-year-old brother, John Jr., and their mother and father. Richard went to the Golub home and knocked on the door. When he received no response, he walked back home and waited for their parents to return home.
When their parents arrived home, Richard informed them that Kelly had vanished and that a neighbour had seen her entering the Golub home. Their father, Richard Tinyes, called the Golubs and was informed by their father, John Golub, that they had hadn’t seen Kelly. Investigators arrived on the scene and spoke to several neighbours. There were a handful of neighbours who reported seeing Kelly entering the Golub home at around 3PM that afternoon. However, nobody saw her leave. The following morning, investigators spoke with the parents of Robert and John Jr., Elizabeth and John Golub, who informed the investigators that they had been out at work that afternoon but said that when they returned home, nothing appeared to be amiss or suspicious and that Kelly certainly wasn’t at their home.1
Investigators would obtain a search warrant for the Golub home. Inside a closet in the basement of the home, they came across a gruesome scene. It was the body of Kelly. She had been beaten, stabbed in the neck and chest with a World War I bayonet and then strangled to death with her own bra. She had additionally been sexually mutilated and then stuffed into a sleeping bag. Investigators brought the two brothers down to the police station to be interviewed as well as two 14-year-old friends that were at the Golub home the afternoon Kelly vanished. All four denied any knowledge of Kelly ever being in the home.
An investigation of the crime scene would reveal that Kelly had been murdered in a storage room around ten feet away from the closet. Blood was discovered on the carpet and on the bayonet. According to neighbours in the area, they had spotted Kelly hanging out with John Jr. quite a lot in the recent months. They were both students at Woodmere Middle School.
The two friends that were visiting the home that afternoon, Steve Bataan and Glenn McMahan, informed investigators that they had been at the home when Kelly arrived at around 3PM but said that they had no knowledge that she was there. They said that while at the home that afternoon, they had been upstairs in the guest room with John Jr. and that they had been listening to the radio very loudly and had never even heard Kelly arrive. They then left the home at around 3:30PM. Investigators would soon announce that the main suspects in Kelly’s murder were Robert and John Jr.2 They then requested that Robert and John Jr. provide palm prints and other hair samples.
Meanwhile, Kelly was laid to rest. A viewing was held at the Moore Funeral Home on W. Jamaica Ave. and Kelly’s casket sat at the front of the room, adorned with floral displays. Outside the funeral home, her father thanked the media, friends and family for assisting in the search for Kelly as well as those “who made easier this terrible ordeal.” The funeral was held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Hewett. Around 1000 mourners packed into the little yellow brick church to pay their final respects to Kelly. Afterwards, Kelly was buried in St. Charles Cemetery.3
The murder investigation was hampered due to the fact that the Golub home was extremely cluttered. According to investigators, each room and closet in the home was filled to the brim with random items. One investigator described it as being “crammed like a nightmare attic.” This made the crime scene extremely difficult to forensically analyse.4
The fact that it was taking so long for somebody to be arrested understandably infuriated locals in the area. After all, Kelly’s body had been found hidden inside a house, a house which she had been seen entering. Realistically, there were only a handful of suspects so why had there not been an arrest? One neighbor stated: “They have a body and there were people in the house at the time. Why don’t they have enough to make an arrest?”5
On the 23rd of March, Robert Golub was arrested and charged with Kelly’s murder. He strongly denied any involvement in Kelly’s murder but it would soon be discovered that investigators had found a blood hand print matching Robert’s hand at the crime scene.
During the trial, the prosecution put forward the theory that Robert was sexually motivated and when Kelly resisted his sexual advances, he attacked her. During opening statements, District Attorney Daniel Cotter said: “Who crushed her head against the floor and beat her unconscious? Who bit her on the neck? Who bit her on the buttocks and mutilated her?” He then pointed towards Robert and said: “’Who’ is sitting here in the courtroom with us.”6
DNA and forensic evidence would be entered at trial and included Robert’s bloody hand print as well as Robert and Kelly’s blood mixed together on two cases in the basement and on Kelly’s jacket. There was also bitemark evidence which indicated the bite marks found on Kelly’s body had come from Robert. While Robert’s defense could not dispute the DNA evidence, they tried to dispute the bitemark evidence.
Robert would be found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder of Kelly. In handing down the sentence, Judge Marvin Goodman called the murder of Kelly “one of the worst murders in the history of this county.” Following the sentence, Robert said: “I did not kill Kelly Ann Tinyes. Who killed Kelly Ann Tinyes at my home? Who met Kelly Ann Tinyes at our house? Who could have a hidden motive? Maybe the person is here with us today, but as sure as there is a God, it is not me.”7
The murder became a landmark case in New York State as the first in which DNA was used to win a murder conviction. It became nationally known when the trial of Robert Golub was televised. In 2009, the case was reopened to investigate the possibility that an accomplice was involved in the slaying. There were many people who believe that justice was not truly served and that John Jr. was also somehow involved in the murder of Kelly.
However, in November of 2013, Robert finally took some semblance responsibility for the murder of Kelly. He admitted that he had been on steroids and became angry when Kelly unexpectedly ran into the family’s home. He said he collided with Kelly and caused her to fall down the staircase. He claimed that this knocked her unconscious and he decided he would suffocate her. “I took her by the ankle and pulled her through the house, and her jacket, her shirt, and everything rode up.” He said that when she didn’t wake up, he became even more irate and started to punch her. “I would live every day in memory of that girl I killed. I’m just very, very sorry,” he said to the parole board as he was denied parole.8
- Daily News, 6 March, 1989 – “Suspects: 2 Brothers”
- Daily News, 7 March, 1989 – “Cops Expect Arrest in Slaying on L.I. Girl”
- Daily News, 8 March, 1989 – “2 Say They Were at Site of Girl’s Slay”
- Daily News, 9 March, 1989 – “Debris Hampers Search for Clues”
- Daily News, 14 March, 1989 – “Frustration in L.I. Killing”
- Daily News, 3 April, 1990 – “Kelly Ann Killing Goes to Jury”
- The Record, 2 June, 1990 – “Golub Gets Maximum for Killing Neighbor”
- CBS Local, 10 December, 2013 – “Convicted Hell on Horton Road Murderer Admits to Crime”