These guys are talking about control.

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Prime Suspect
Will New Evidence Give Marty Tankleff A Second Chance?

(Page 1 of 11)NEW YORK, July 15, 2006
Marty Tankleff was a teenager when he confessed to killing his parents. (CBS/48 Hours)

(CBS) This story originally aired April 4, 2004.

Marty Tankleff was only 18 when he was convicted of murdering his parents in 1990. Since then, he has lived in a remote New York state prison, a far cry from his childhood, spent in a sprawling Long Island waterfront home.

But now, after years behind bars, Tankleff believes freedom may be within his reach. Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports.


Joe Guarascio is about to do something that he believes could put his life at risk: walk into a courtroom and accuse his own father of murder.

"I just decided the truth needs to be heard, I need to do the right thing. I need to step up and be a man," says Joe.

He is taking this extraordinary measure to help free a man he doesn't even know: Marty, who was arrested for murder in 1988 when he was the same age as Joe, only 17 years old.

Joe says his father once told him that he in fact had committed the crime.

Marty, now nearly 35, has spent most of the past 16 years in prison for two murders he insists he didn't commit.

Before the murders, Marty spent is childhood in the lap of luxury. "It was a wonderful childhood," he recalls.

Seymour and Arlene Tankleff were unable to have children of their own, so they adopted Marty as a baby.

Marty says his mom was great and that he was also close to his father. "My father had a poor childhood. When I became a teenager, he had money, so he lived vicariously through me," he explains.

Seymour, a savvy and tough entrepreneur, was grooming Marty to follow in his footsteps.

"I wanted to be a businessman. So I enjoyed being involved in all of that," says Marty.

Marty says he knew everything about his father's businesses, including the trouble his dad was having with a partner in a bagel shop, Jerry Steuerman, who owed him a lot of money.

"The friendship had dissipated. They essentially became enemy business partners," Marty says.

Despite the tension between Seymour and Jerry Steuerman, both men continued to play in a weekly poker game. And on Sept. 6, 1988, it was Tankleff's turn be host. The game lasted into the wee hours and Steuerman was the last to leave. The next morning, Marty says, he woke to find his father near death.

Marty called 911. Then, Marty says, he searched for his mother and found her dead on her bedroom flood.

Prime Suspect
Will New Evidence Give Marty Tankleff A Second Chance?

(Page 2 of 11)NEW YORK, July 15, 2006
Marty Tankleff was a teenager when he confessed to killing his parents. (CBS/48 Hours)

James McCready, the lead detective who is now retired, arrived an hour later. Seymour, bludgeoned and stabbed, but still alive, had been rushed to the hospital; Arlene's body still lay in her room.

"It was an eerie feeling, it was dark," McCready recalls. "She was nearly decapitated and it appeared to me that she had struggled with whoever had assaulted her."

McCready, a homicide cop for 10 years, saw no sign of forced entry and was immediately bothered by Marty's appearance. He also wondered why Marty was left alive.

"He was sitting as calm as calm could be with his hands clasped like this," McCready says. He says he would have expected Marty to be crying, shaken or very upset.

"What impression did you get from him?" Moriarty asks Marty.

"I felt that they were trying to help me and I was trying to help them," he says.

But McCready says Marty was lying. "I get a feeling, its not so much the way — what is said. It's the way in which it's said," he explains.

Marty volunteered his suspicions that Steuerman, his father's partner, was somehow involved. And he agreed to talk more about that at police headquarters but in fact McCready thought he already had his man.

What could the motive be?

"One of he simplest old things in the world. Greed," McCready claims.

Marty sat with McCready and his partner without a lawyer in a small windowless room. For hours, the detectives questioned him.

"It was the constant barrage that 'Marty, we know you did it, everything will be OK, just tell us you did it. We know you did it.' And it the on and on and on questioning. Over and over," says Marty.

Then, McCready did something that would change everything: he left the room, pretended to talk on the phone and came back with news about Seymour.

McCready told Marty that his father Seymour had been injected with adrenaline and that he came out of his coma and said that Marty had committed the crime.

"So you lied to him. That never happened," Moriarty asks.

"Well, yes, I lied to him. Yes," says McCready.

Asked if that's alright to do, McCready says, "the United States Supreme Court says it is."

Marty begged to take a polygraph but the detectives refused.

"So you're better at telling whether someone is lying?" Moriarty asks McCready.

"I think I'm better than the polygraph machine," the former detective says.

McCready's scheme worked: Marty began to wonder if he blacked out and in fact had attacked his parents. Finally, he told the police what they wanted to hear.

Marty says the cops had him believing he had committed the crime. "I was scared. I was disoriented. I was in shock," he recalls.

McCready began to prepare a written statement, writing it himself.

Although Marty never signed it, and almost immediately recanted, the detectives had enough. Marty was arrested and charged with murder.

Prime Suspect
Will New Evidence Give Marty Tankleff A Second Chance?

(Page 3 of 11)NEW YORK, July 15, 2006
Marty Tankleff was a teenager when he confessed to killing his parents. (CBS/48 Hours)

Private detective Jay Salpeter, who is working with Marty's team, says Marty was forced to admit to a crime he didn't commit.

"The confession of Marty Tankleff is Detective McCready's story. Not Marty's story," says Salpeter, adding, "Detective McCready is a bad detective … It's just mind boggling what this man did to this kid."

At the funeral for his mother Arlene, Marty had to mourn in shackles.

"It wasn't a funeral. It was a burial. You couldn't really grieve. You couldn't say goodbye," he says.

He had been arrested and charged with her murder and the attack on his father after police say he confessed.

But Ron Falbee, Marty's cousin and guardian, says the police jumped to the wrong conclusions.

"He is guilty of waking up in the morning alive," he says. "And the minute Marty talks to anyone else outside of the cops, the first thing out of his mouth is, 'They made me say it.' "

And Ron is not the only family member in Marty's corner: several relatives, including an aunt and uncle and cousins, have been fighting to free Marty.

"The strange part is, there isn't anybody sitting here, that ever got question asked by the police. They never talked to anybody in this room," says Marty's relative Mike.

But when Moriarty asks, "Did you ask to speak to them and they said no?"

He replies, "No. I never asked directly to speak to them. I didn't have to. What were they going to add to my case?"

But the relatives say they had plenty to add. For one, they knew Marty.

The relatives didn't think it was odd that Marty was not showing emotion when police arrived. "That's his way. He still has that about him. 'How are you? Oh, I'm great. Everything's fine.' This is the way he is," explains Marty's relative Ruth.

"I was brought up to be a very non-emotional person. I mean I was brought up to very much internalize emotions," says Marty.

And while police say Marty killed his parents to get money, his family disagrees.

"He wasn't supposed to get any money till he was 25 years old," explains his aunt Marianne. "So what was he supposed to do from 17 to 25?"

While Marty says he was aware he couldn't inherit any money until he was 25, Det. McCready was not.

"Jim, isn't it important to talk to everybody before you settle on someone when you know their entire life …could be ruined by this?" Moriarty asks.

"No, no," argues McCready. "Under the circumstances in this case everything we needed to know we pretty much knew in the first day."

With his suspect behind bars, McCready thought he had the whole case all wrapped up in a day. But a week later, with Marty's father Seymour lingering in a coma, the case took an unexpected turn. Seymour's business partner, the same man Marty had told the police to investigate, disappeared.

At the time, Marty thought the business partner would become the main suspect.

But, as a police report shows, McCready still refused to consider Jerry Steuerman a suspect.


Prime Suspect
Will New Evidence Give Marty Tankleff A Second Chance?

(Page 4 of 11)NEW YORK, July 15, 2006
Marty Tankleff was a teenager when he confessed to killing his parents. (CBS/48 Hours)

Asked why he didn't consider Steuerman's absence to be connected to the murder, McCready says, "Because he had nothing to do with that murder."

"Didn't his disappearance make your case harder?" Moriarty asks.

"Not that it made it harder, it just — it just added more questions," the former detective says.

Two weeks later, the detectives found Steuerman in Long Beach, Calif., where he was living under an alias.

"I mean, didn't you say to Jerry, you're messing up my case here?" Moriarty asks McCready.

"Something like that. I remember saying something to that effect, yes," McCready recalls.

Steuerman returned home claiming his personal and financial problems caused him to flee. "I couldn't take it anymore. I had too many problems and it's just 20 years of building up, that's all," Jerry Steuerman said. "So I staged my death."

"Is it possible Jerry hired someone?" Moriarty asks McCready.

"Nope," McCready says. "He couldn't. That man couldn't hurt a fly."

One month after the Tankleff's were attacked, Seymour died, without ever regaining consciousness.

Marty was then charged with two murders and, a year and a half later, went on trial. "I think every emotion ran through me, scared, fearful, but I was also hopeful," Marty remembers. "Because I knew I was innocent. And I always believed that innocent men don't get found guilty."

By far, the most damaging evidence against Marty was his confession. But there was little physical evidence to back it up. None of Marty's hair nor blood was found on his parents. His mother Arlene had clearly fought her attacker, yet, Marty had no cuts or bruises, only some swelling in his eyes from a nose job he got for his 17th birthday.

The jurors also heard from the man the detectives had dismissed as a suspect.

Steuerman denied any involvement in the Tankleff murders but did admit that he had owed Seymour Tankleff hundreds of thousands of dollars. What's more, he was upset that Seymour was demanding a share of the bagel store Jerry was setting up for his son.

Under intense questioning, Steuerman snapped.

"Marty Tankleff sitting over there is accused of this and I am not!" Steuerman said. "Only mistake that I made in my lifetime, the only mistake I made was I was a poor man living like a millionaire!"

By contrast, Marty was composed on the stand, perhaps too composed, as he tried to explain why he would confess to something he didn't do.

"They were saying my father said I did this. My father never lied to me," Marty said in court.

After a week's deliberation, the jury reached its verdict: guilty.

"It was as hard as the day I learned my sister was killed," Marty's aunt Marianne tearfully remembers.

Marty was sentenced to 50 years to life but, 12 years into that sentence, private investigator Jay Salpeter stepped in.

And he has found a witness who is ready to reveal a secret, and a son who is ready to turn in his own father.

Prime Suspect
Will New Evidence Give Marty Tankleff A Second Chance?

(Page 5 of 11)NEW YORK, July 15, 2006
Marty Tankleff was a teenager when he confessed to killing his parents. (CBS/48 Hours)

For 18 years, Marty has tried to explain why he told the police he could have murdered his parents. He says the police made him confess to the murders.

"It's like having an 18-wheeler driving on your chest and you believe that the only way to get that weight off your chest is to tell the police whatever they want to hear," he says. And he says that includes even admitting to a murder.

Marty's confession is by far the most troubling part of his case: the detectives chose not to record it, so we'll never know exactly what happened in that interrogation room. But had they taped it, some experts believe, we'd be able to see how police techniques can lead a perfectly innocent person to say he's guilty.

Richard Ofshe, an expert in interrogation tactics, is working on Marty's appeals. "Oh it's a confession. It's a false confession," he says.

"You know that everyone listening to this is saying, 'You couldn't make me confess to a crime I didn't commit, certainly not a brutal murder like this,' " Moriarty remarks.

"Wanna bet? Happens all the time," says Ofshe.

He says that certain people are more vulnerable: Marty was a sheltered teenager and believed in the honesty of police officers.

"Detective McCready said my father said it was me. And I believed that," says Marty. "And it was at that point that I said maybe I could have done it."

Asked if he actually believed that he had killed his parents, Marty says, "Yes."

"What happened in that room is modern police interrogation directed at a vulnerable child who just discovered his parents dead," says Ofshe. "He knows he didn't do it but he's confronted with a police officer who's lying to him, and skillfully lying."

Ofshe believes that after being badgered for hours, Marty began to question his own memory and the police gave him a way out.

"I was asked, 'Marty could you have blacked out and done this?' " Marty recalls.

"All of a sudden there is a way of reconciling it. And that is 'You had a blackout,' " says Ofshe, "because of some psychological condition you got that impairs your memory."

False confessions do happen: 25 percent of the people who have been exonerated with DNA evidence over the past 15 years had confessed to crimes they did not do.

Ofshe is convinced Marty's confession is false because the details are so wrong. "His confession is actually evidence of his innocence," he claims. "It's very specific about how the crime happened and all those very specific things are disproven."

For example, Marty told police that he used a barbell and kitchen knife as murder weapons: but not a trace of blood was found on those items, even when they were microscopically examined.

Asked why no blood was found in the plumbing, assuming that the weapons had been cleaned, McCready says, "Every confession does not have 100 percent of the truth in it. Because they don't give you the whole truth."

Prime Suspect
Will New Evidence Give Marty Tankleff A Second Chance?

(Page 6 of 11)NEW YORK, July 15, 2006
Marty Tankleff was a teenager when he confessed to killing his parents. (CBS/48 Hours)

The forensics team found bloody glove prints at the scene but Marty never mentioned wearing gloves and those gloves were never found. McCready says he doesn't know what happened to the gloves and says he's not concerned.

Nor did it concern McCready that the trail of blood didn't fit Marty's claim that he killed his mother first.

"Seymour's blood is with her and her blood is not by him. So isn't that an indication that he was probably killed first," Moriarty asks.

"Yes. But he could have gone back and forth a couple of times," says McCready.

"The detectives have a theory of what happened. And they got that theory by walking through the house, says Ofshe. "That gets worked into Marty's confession."

"You give me a kid like that, I'll have him tap dancing that he killed his parents. We could do it. Is it right? No," says Jay Salpeter, the former New York cop who is working Marty's case.

Salpeter says that once McCready had the statement from Marty, he could no longer investigate any other suspect. "How is this detective going to find another murderer when Marty Tankleff confessed to him? How is he going to get out of that?" he wonders.

"Once you have that confession aren't you kind of — aren't you caught? Because you can't bring anyone else to trial once you have that confession," Moriarty asks.

"Well, I'm not taking a confession from an innocent man. I would never do that," the former detective says.

But, a year after Marty's arrest, a state investigation found that in Suffolk County, Long Island — where McCready worked — there was an "astonishingly high" 94 percent confession rate, which it said "provokes skepticism."

McCready makes no apology. "Homicide squad is sort of the crθme de la crθme, if you will," he says. "We do a good job, and we are very good at doing it."

Yet private investigator Jay Salpeter says the forensic work does not fit the story.

Salpeter tracked down a man, who told him he had kept a secret for 14 years. Glenn Harris says he knows who really killed Marty Tankleff's parents and he knows that because he was there.

If Marty does get out of prison, it may be due to Glenn Harris and the story he has to tell.

Harris says he doesn't know Marty and didn't know him growing up. "We were from different sides of the tracks, literally," he says.

Glenn Harris, a career criminal, was serving time for burglary when private detective Jay Salpeter tracked him down from a lead that came after Marty's conviction.

"I thought if I could do something right for somebody else, I'd be helping myself," says Harris.

Harris says that on a night in September 1988, he was the driver, on the way to what he thought would be a home burglary. Asked who he was with that evening, Harris says, "Joseph Creedon and Peter Kent."

Prime Suspect
Will New Evidence Give Marty Tankleff A Second Chance?

(Page 7 of 11)NEW YORK, July 15, 2006
Marty Tankleff was a teenager when he confessed to killing his parents. (CBS/48 Hours)

Joseph Creedon, known on the street as "Joey Guns," and Peter Kent, also have long criminal records. In a notarized affidavit, Harris says he drove them to an upscale neighborhood and "parked his car ... where Creedon told me to stop."

"When they returned to the car, were you aware of what happened?" Moriarty asks.

"I knew something happened," Harris recalls. "Their demeanor, their behavior, it wasn't normal."

Asked what his feelings were, Harris says, "That something more than a burglary happened. Usually when you commit a burglary there's proceeds of something and that wasn't there."

Asked what Creedon and Kent's demeanor was, Harris says, "Extremely nervous, winded. Creedon's anxiousness to get out of there."

Harris says he later watched Peter Kent burning his clothes and when he heard about the Tankleff murders, he put two and two together but kept quiet.

"I had no right being up there," says Harris. "I was using drugs, I was just out on parole."

Creedon reportedly told other people he was involved in the crime, although today, both he and Peter Kent deny it. But Glenn Harris took — and passed — a polygraph arranged by Marty's investigator, Jay Salpeter.

What's more, Salpeter says Joe Creedon is linked to the man that the police had always dismissed as a possible suspect: Jerry Steuerman.

"This is not a random hit," says Salpeter.

Steuerman, the bagel shop owner who was heavily in debt to Seymour Tankleff, was the last person to leave the poker game before the murders, and while Creedon denies knowing Jerry Steuerman, he was well acquainted with Jerry's son, Todd, a convicted drug dealer.

"My scenario is that Seymour is sitting at the desk. Jerry Steuerman is talking to him keeping Seymour's attention on Jerry," says Salpeter. "At this point, behind Seymour, coming through the door, Joe Creedon, Peter Kent … and they took Seymour out and then went for Mrs. Tankleff."

Jerry Steurerman now lives in an upscale community in Boca Raton, Fla. He refused to talk to 48 Hours but both he and his son, Todd, deny they had anything to do with the Tankleff murders.

The discovery of new evidence is a major break for Marty. He has been granted a hearing. If the judge, at that hearing, finds that the new evidence would have caused the original jury to vote a different way, Marty will get a new trial and have a real shot at winning his freedom.

"This is the first time that the truth is gonna be coming out in the courtroom, and we're gonna be bringing in the people to give us the truth," says Salpeter.

Prime Suspect
Will New Evidence Give Marty Tankleff A Second Chance?

(Page 8 of 11)NEW YORK, July 15, 2006
Marty Tankleff was a teenager when he confessed to killing his parents. (CBS/48 Hours)

ing begins, Marty's lawyers — who are working pro-bono — and his large extended family are thrilled to be back in court.

But that new evidence will not go unchallenged.

"This is not a game of stickball where you do a do-over," says assistant District Attorney Leonard Lato, who is fighting to uphold Marty's verdict. "There's a verdict, there's appeals, there have been federal habeas petitions. He's lost. They must come forward with clear evidence to show that that verdict is incorrect."

"Two people are brutally murdered. One person slept through the whole thing. That's bad for Marty Tankleff from the beginning," says Lato.

"You have an individual, Joe Creedon, a career criminal who told several people that he was involved in the Tankleff killings," says Moriarty.

"A lot of people bragged to killing President Kennedy. Doesn't mean that they did it," Lato argues.

Lato claims Joe Creedon took credit for the murders only to enhance his violent reputation. But wait until you hear what this woman says: Karlene Kovacs met Creedon at a party and says he sounded all too sincere when he told her about the crime.

She says she thought Creedon was telling the truth when he allegedly told her about the murders.

Kovacs, one of the first witnesses to testify, gave a sworn affidavit nine years ago. "I just feel like it was thrown in the garbage. And it was overlooked. And no one took me serious," she says.

Still, the witness everyone is waiting to hear is Glenn Harris. He is brought to court from jail, where he is serving time for a parole violation.

"He will be telling the truth today. Of what happened the night of the murders," Salpeter says.

But when Marty's star witness takes the stand, he does something no one expects: he refuses to testify on the grounds he might incriminate himself.

Assistant District Attorney Lato says that as Harris told and retold his story to several people, his story kept changing. "In my view, he isn't testifying because he doesn't want to get up on the stand, subject himself to cross examination, and be exposed as a liar," says Lato.

Salpeter believes that Harris is afraid that the district attorney — who refused to give him immunity — will charge him with the Tankleff murders.

"I think the district attorney is doing everything possible to muzzle Glenn Harris," says Salpeter. "If he doesn't believe Glenn Harris, you know what? Put him on the stand and prove that Glenn Harris is a liar."

Asked why he wouldn't give immunity to Harris and find out, Lato says, "Because you don't give immunity like you're giving away candy. If I gave Glenn Harris immunity in this case, every defense lawyer in Suffolk County would rightfully come in and say 'I want immunity before my person cooperates.' "

It's a terrible blow for Marty Tankleff and his family. But Marty's case isn't over yet: Joe Creedon's son has yet to take the stand.


Prime Suspect
Will New Evidence Give Marty Tankleff A Second Chance?

(Page 9 of 11)NEW YORK, July 15, 2006
Marty Tankleff was a teenager when he confessed to killing his parents. (CBS/48 Hours)

Marty's battle for a new trial will have to be fought without his star witness, Glenn Harris.

But Marty isn't giving up: Harris didn't testify, but he did give Tankleff's defense team a sworn affidavit.

"One of the most striking facts that really stuck out was his identifying that Joseph Creedon had gloves with him," says Marty. "That was always a big mystery, because there were glove-like prints found in my house, and nobody ever found gloves."

And as Marty's hearing continues, private investigator Jay Salpeter brings in other witnesses who support Marty's innocence. They point to Joe Creedon and Peter Kent as the killers.

"New witnesses have been found, new witnesses have come forward," says Salpeter. "And we're still hopeful that we're going to bring Marty home."

One of those witnesses is Father Ron Lemmert, a Catholic priest, who told the court, with Glenn Harris' permission, that Harris told him the same story he told 48 Hours.

"He really poured his heart out, how, he said he couldn't sleep at night, his conscience was bothering him," the priest says. "And he really wanted to do the right thing, but he was a man who was terrified."

Perhaps the most dramatic witnesses are those who say that Joe Creedon tried to involve them in the murder plot: Joe Graydon, who knew Creedon, claims he and Creedon had made a failed attempt to ambush a man he now believes was Tankleff.

"We had to go up to the bagel store and make it look like a robbery," says Graydon. "He wasn't there. We missed him. We were supposed to catch him coming out of the back."

And there is Bill Ram, another associate of Creedon. He confirms Glenn Harris' story that the killers started out at his house the night of the murders.

Asked what he was doing that evening, Ram says, "I was hanging out at my house; I had a few people over."

Ram, a convicted drug dealer, not only corroborates Harris but says he himself spoke with Joe Creedon that night.

"He said, 'I'm working for somebody — who's got a partner in the bagel business that needs to be straightened out.' And he said, you know, there's some money in it for me if we go there and just, you know, he's going to threaten the guy or rough him up," Ram tells Moriarty.

Ram says that he turned Creedon down but that Glenn Harris didn't.

"When I saw him the next day, he was completely distraught," says Ram.

Asked what he means by distraught, Ram says, "Just shooken up — couldn't hold a thought — just scared to death. I told him, 'Listen keep your mouth shut.' I really didn't wanna be involved."

"What surprised you the most that you heard form these witnesses?" Moriarty asks Marty.

"Their honesty," he replies. "That after all these years that they would come forward and admit their involvement in such brutal crimes."

The final witness for Marty, and maybe the most surprising one, is 17-year-old Joe Guarascio, who comes to court to accuse his own father, Joe Creedon, of the murders.



Prime Suspect
Will New Evidence Give Marty Tankleff A Second Chance?

(Page 10 of 11)NEW YORK, July 15, 2006
Marty Tankleff was a teenager when he confessed to killing his parents. (CBS/48 Hours)

In 2004, Guarascio finally got to spend time with the father he barely knew. He says, at first he was thrilled —but later after seeing a 48 Hours report on the Tankleff murders, he had to ask his father the tough question.

"I said, 'Hey, dad, did you do it?' And he sort of like blew me off for a minute," Guarascio recalls. "About 15, 20 minutes later, I'm like, 'Dad, did you really do this?' He tells me, 'Yes, I did do it.' And began telling me how he did it and who was there."

"You know that somebody would say, 'Wait a minute.' Somebody committed a murder. They're not gonna just say, 'Yes of course. Yes I did it,' " Moriarty remarks.

"That's what they would say. But that's what I heard," says Guarascio.

For several months, young Joe says he kept to himself what his father said. When he finally told his mother, she convinced him to testify.

"I guess Joe Creedon felt his son would never turn on him. But Joe Guarascio came forward. And he's going to be the reason why Marty will come home," says Salpeter.

But assistant District Attorney Leonard Lato is not impressed with the testimony of Joe Guarascio. In fact, he doesn't believe any of the witnesses can be trusted — especially since so many of them have criminal histories.

"The point is when people have criminal records, are still committing crimes, those things affect their credibility," Lato says. "Like the people who implicated Creedon? They all admitted one thing: they all hated him. That's a reason to say things about a person that isn't true."

Lato claims he's found holes in the testimony of every significant defense witness, saying every one of the defense witnesses is "inaccurate."

When it's the state's turn to present witnesses, the hearing becomes almost surreal. Incredibly, one of state's star witnesses is Peter Kent: the career criminal who is allegedly Creedon's accomplice in the Tankleff murders.

"They brang me in, you know they told me that, we don't — we don't believe that you did this," says Kent. "I thought maybe like they were trying to play tricknology games with me, you know? 'Hey, Peter, we don't think that you really did it, but just come on, come forward.'"

Kent denies he had anything to do with the murders. "I know I was not there with Glenn doing no murders," he says.

But even he says Joe Creedon is capable of murder. "With a name like Joey Guns?" he questions.

Just not these murders. "Joey was not the killer of these murders," says Kent. "I know that, cause he was not with me that night and we didn't do these with Glenn. It never happened"

Creedon, who has been convicted of rape and grand larceny, denies ever killing anyone but on the stand he admits to a life of violence collecting money for drug dealers.

"It's hard to know that a person as evil as himself can walk out of the courtroom free and they're putting handcuffs on my nephew to walk him back to the holding cell," notes Marty's aunt Marianne. She says being in the court room was "very tough."

"Do you believe that these two career criminals, who have admitted a history of violence, do you believe when they say they had nothing to do with the Tankleff murders?" Moriarty asks Lato.

"I believe, in terms of the evidence, that there's no evidence connecting them to the crime at all. No credible evidence," Lato says.

"The district attorney of Suffolk has an obligation to seek the truth. The district attorney is doing everything here to suppress the truth from coming out," argues Salpeter.

Prime Suspect
Will New Evidence Give Marty Tankleff A Second Chance?

(Page 11 of 11)NEW YORK, July 15, 2006
Marty Tankleff was a teenager when he confessed to killing his parents. (CBS/48 Hours)

In March 2006, 18 months after the hearing began, nearly 18 years after the murders, the judge ruled that he will not grant Marty Tankleff a new trial, despite all of the new witnesses. The judge says much of the new testimony is hearsay and not credible. So Marty will continue to serve his 50-year-to-life sentence.

"The judge described many of the witnesses that came forward as a 'cavalcade of nefarious scoundrels' paraded before this court. What was your reaction?" Moriarty asks Salpeter.

"How dare him," he replies. "These are people who came forward, for what? To be called names? They came forward to help free an innocent man … Do they have a past? Do they have records? Yes. So what?"

The judge even dismissed the testimony of Joe Creedon's son, saying that the 17-year-old may have been trying to protect his mother, who had long been abused by Creedon.

"There's no way if a jury, a new jury, heard what we brought forward into this hearing, that they would not acquit Marty," says Salpeter.

Meanwhile, in prison Marty says he could be doing a lot better. "I was hoping we wouldn't be doing this interview in a prison," he says.

Marty admits he is bitter about the judge's decision. "I think all along I kind of always knew in the back of my head that was probably going to happen, because of all the letdowns, because of Suffolk County. But still, hearing that I was denied a new trial was hard."

"You came in when you were 19 and you're about to turn 35. Is there a side of you that's afraid that you may never get out of here?" Moriarty asks.

"No," Marty says.

And now, Marty and his supporters have new reason to hope. Recently, a New York State appeals court has agreed to review the judge's decision. It's good news for Marty, but he's afraid to get his hopes up.

"There's no level of excitement in any of this. I'm still in prison, my parents were murdered, so there's no excitement or joy in any of this. There's signs of relief, signs of encouragement," he says.

If Marty wins that appeal, he may yet get his chance at freedom. "I'm not afraid of a new trial. I'm not. I think I have more than enough witnesses to prove my innocence, let a jury of my peers evaluate the new evidence," says Marty.


Oral arguments are expected to begin early next year. The Innocence Project, a prominent legal organization is now helping Marty Tankleff.

Marty Tankleff, as a "jailhouse lawyer," helped to free an inmate who was convicted on a false confession.