For 20 years, Robert Golub said he has felt sympathy for the family of Kelly Ann Tinyes - the girl he was convicted of killing - even though he still insists he had nothing to do with it.
"She's tragedy number one," Golub, now 41, said in Green Haven Prison in Stormville. "I'm tragedy number two." He speculated on what his life might have been like on the outside, perhaps as a business owner or the head of a family.
Wearing silver-rimmed glasses, his hair thinning, Golub Monday spoke of his estrangement from his younger brother John, his willingness to face Kelly Ann's father and his hope that new evidence might exonerate him some day. He is serving a sentence of 25 years to life.
Kelly Ann's brutal murder on March 3, 1989 provoked an explosion of anger in the Valley Stream community where both families lived - and still live. A feud between the Tinyeses and the Golubs crested during a contentious trial and continued long after the guilty verdict, leading to harassment charges on both sides.
Golub said he never could have reached out to the Tinyes family while he was a suspect or later on trial. "What was I going to do, walk down the street and ring (their) bell?" he said.
Now, however, he said is willing to talk to them and express his sorrow. "If he wanted to, I'd talk to the gentleman," he said, referring to Richard Tinyes, Kelly Ann's father.
The killing apparently strained relations between brothers, too, as Robert and John J. Golub stopped speaking because of differences over the case that he wouldn't discuss. The Tinyes family believes John Golub played a role in the killing.
With his appeals exhausted and four years remaining until his first parole hearing, Robert Golub now seems resigned to confinement.
Golub also said he regrets the toll his imprisonment has taken on his parents. "I don't want to have them come here and be reminded . . . that their son's incarcerated," he said.
As long as he's there, he said has tried to better himself in prison. He worked as a paralegal assistant in the law library at Southport for about five years, a state Department of Correctional Services spokeswoman said. And he practices his Catholic faith in a prison church, where he will serve as a leader on a retreat, he said.