48 Hours

Season 2007 Episode 12

Fight for the Truth

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Aired Saturday 10:00 PM Jan 26, 2008 on CBS
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Fight for the Truth
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Twenty years ago Seymour and Arlene Tankleff were murdered. Seventeen years ago their teenage son, Marty Tankleff, was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. Five years ago, 48 Hours began reporting on this fascinating story and now, that story is about to change. The crime took place in the Tankleffs' Long Island home. With no sign of forced entry, cops immediately brought in a then-17-year-old Marty for questioning during which he confessed to stabbing and beating his parents, after being told that his father had temporarily awakened from his coma and fingered him. Although he never signed this confession and immediately recanted, detectives arrested and charged Tankleff with murder. His friends and family have been fighting for his freedom ever since. Throughout the years, legal experts have speculated that Tankleff's confession was coerced and that he was the victim of a cop who rushed to judgment and refused to reconsider his conclusions and pursue other leads, even after the crime-scene evidence raised doubts. And it seems that what was once speculation may now be proved true thanks to new evidence and new witnesses, including one who came forward after watching a 48 Hours update. Tankleff also got some high profile support from award winning actor James Gandolfini, who became convinced Tankleff was innocent, and visited Marty in prison. In late 2007, Marty Tankleff got the news he and his supporters had been dreaming of: his murder conviction was overturned and he was released. But as Tankleff adjusts to his newfound freedom, the question remains - will it last? Tankleff speaks exclusively with 48 Hours Mystery correspondent Erin Moriarty in his only television interview.moreless
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