Gaston County man who killed father to be released from prison early

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A man who murdered his father when he was 15 years old will get out of prison early.

A judge has resentenced Nathanael High nearly two decades after he was originally sentenced to life in prison. Changes in state law since High’s conviction bar a minor from getting life without parole.

Nathanael High admitted he killed his father but said he shouldn’t spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder.

[PAST COVERAGE: Gaston County man in prison for killing father opens up about fight for shorter sentence]

Nathanael High’s mother cried in court at the thought of hugging her son again, which is something she hasn’t done since 2010.

“It’s hard for people to understand that I still love my dad too, and I miss him,” Nathanael High said.

In 2002, Nathanael and his 13-year-old girlfriend shot his father, Randy High, as he slept in his bed. Nathanael High said Randy High, who was the chief of the Gaston College Police Department, was horribly abusive.

“Nothing my dad ever did to me means he deserved what happened to him on Feb. 10, 2002,” Nathanael High said.

A change in state law allowed him to enter a new plea for second-degree murder. The plea can get Nathanael High out of prison in as little as two years.

“It’s very important for me that my family know I’m sorry for this,” he said.

Gaston County Police Chief Joe Ramey knew Randy High and worked the crime scene in 2002.

“It’s always difficult to accept a lower sentence in a premeditated or cold-blooded murder such as this,” Ramey said.

Ramey said he understands the reason for the changes in the law, but he thinks there should be an exception in this case. Nathanael High and his girlfriend reportedly went to the mall and got ice cream after the murder.

[PAST COVERAGE: Man serving life in prison for killing police chief father fights to be released]

“Randy, he’s not here to speak, so we have to speak for him,” Ramey said.

Nathanael High’s sister spoke for her brother.

“Nathanael has a wonderful heart, and we need him to come home,” Melissa Slamcik said.

Nathanael High could get out of prison in 2023, which means he would get out a year before his girlfriend and co-defendant who is serving time for second-degree murder.

(Watch the video below: Convicted teen killer makes request for new sentence)