Exonerated After 17 Years in Prison for Killing Parents – Marty Tankleff Officially Joins Team Raniere

Marty Tankleff was falsely convicted of killing his parents. He will now represent a man whose followers say he was falsely convicted of numerous felonies.
Last week Marty Tankleff signed a court document [a protective order] in the case of Keith Raniere, which evidences that he joined the team of lawyers representing him for his appeal to the US Appeals Court for the Second Circuit.
Tankleff is not officially representing Keith yet, as he has not filed a Notice of Appearance. He is, however, part of the firm that represents Keith.
Raniere is also represented by Jennifer Bonjean, who also represents Bill Cosby on his pending appeal, as well as  Joseph D. McBride and Steven Alan Metcalf II.
I initially wrote, that “All of the lawyers are expected to say that Raniere is an innocent man who was falsely convicted.” However, I hve been advised that it would be more fair and accurate to say  “Raniere was not convicted in accordance with all of the protections afforded under the Federal Constitution, which can lead to a wrongful conviction.”

His latest lawyer knows something about such things.
Marty Tankleff whose own case often seemed like a lost cause, will take up the cause of Keith Alan Raniere.
Tankleff was exonerated for killing his parents some 17 years after he went to prison for the double killing. The man who likely arranged the killing got off scot-free because he knew the detective and the prosecutor.
For the National Registry of Exonerations, Maurice Possley tells the story:
About 6 a.m., on September 7, 1988, 17-year-old high school senior Martin Tankleff awoke to discover his parents had been attacked in their bed in their home on Long Island, New York. His mother, Arlene, was stabbed to death, but his father, Seymour, though severely beaten, was still alive.
Tankleff called police and after the ambulance had departed, police took him in for questioning because, with blood on his hands, they suspected he was involved.
Marty with his parents. He not only lost them when he was 17, but went to prison for their murders for 17 years.
The interrogation went on for hours, although Tankleff told the police that his father’s partner in a bagel store owed his father $500,000, had threatened his parents with violence and was the last person to leave the home the night before.
At one point, detective K. James McCready told Tankleff that his father had awakened at the hospital and identified him as his mother’s attacker. At that point, Tankleff said his father never lied and that perhaps he had blacked out and killed his mother.
He provided a possible, though inaccurate narrative of how it happened and was asked to sign the statement. Tankleff, however, refused to sign it and disavowed any involvement in the crime.
He was charged with killing his mother and attempting to kill his father—a charge that was changed to murder after his father died on October 6, 1988 without ever regaining consciousness.
By then, Seymour Tankleff’s business partner, Jerry Steuerman, had vanished.
In late spring 1990, Tankleff went on trial in Suffolk County District Court. Among the witnesses was Steuerman, who had been in the Tankleff home for a poker game and was the last to leave. After the crime, Steuerman withdrew money from a joint bank account with Tankleff, fled to California, adopted an alias and shaved his beard.
Eventually, Steuerman resurfaced and was called as a witness at the trial. He said that he had fled out of fear that he would be blamed. He testified, “I did not do this.”
The cornerstone of the prosecution case was Tankleff’s unsigned confession. On June 28, 1990, after a 13-week trial, Tankleff was convicted of both murders.
On October 23, 1990, he was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.
The conviction was upheld by the Appellate Division New York State Supreme Court in December 1993 by a vote of 3 to 2. The dissenting judges said there was insufficient evidence to convict him.
Over the next 10 years, Tankleff obtained pro bono legal assistance and numerous appeals were filed in state and federal courts. Although he continued to lose, attorneys and investigators began assembling what they hoped would be a critical mass of evidence of his innocence.
In 2003, a private investigator tracked down Glenn Harris, who gave a sworn statement that he had driven two hit men, Joe Creedon and Peter Kent, to and from the Tankleff residence on the night of the crime. Harris said he did so at the behest of Steuerman. At a hearing in July 2004, Suffolk County Judge Stephen Braslow declined to grant Harris immunity from prosecution and so Harris invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and his testimony was not heard.
Over the next two years, more evidence was unearthed that began to corroborate Harris’s account.
Another witness, Karlene Kovacs, said Creedon told her that he was involved. She said Creedon told her that he and another man hid in the bushes behind the Tankleff house, ran to avoid being caught and had to get rid of their bloody clothes.
Meanwhile, evidence surfaced that McCready, the detective who obtained the alleged confession from Tankleff, had come under investigation for perjury.  Further, the lead prosecutor in the case against Tankleff had a business relationship with Steuerman prior to the murders.
Eventually, the defense assembled more than 20 witnesses to paint a picture of that Steuerman orchestrated the murders.
One piece of new evidence was a bloody imprint on a sheet in Arlene Tankleff’s bedroom that appeared to be from a knife. No matching knife was found, suggesting that someone other than Martin Tankleff had taken it.
In addition, two witnesses  came forward to say that Detective McCready had been seen together with Steuerman prior to the murders. Other evidence showed that McCready, had violated police department rules by showing crime-scene photographs to unauthorized persons.
But on March 17, 2006, another petition for a new trial was denied following a hearing.
On December 18, 2007, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court in Brooklyn unanimously overturned the convictions, ruling that if a jury heard the new evidence, it would probably acquit Tankleff.
Tankleff was released on December 27, 2007. The charges were dismissed on July 22, 2008.
In March 2009, Tankleff filed a federal civil wrongful conviction lawsuit against the State of New York and the Suffolk County police department and several officers, including McCready. In January 2014, the State of New York settled for $3.375 million. in 2018, Suffolk County settled for $10 million.
In 2014, Tankleff graduated from Touro Law Center and subsequently passed the New York bar exam. He was sworn in to practice law in New York in February 2020.
Of course putting an innocent 17 year old boy in prison for 17 years is no big deal to some cops and prosecutors.  This could be a case of corruption by the Suffolk County DA and Detective McCready. [Note: The DA Tom Spota, who was the DA when they opposed Tankleff’s post conviction motions, is not the current DA.  He is currently awaiting to be sentenced in his federal case.]

Of course no charges were brought against them, and prosecutors in Suffolk County had no desire to investigate whether the business partner had a role in the killing.

The DA and the Detective seems to have conspired to put an innocent boy in prison while covering up for the killers, who they were associated with.

Detective James McCready, a real criminal?

Here is a little about a man who is at least an incompetent nincompoop and more likely a stone cold hardened criminal. He wears a badge which makes it OK.

Suffolk County detective James McCready wrote Marty’s unsigned, recanted “confession.”

Retrieved Jerry Steuerman, Seymour Tankleff’s indebted business partner, after Steuerman faked his own death and fled to California.

Testified at Marty’s original trial that he had no prior relationship with Steuerman.

In 2004 hearings in Suffolk County court, a restaurant owner testified he saw McCready and Steuerman together in the bagel store prior to the year of the Tankleff murders and that McCready told him he did construction work for Steuerman.

Two years after Marty’s conviction, opened a bar with the husband of Marty’s half-sister, who ended up receiving more than the stipend she would have received from the trust if Marty had not been convicted.

Was not in line to catch the case on the morning of the murder and did not live near the scene of the crime, the Tankleff residence.

Responded to the scene of the crime, dressed in a suit, within 19 minutes of getting paged.

Cited by the State Investigation Commission (SIC) for perjury in a previous murder case.

Arrested and tried in 1991 for brutal assault of a bar patron and acquitted in a non-jury trial.

In both the SIC investigation and the assault case, his lawyer was Thomas Spota, the current Suffolk County District Attorney.

Three people have told Marty’s defense team that McCready was paid by the Steurmans or Creedon either to protect their drug business or in connection with the Tankleff murders, including Creedon’s son, who testified to it under oath.

McCready Reportedly Says Creedon was Paid $50K to “Do the Murder”

The book on the Marty Tankleff case–“A Criminal Injustice” by Richard Firstman and Jay Salpeter–claims that Det. James McCready reportedly said on an unaired portion of the 2006 ‘Dr. Phil’ show on Marty’s case.

According to the New York Times and Newsday, during a taping of the show McCready was asked if it was true that Joey “Guns” Creedon paid him $100,000 to keep the investigation from focusing on Creedon, as alleged by Creedon’s sonNewsday reports:

“The book includes a portion of a telephone interview with the lead detective in the original case, K. James McCready, from a 2006 episode of the ‘Dr. Phil’ show that never aired. In it, McCready was asked whether it was true that Joseph Creedon – who witnesses claimed was a hired hit man – paid him $100,000 for his silence. ‘No that’s not true,’ McCready replied, according to the book. ‘And if it were true, that means he lost money, I mean he only got paid fifty thousand to do the murder.'”

McCready told Newsday that the allegation that he made the statement is a lie.


About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • There was not enough evidence for a conviction. Marty sure was a heavy sleeper…..

    Frank, ever ponder the similarities between this criminal case and the O.J. Simpson case?

    It hit me while reading this article. It’s worth pondering.

    I don’t believe Marty killed his parents. I do believe OJ killed Nicole and Goldman.

    Nobody heard OJ kill two adults and Marty slept through the murder of two adults in his parents’ home.

    Personally, I believe Marty, being a teenager, panicked and hid somewhere. My theory explains a lot.

    BTW: Great story!

  • Victim impact statements were taken in abundance and this creep feels he was not afforded proper justice? I’m very thankful to the prosecution for keeping Keith Raniere from preying on anyone any further!

  • Based on so many victim impact statements, and no witnesses from the defense, and lack of remorse, this promises to be an interesting appeal.

  • That’s a really compelling story. But Raniere is not innocent just by proxy of hiring a once wrongly-convicted man.

    Knowing Vanguard, that’s what he hopes. The two cases will be conflated in the hate bias media.

    He is wrong. Again.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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