Friday, December 21, 2007

After Nearly Two Decades Imprisoned For Murders He Claimed He Did Not Commit, Long Island Native Martin Tankleff Can Receive A New Trial

The Framing Of Martin Tankleff

Written By James F. Marino

Anyone who remembers the Martin Tankleff trial from the late 1980s has always wondered if he might have been innocent of the murders of his parents -- two wealthy socialites from Belle Terre, Long Island.

The trial was suspect from the beginning, given that the only evidence was a coerced confession which Tankleff himself refused to sign off on.

Decades later a private investigator was asked by Martin Tankleff's relatives to look into the case, and found that a former business partner of his father's (who was also a friend of one of the lead detectives in the investigation who claimed that Tankleff had confessed to the murders of his parents) should have been a likely suspect in the murders of both of Martin Tankleff's parents.

As it stands, Martin may be free within a matter of days. Moreover, given that the prosecution in his original case will have no new evidence to offer in a retrial, and the defense will have plenty, there is already discussion as to whether or not a new trial will even take place.

If one does, at least Tankleff will finally get a long awaited and well deserved opportunity to present exculpatory evidence which can prove his innocence.

And if it turns out that James Mcready, the detective who claimed that Tankleff confessed, was complicit with his father's former business partner in attempting to frame Martin for the murders of his parents - while the business partner may have actually ordered the murders - this trial may turn out to be the most sensationalistic since the 1994 murder trial of Orenthal James Simpson.

Also of interest here, is that the only closely related blood relative to Martin Tankleff who is not pleased to hear of the recent events in his case, is his step-sister (Shari Mistretta).

Mistretta, not only inherited the entire Tankleff estate, but also became a business partner of the detective (K. James Mcready) who coerced a confession from Martin Tankleff (which was quickly recanted), shortly after the murder of his mother - and while his father lay in a coma and dying in the hospital.

During his interrogation of Martin Tankleff, Mcready also faked a phone call claiming that Tankleff's father had regained consciousness and stated that he had tried to murder both he and his wife -- this was a complete lie perpetrated by Mcready to coerce a confession from Martin Tankleff.

Moreover, the fact that Seymour Tankleff's former business partner, Jerry Steuerman, faked his own death and disappeared for a time just a week after the murders of the Tankleffs, only serves to make him more suspect - especially since he owed Seymour Tankleff $500,000 in promissory notes at the time; money which Tankleff was pressing him for.

And given recent testimony by Glenn Harris, that Steuerman paid two men -- Joseph Creedon and Peter Kent to murder the Tankleffs, while Harris was paid to drive the getaway car, Steuerman, Creedon, and Kent may find themselves being indicted before too long; since there is no statue of limitations on murder.

It is also difficult to ignore another conspiratorial aspect in this situation; one in which the lead detective in the case perjured himself by claiming that he did not know the elder Tankleff's business partner, Jerry Steuerman, or that this detective, K. James Mcready, purchased a Long Island bar with Seymour Tankleff's daughter Shari Mistretta and her husband, after the murders of her parents.

Rolling the dice here: Mistretta appears to have had no love for her late stepmother, Arlene Tankleff, nor her half brother, Martin. Could she have been so angry with her father, Seymour, for leaving her mother, that she conspired with Steuerman and others (including members of Suffolk County law enforcement) to murder both her father and Arlene Tankleff, while leaving a half brother whom she obviously resented, to take the blame for these murders?

If so, this could well explain why she has vehemently expressed her dismay with his conviction being overturned.

If New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo does his job properly, we may well find that Mistretta's comments were made to obfuscate her own complicity in these crimes.

And if so, exactly how powerful are her associates, when they may have controlled not only the lead detective in this case, but also prosecutor Thomas Spota, who fought tooth and nail for the past two decades to make certain that Marty never saw the light of day again?

- James F. Marino

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