Attorney general drops charges against Tankleff

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office decided Monday not to retry Martin Tankleff for the 1988 murders of his parents. In a proceeding that lasted only about three minutes, a lawyer for the attorney

News 12 Staff

Jul 2, 2008, 7:12 PM

Updated 5,860 days ago

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Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office decided Monday not to retry Martin Tankleff for the 1988 murders of his parents.
In a proceeding that lasted only about three minutes, a lawyer for the attorney general said that although there was some evidence to support a retrial, it wasn't enough to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
"I was ready for anything," Tankleff said about the tense moments leading up to the announcement.
Tankleff was convicted in 1990 of murder in the deaths of Arlene and Seymour Tankleff at their Belle Terre home. He spent 17 years in prison before an appeals court overturned the conviction in December. That ruling didn't clear Tankleff of the murder charges, but it did say new evidence about other possible suspects was substantial enough to warrant a new trial.
A relieved Tankleff spoke to reporters following the announcement. "It's 20 years overdue," he said, surrounded by his friends, family and lawyers.
"I really look forward to getting on with my life. Thankfully my family is here, my friends are here."Outside court, Tankleff?s aunt Marcella Flabee told News 12 Long Island she never doubted her nephew?s innocence.
Tankleff's defense lawyers said they are not surprised that there was some evidence implicating their client in the murder. They said that evidence came in the form of a confession that was browbeaten out of Tankleff.
A judge will make the final ruling on dismissing the charges later this month. Tankleff's lawyers said although the judge can rule any way he wants, there is no reason to think he won't rule in line with the attorney general's findings.
Tankleff's lawyers did not rule out the possibility of a civil suit in the future.
When asked if he plans on staying on Long Island, Tankleff smiled to reporters and said, "I'll take the Fifth." He said he plans on going to law school and working for an innocence project somewhere in the country.
Belle Terre residents told News 12 the decision was a long time coming and that their support for Tankleff never wavered. Some say they?re still concerned the Tankleffs? real killers are on the loose.
Tankleff?s sister Shari Mistretta, who said earlier this year she believed her brother was guilty, has yet to comment on Monday?s motion.
Watch:Footage of announcement in the courtroomMartin Tankleff's comments following the announcementReaction from Belle Terre residentsTimeline of the Tankleff case
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