Man convicted in killing of NC State student in 1975 released on parole

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Man convicted in killing of NC State student in 1975 released on parole
A man convicted of killing an NC State student in 1975 was released from the Johnston Correctional Institution.

JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A man convicted of killing an NC State student in 1975 and a restaurant owner in Georgia was released from the Johnston Correctional Institution in Smithfield on Tuesday.

Gary Elliott Goldman was released on parole after serving more than 40 years behind bars.

He was first sentenced to life behind bars for killing a Georgia restaurant owner. He was 18 years old at the time.

"I was a kid. I was an absolute kid," Goldman said. "I was 18 when I got locked up, 18 when I committed the crime. I served the sentence. I'm a completely different person from that person."

While he was in jail for that crime, prosecutors charged him with the brutal 1975 beating of Betsy Rosenburg an NC State student. He was convicted in 1983 for Rosenburg's murder--a crime that added a second life sentence for Goldman.

Goldman admits he killed the Georgia restaurant owner but says he had nothing to do with Rosenburg's death.

"This crime here, though, I'm completely 100 percent innocent of it, and I've done the time," Goldman said. "I have met all the requirements and then some to be released."

Now that he has been released, Goldman plans to live in Durham and work as a dog trainer--something he was able to do while behind bars as part of the New Leash on Life program.

The 1975 attack happened after Rosenburg left the campus library. She walked to her car on Hillsborough Street and someone attacked her with a metal pole.

Rosenburg was 24 years old. She was going to college part-time to get her accounting degree.

A jury found Goldman guilty of the crime but questions remained.

Rosenberg's sister, Jean Parks, said she was never convinced that Goldman was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

"I feel very good and positive about his being released," Parks said.

Parks, a psychologist near Asheville, said she agreed with the parole board's decision to release Goldman, who is now 61.

Rosenberg said she even hopes to meet Goldman one day.

"I think it may be sort of surreal. I'm counting of having the assistance of a facilitator to help us navigate that conversation, but I am looking forward to talking with Gary."

She said she does want to know who killed her sister but that there isn't enough evidence pointing to one person.

"I know that Chris Mumma (Attorney) intends to continue to investigate and I hope that she's successful in finding the actual killer but I am not really confident after all this time that we will get that justice and that definite answer."

As for Goldman and his supporters, they're understandably happy. However, they say getting parole is just the first step. They want Goldman to be exonerated.

"We need more. We need more evidence. We want to get exoneration," Goldman's cousin R.C. "Bucky Waters said. "There's no reason for him to look either way except straight ahead, and I think he's going to do that."