Kim Goodman was brutally murdered on July 11, 1983. Her mother and brother are trying to make sure her killer is not released by the N.C. Parole Commission.

 

Thirty-seven years after Kim Goodman’s murder, her mother and brother are working to convince the N.C. Parole Commission that her killer should remain in prison

BY MIKE FUHRMAN

It’s easy to imagine how Kim Goodman’s life might have turned out, how she would have touched the lives of so many young people in a positive way and made her community a better place.

That’s because, at age 20, Kim had a plan. After graduating from South Iredell High School and earning her associate degree at Mitchell Community College, she was preparing to study dance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She would work hard and complete her bachelor’s degree in two years and then return home to Mooresville to work as a full-time dance teacher. She was engaged and was looking forward to getting married.

Brett Abrams, a troubled 14-year-old boy who lived nearby, destroyed all of those plans and dreams on July 11, 1983, when he stabbed Kim to death while she was sunbathing behind her home in the Brookview community near Highway 150 in Mooresville.

Prosecuted as an adult, Abrams pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on May 22, 1984, and was sentenced to life in prison.

Today, he is a 51-year-old inmate at Orange Correctional Center, a minimum-security prison in Hillsborough. His prison record includes 11 infractions, ranging from profane language to substance possession and property theft. But the last documented infraction occurred in 2005, and Abrams has since been granted work-release.

Later this month the N.C. Parole Commission will consider his latest attempt to be paroled.

Kim Goodman’s mother and brother are doing everything in their power to ensure that does not happen — just as they have every time Abrams has been up for parole consideration during the past 27 years.They are convinced that, if he is given the opportunity, Abrams will kill again.

“We don’t want another family to go through what we did,” Kim’s mother, Peggy Goodman-Riley, said. “It destroys lives. You do the best you can, but life is never the same” after someone you love is murdered.

“She had just a gentle heart”

Kim loved spending time at the lake. She was athletic, enjoyed waterskiing and could really hit a softball. When she was asked to be in the Miss South Iredell Pageant, she signed up – and won first runner-up.

But she was quiet and grounded. Even though they were six years apart, she loved spending time with her brother Greg.

“She was very close to her brother. She thought he was such a funny person and he could turn on the charm and make her laugh,” Peggy said.

Kim’s family, her fiancé and dancing were the most important things in her life. She was a good student, she had self-discipline and she knew what she wanted out of life, her mother said.

After beginning dance lessons at age 7, Kim performed regularly with a dance troupe, and she started teaching ballet to beginning students when she was 15. Her parents and brother supported her by attending her recitals and competitions.

As an instructor, she loved working with younger dancers, and she shared stories with her mom about how difficult it was to keep her class of 3-year-olds focused.

“She was very kind,” Peggy said. “She had just a gentle heart.”

“She saw the good in everyone — even Brett,” Greg added.

The Crime: ‘Something bad happened at your house’

Peggy was working at Lowrance Hospital in Mooresville when her daughter was killed after she caught Abrams peeping on her in the backyard. The teen had been in trouble for looking through a bathroom window at Kim before — and on that fateful day she confronted him and threatened to tell her father.

Afraid of what would happen to him, Abrams stabbed her 17 times, killing her. He told a potential witness for the prosecution “that he just lost it.”

Afterward Abrams called Kim’s mother on the phone.

“He called the hospital and said I needed to come home — ‘that something bad happened at your house,’ ” Peggy recalled.

Greg, who was 14 at the time, had left to get fishing bait from a friend’s house. When he returned home, he was met by a 14-year-old friend.

“What happened?” Greg asked the other boy.

“He killed her,” the friend replied.

Greg immediately knew who “he” was. Abrams had never threatened Kim or even been rude to her as far as her younger brother knew. In fact, Kim had babysat Abrams when he was younger and later on tried to console Abrams following the death of his younger brother in a camper fire in his backyard.

But all of the neighborhood kids knew Abrams was headed for trouble from a young age and had distanced themselves from the teen over time, Greg said.

After Abrams got caught looking at Kim through a bathroom window, Kim’s dad went to a magistrate to press charges. The magistrate convinced him that a better approach would be to talk to Abrams’ parents and insist they get their son psychiatric help. So that’s what he did.

Not long afterward, Kim Goodman was dead and Brett Abrams was convicted as an adult and sentenced to life in prison. At the time, North Carolina judges could not sentence offenders to life without the possibility of parole. Under state sentencing laws in 1983, life was defined as 40 years.

Opposing Parole: ‘We’re going to do everything we can’

According to the N.C. Department of Public Service, the Parole Commission considers “the nature and circumstances of the crime, the previous criminal record, prison conduct, prison program participation, input from court officials, victims, and other interested parties” when deciding whether to grant parole.

There are four parole commissioners, a majority of whom must vote in favor of parole before an inmate can be released on parole.

In 1993, in an effort to block Abrams’ first bid for parole, Kim’s family collected signatures from 40,000 people who signed a petition opposing his release. In 2004, they garnered 65,000 more signatures.

They have been to Raleigh many, many times over the past 27 years — every time Abrams has been up for parole — to voice their objections to his release. And every time, the Parole Commission has decided to keep Abrams locked up.

Before Kim’s father, Alex Goodman, died in 2002, Peggy promised him they would continue fighting to keep Abrams from being released from prison.

“We’re going to do everything we can to see that does not happen,” Greg said. “We know the consequences if he is.” 

They have been notified every time Abrams is transferred to another prison and get advance notice before his case is reviewed for parole. The commissioners, who are appointed by the governor, are replaced when their terms are up so there is usually one or more new members each time Abrams’ case is reviewed.

Peggy and Greg want to make sure that Kim does not become a faceless victim. They want the commissioners to know that she was loved by many people and that her murder was a crime against her family and her fiancé, as well as her friends and the 12-year-old boy who found her body — and even the little 3-year-old dancers she taught and adored.

Nearly 37 years after Kim’s death, Greg and his wife regularly encounter people who knew Kim and were impacted in some way by her death. Other people have sent Greg copies of their letters to the Parole Commission over the years.

“I was blown away by how it affected them,” he said. “It affects everybody differently, but it affects everybody.”

So, on Tuesday, May 12, Peggy, Greg and three other family members will have about 30 minutes to convince a parole commissioner why Abrams should remain in prison for the duration of his sentence.

That commissioner will share the family’s concerns with the entire board. Because of COVID-19 concerns, they will not get to meet in person with the commissioner; they will have to make their case via conference call.

They will share stories about Kim’s kind and loving nature, the plans and dreams she had for her life, and the deep and lasting pain that her murder caused her family, friends, high school and college classmates, and her little dance students.

“We live with her loss every day,” Peggy said.

And they will insist that Abrams will pose a grave danger to others if he is released.

“We know what he was capable of doing at age 14,” Peggy said. “We feel very strongly if he’s paroled he will do it again. He could come after someone in our family.”

There is no organized petition drive this time around, but Peggy and Greg urge anyone who opposes Abrams’ release to send their concerns to N.C. Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission, 4222 Mail Service Center Raleigh NC 27699-4222 or Parole.Commission@ncdps.gov.

Iredell County Sheriff Darren Campbell is among those urging the Parole Commission to deny Abrams’ latest bid for freedom.

After reviewing the case file, Campbell wrote a letter to the commissioners arguing that justice would not be served if Abrams is freed — this year or any year.

“This individual needs to be kept behind bars to complete his sentence. It was a vicious and heinous crime,” Campbell said. “He needs to be incarcerated for the rest of his life to pay his debt to the family and society for what he’s done.”

49 thoughts on “‘We don’t want another family to go through what we did’

  1. Timothy Windon says:

    I hope he dies in prison. I lived really close when this happened and remember it like it was yesterday. I was in school with him when it happened. He doesn’t deserve to be free even if he lives 200 years. Kim is gone forever so make his sentence forever.

    • Do not release this man from prison. He has no right to be let out and it will only be a matter of a short time until he is at it again and we hear of other pretty women uselessly dying. He is best served sitting right where he is!!!!!

  2. Mary Hartness says:

    Kim had such a sweet and special soul. The world was deprived of her beautiful soul. So he should be deprived of the world! Forever!

  3. Joy Baker Leonard says:

    The Goodman family lived across the street from us when we were kids. We were shocked when Kim was murdered. There are so many who have grieved for the family after this tragedy. This man should die in prison.

  4. Camille Bass says:

    Life means LIFE UNTIL YOU DIE IN PRISON. She was a beautiful and kind person. I went to school with Kim from second grade to graduation. He will kill again. He deserves life in prison! No release ever until a funeral home comes to pick up HIS body. Life for this monster!

  5. sharon white says:

    He should never ever get out of prison for what he did and how he killed her. I use to take dance pictures of Kim and the dance troupes at Academy of Dance Arts. Kim had so much to live for and he took it all away. She would have never hurt anyone.

  6. This individual stole a beautiful soul and mind. He stole our innocence. He wrecked so many hearts, minds and lives. He does not deserve to be breathing much less a second chance. The only thing in my life I have gone through (I have been through 6 combat tours) that left we thinking that Halloween the movie really had a very bad guy and that bad guy lived in our town. Stop him from breathing. Don’t let him out.

  7. Billy Mitchem says:

    I lived in this community. I remember well what he did to hurt this family. Before this people in this community lived without fear. It was nothing to see people out sunning themselves. He brought an end to this. People felt scared for the first time. Even though we knew who did it and he was in jail, we were a different place. We knew horrible things could happen here now. Our small community was shattered and would not be the same. Please don’t let the man that did this out!

  8. I don’t think he should be up for parole or even receive parole. He sounds like a very twisted and dark minded person. He took a beautiful life. Bless her.

  9. Sybil angelley says:

    Jimmy and I lived beside Peggy and Alex when Kim was born. We even kept her a few times, and after we both moved in different directions we kind of lost touch, but remained friends and Peggy and I still are friends. This was such a sad thing to have happen and more than any family needs to face. Letting the man out of prison would put the family and community in fear of what he could and probably would do again. Please do not let him out.

  10. He should stay in prison for life! He took a beautiful, sweet person from all who loved her! I went to school with Kim and my younger brother went to school with Brett. He had serious mental issues! He is an evil person & should never be released!

  11. Nina Newton Wall says:

    I don’t think Brett will ever be to the point he should be released. Kim had so much going for her. My father was Brett’s Sunday School teacher and was greatly upset. My Dad’s comment when he heard about this situation was “I so hate to say this, but I really don’t think Brett has the capacity to know right from wrong. He just never will.” I remember him saying this or something like this because I had never heard my Dad say anything like this. Dad had tears in his eyes when he was telling me about this. My Dad would find the good in everyone.

  12. Wendy Karriker Fiscella says:

    No Parole. Kim was an angel. You could not ask for a better friend, classmate or dance team partner. She shined!! Abrams is the exact opposite and WILL kill again, if given a chance. Everyone I knew in school distanced themselves from him.

  13. Teresa Shook Coley says:

    Life in prison means life in prison period! I went to school with Kim and had been to her house playing when we were kids!! She was sweet to everyone around her. 🙏

  14. Brett is pure evil. He does not deserve to ever breath fresh air outside of prison. He will do it again. He destroyed a beautiful girl and her family. Don’t let him have a chance of hurting anyone else.

  15. Debbie Graham says:

    If released from prison, a sociopath will again do harm. Can the prison parole commissioners be held accountable for future sociopathic tragedy? I believe they could be!!! It would be a prison reform nightmare!!! Violent Sociopaths do not deserve to walk free to harm others!!! I remember this well.

    • Ora Daniels Merritt, formerly Ora Daniels Morrison says:

      I was a teacher of Behavioral and Emotional Handicapped students at South Iredell High School when this happened. Brett Abrams was a student in my class. He was very aggressive towards students and adults. He even told me once that he hated me because I was black and female. The Exceptional Children Department completed the paperwork to have him committed to an intuition. At the follow up meeting to complete the process, his mother cried and accused us of being “out to get her son.” The process failed. The early morning call that summer was chilling. My co-worker’s words were, “Kim Goodman has been murdered and we know who is responsible.” This has haunted me for years. This is why I do my small part by asking the parole Commission to deny him parole each time he is up for parole. Brett Abrams should never be released on society!

      • Ora Daniels Merritt, formerly Ora Daniels Morrison – This is a horrible story. This is exactly what I was hoping someone would do, someone “in the know”, as it’s helpful to know the state of mind he was in. And it’s good that someone can explain to people who don’t know what a psychopath (if that’s what he is) is capable of (or if they cannot change, people need to know this). Thank you.

        • Rhonda Gregory Blankenship says:

          I graduated with Kim. She was one of the sweetest girls you could ever meet. She had a heart of gold and to watch her dance or teach the younger students was beautiful. ❤️ I remember that day like it was yesterday and the thought of her murder still makes me nauseous. He knew what he was doing and prison life is all he knows and it should stay that way. To Kim’s Family, I pray God will Bless you and help keep him where he belongs. Class of 1981, Rhonda Gregory Blankenship ❤️

  16. Haley Withers says:

    I didn’t get the opportunity to meet Kim. I’ve heard many stories about her and the situation. I love the family dearly and they have been impacted with this so deeply. Years of emotional scars and turmoil and damage. A healing that will never fully take place, I don’t believe.
    Any loss is a terrible loss. No one can ever be ready for the death of a loved one, but when a life is taken this tragically it scars for a lifetime. I’ve seen the results of it; this family has been through enough tragedy to not have to look over their backs in fear of his return. This is no way to live their life. They deserve peace of mind.

  17. Tara Cashion says:

    This man should never be free. He is a danger to society. Please keep him in prison for the remainder of his life.

  18. Sandey T. Sigmon says:

    I remember when this happened. It tore through me and many of my Iredell County friends lives. It was devastating. This isn’t about anger & bitterness. It’s about right & wrong, good & evil. I do believe people can change from one to the other. But only God knows what this individual has become in his heart. I wouldn’t want to be deciding his reprieve, based on the violence he committed as a young person. His stature and capacity for larger damages have increased. His tenure inside the prison should be of concern to his mental growth or degradation. However, Kim has never had the opportunity for either. Consider our loss, we haven’t forgotten. The pain of Kim’s life, lost to all of us.

  19. This sick killer needs to be kept behind bars for his lifetime. He should be there until death!

    “It was a vicious and heinous crime. He needs to be incarcerated for the rest of his life to pay his debt to the family and society for what he’s done.”

    Kim Goodman’s life was so important and she was so beautiful and she was murdered by Brett Abrams!!

    Disgusting, so scared if this killer is ever released. Please keep him in prison!

    Sincerely,

    Jodi

  20. Jody Hartsell Says 5/9/2020 says:

    I remember this tragedy very well. My family knew the Abrams family well but had to distance ourselves from them because of Brett. Even as a five year old he was very violent. I go to the same church as the Goodmans and remember what they went through and continued to go through every time he came up for parole. Please don’t let Brett out so this will happen again to another family.

  21. Warren Neel says:

    I went to school with Kim. She was a beautiful girl, and had the kindest heart. I remember that day like it was yesterday. He doesn’t deserve to be let free. I’m hoping and praying that he stays in prison.

  22. Lance Armstrong says:

    I was 13 years old when this terrible murder happened but I remember like it was yesterday. My sister went to school with Kim. I was a year younger than Brett but I remember Brett. He was always “off” to me.

    I’m praying for the Goodman family. I do not think that Brett should ever get out.

  23. Dreisa Sherrill says:

    There is no possible way I could ever support parole for Brett. This post brings back so many memories of a kind and talented girl that was brutally taken from all the people that loved and cared for her. Allowing him to walk back in the public would be one of the worst decisions ever made by the parole board.

  24. Greg Ballard says:

    I went to school with Brett and he was always troubled. He is pure evil and does not deserve any semblance of freedom of any kind. I also went to school with Greg and he was a great guy and came from a great family. Anyone capable of doing this to another human does not deserve to ever be free. Please consider what this family went through and petition against his release. My heart still goes out to Kim and her family as well. We will never forget.

  25. Beverly Yow says:

    I still remember when this horrific crime was committed. She was a beautiful young woman whose life was taken too soon. My daughter was in same dance academy when this occurred. Remember the tribute to her during a recital the year it happened and the scholarship there in her name. There is no way this person should be released back into society to enjoy life after he took a precious life.

  26. Kim’s Death Devastated Our Mooresville Community. Brett Abrams has been bad since I knew him in nursery school. Always Mean and Hateful and Always in Trouble. Kim was a Beautiful Young Lady with Her Whole life in front of her. She had been kind to Abrams and she was Killed for that kindness. Please Keep Brett Abrams Behind Bars. He Should Die in Prison. People kept their distance from Brett because you can tell he is a Dangerous Psychopath. Please do not release him into society where He will kill again.

  27. Junior Johnson says:

    This man should stay in prison. No one that knows him would feel safe. I know I wouldn’t feel safe around him, and I would not feel safe for him to be around my family or friends.

  28. Lori Edwards Broome says:

    As a native of Mooresville, I knew Kim Goodman. She was the age of my older brother and I looked up to her as one of the most beautiful girls at Brawley School. She was so smart and pretty, and had such a quiet grace about her. I took dance at the same dance studio, and there, she was beauty, grace, and elegance. She was the epitome of the girl next door, and someone murdering her in her own backyard made our little town dangerous to every young girl’s mind. If it could happen to her, it could happen to me. Brett stole our innocence and our feelings of safety and security. Brett stole the life of a beautiful young woman, a teacher, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a fiancee, a friend, a future wife, a future mother, a future grandmother, a future aunt, and countless other possibilities. He should NEVER be released from prison. He was dangerous as a child … imagine the demons still in him waiting to be released. Is my daughter in danger? Are my students in danger? Who will be his next victim if he is released? I am begging you not to release this dangerous man back into our town or anyone else’s. No parole for Brett Abrams.

  29. As a 14 year old he was called ‘troubled.’ At that time in our society we didn’t know what mental illness was. It seems apparent that mental illness was at work when he murdered Kim, and mental illness isn’t something that just goes away with time or a pill. His time in prison could have very well been spent thinking of who’s next, or how to commit the next crime. People with mental illness are never rehabilitated. Releasing him would be a crime. He is right where he needs to be for the rest of his life!

  30. Judy Overcash says:

    Where does one find the petition? I know a good many folks including myself, who would gladly sign it. The young man who did this must face his lifelong punishment. To grant him parole, is like slapping the family of Kim in the face .

  31. Paula Lodge says:

    I took dance at the Academy of Dance Arts. I also went to school with Greg. The day that Kim was killed, our phone rang off the hook with people trying to find out if I was okay because my maiden name was Goodman. Kim was beautiful inside and out. I knew Brett as a mean person from the time that he was in preschool with my brother and I. He would bite and hit others constantly. He was troubled from an early age.

  32. Shelley Karriker Hudson says:

    I went to school with Greg and took dance lessons from Kim at the academy. This man should never be free. He is a danger to society. Please keep him in prison for the remainder of his life.

  33. Gene Caldwell says:

    In my 30-plus years in emergency services, this was the most heinous crime I was ever involved with. I can still see the scene as it was. Mr. Abrams recieved a life sentence for this crime and life should be what he serves.

    • Cindy Neel says:

      Kim was a friend of mine and a very sweet person. Brett is a monster who should never, ever be released from prison. So please for the sake of her family and friends KEEP HIM IN PRISON. It’s what he deserves!!

  34. Mary Sloop says:

    Peggy: Wayne and I are so sorry for what you and your family have suffered for the hands of this evil person. I pray he never gets out! God bless you. Mary Sloop

  35. Jennifer Robinson Garrett says:

    I use to work for Peggy at Charlotte Orthopedics she was my office manager. What a beautiful person she was and I am most certain her daughter was also. Although I did not live in the area at that time I’m sure this was a complete nightmare for all who did. Peggy shared the story one day while we were meeting. Killing someone at age 14? That in its self is enough not to EVER see outside of 4 walls. EVER!! What a MONSTER! He should spend the rest of his life in prison!!

    • Debra Gramling says:

      I lived close by. I too was sunbathing when I heard the sirens. This murder shook our whole town. My sister worked with the killer’s mother. She had adopted Brett because she thought she couldn’t have children. Later she did conceive and had a little boy. When he was 4 he went in the family camper. He was locked in and the camper set fire. The child was burned up. I had the opportunity of talking to the Detective who worked the Goodman stabbing. He said in all his years he had never witnessed such a cold-blooded killer. There was no remorse and no denial. He was at the pond washing his knife he had just stabbed this beautiful girl in her own yard. Please contact The parole commission at address in body of report. This man will kill again; I truly believe it. Kim’s family has been diligent to have petitions signed all these years. Lets continue to keep this man in prison.

  36. Sheelah bolmer says:

    I did not know Kim, but we attended the same high school. I do remember when this occurred and how very sad it made me for both families. That being said, I cannot reconcile how parole could ever be an option in a case like this. This event was brutal, unnecessary and took a life. It robbed both families of dreams, happy memories and brought a sadness and pain that will never go away. A murder as brutal as this surely is reflective of deep mental issues that I do not believe can ever be fully resolved. Releasing him would be a huge risk to society, and should bring fear to us all. I pray that the parole board makes the decision to honor the sentence of life in prison.

  37. My daughter, Christina Inman, who was 20 at the time, was also stabbed to death in Iredell County two years ago and her killer has not yet been brought to trial. I want to see the person who did this in prison for the rest of their life. No release for any reason.

  38. I lived behind the Goodmans. Kim was sweet and kind to all of in the neighborhood. She was someone to be admired. She had such a bright future ahead of her. Unfortunately, I also knew the evil soul who had terrorized so many in the community to the point that many feared him being around. And to take the life of someone in such a brutal way is still beyond comprehension. That was not something that anyone would dream would happen where we lived. He didn’t just take her life that day. He changed the lives of her family and friends along with everyone in the community. To this day it is very unsettling to think he could be released. I pray that will not be the case.

  39. Debbie Oneill says:

    Someone like this needs to be kept in prison for the rest of his life and the only way they should be allowed to leave a prison is in a coffin !! In doing it this way there will be one less person in society to have the ability to hurt another human being and rip another family apart.

  40. I do not support parole for Brett, nor does my husband or our families.  I can only pray for his soul, but the devil may take me for I do not want to even pray for him.  I went to school with Kim Goodman for 4 years — 2 in middle school and 2 in high school. She was two years older than me.  I had graduated from South Iredell the year she was tragically murdered by Brett.  It was a shock not unlike the feelings of shock that America had during the terror attacks of 9/11.  Our small town had been terrorized by Brett and was devastated. An eerie terrified feeling filled our hearts and minds.  A sickness in our stomachs that forever damned us all to the terror of a murderer — never to be the same town or people.  I could not imagine the Goodman family’s pain.

    Kim was dead.  Lovely, sweet, kind, smart, forgiving and beautiful Kim.  Gone forever.  Killed. Murdered.  We would never meet her children, nor grandchildren.  Growing up, Brett was “troubled;” at that time it is code for mental illness. I truly fear if Brett were to get parole he would hurt Kim’s family in some tragic way. Or another townie of our loving community. It is not worth the threat to our community nor Kim’s loving family to free him ever.  Life with no parole should be his punishment as that was not a choice at the time.

    Her family and friends should not have to have this burden to make sure justice is served for Kim’s murderer. Time and time again we/they are treated like the murderers/wrongdoers.  The need to continue to write the Parole Commissioners or sign petitions to keep Brett where he belongs. In jail forever.  For his life. The process to keep him where he belongs is exhausting and demoralizing, especially to her family. Can you please just add no parole as an extension to his sentence? 

    Please consider if you loved your town and its people and wanted the best for both. How would you feel if a murderer was set free to run around and led his life like he did nothing wrong?  How could you decide to parole him in good conscience?  Consider how you would feel if Kim was your daughter and had been brutally murdered at Brett Abram’s hands at your home.  Home, your safe place.  I don’t think you could let him go if you were true to yourself.  You know right from wrong.  Do not be wrong in this instance where it impacts so many great people. I pray you will not let Brett go free.  Not now, not ever. Again I do NOT support the parole of Brett Abrams and ask you to consider ending the families and friends pain by adding, NO PAROLE ever.  As I am sure you would wish if Kim was your child.
    Thank you for your time and I hope support of this matter,

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