GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Marty Tankleff, who spent 17 years in prison for killing his parents, says he’s glad he and the state have settled his false-imprisonment lawsuit for nearly $3.4 million.
“This, to me, is more of an indication of vindication that I am actually innocent,” he told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera in his first interview since the settlement was reached.
Tankleff was convicted in the 1988 killings of his parents in their eastern Long Island home. He was freed in 2007 after an appeals court found key evidence in his trial was overlooked.
Since then, he’s been making up for lost time.
“I’m married,” Tankleff said. “I have a kid. I have a job. I’m going to law school.”
“So (the settlement money) doesn’t really change my life to that much of a degree,” said Tankleff, who works as a paralegal. “I still come to work every day, and I’m still going to school next week.”
He is scheduled to graduate from law school this spring. He wants to specialize in criminal defense and help others who are wrongfully convicted. He also intends to be a public policy advocate to get laws changed so that all confessions of suspects are electronically recorded.
Tankleff — who had just turned 17 when he was arrested for the murder of his adoptive parents, Seymour and Arlene — is continuing to pursue a federal lawsuit against Suffolk County for false imprisonment.
Victor Muglia, a juror in the murder trial, said he’s glad Tankleff is cashing in.
“From the very beginning, I always thought that Marty did not have the proper lawyer defending him,” Muglia told Rivera in a phone interview from his home in Florida. “God bless him.”
The settlement hinged on new evidence that two people killed Tankleff’s parents, Tankleff’s attorney, Bruce Barket, said Monday.
Barket said there is plenty that points to a business partner of Tankleff’s father. But Suffolk County prosecutors have not gone after anyone else.
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