Another Trial for Tankleff; Latest on Potentially Toxic Toys

Behind The News
December 21, 2007 1:12:34 PM PST
He confessed to murdering his parents back in 1988 -- but he long-ago recanted that confession and has steadfastedly insisted he's innocent. That has not changed life for Martin Tankleff, convicted in 1990 of murdering his mother and father in their home in Belle Terre, Long Island. He was 17 at the time of the murders, and has been serving a 50-year-to-life sentence.

He has, over the years, come this-close to getting a new trial.

It's never happened.

Until now.

A New York appeals court, citing new evidence that should be heard, has vacated Tankleff's sentence and ordered a new trial.

Our investigative reporter Jim Hoffer has been following this case for years; he has interviewed Tankleff and there's no question when you hear him speak about the crime and about his murdered parents, he is convincing. Tankleff believes his dad's business partner was responsible for the murders; he owed Tankleff's father a lot of money.

Tonight at 11, we'll have the latest in this long-running, dramatic case, and reaction.

Also at 11, so what's up with this holiday season and the economy? Look at the stores and malls, and they seem busy enough. Crowded for the most part. But then we hear reports that sales are down, what, by 10 percent? And we see the anecdotal evidence of some stores and malls staying open round the clock. We know there is and will be the usual crunch of last-minute shoppers, and tonight, Jen Maxfield is out for us once again, surveying the shopping scene.

And if you're interested in what stories and malls are open and when, check out our website. where we've listed nearly every area mall and their hours

And call this what's up, part 2: We know many of you have lost a ton of value in your retirement accounts, what with the stock market having one of its roughest years in the past 10.

And we know the economy is teetering on the brink of -- dare I say the word? -- recession.

And we also know that the credit crunch and mortgage crisis is putting millions of people in the precarious position of possibly losing their homes.

So how in the world do the country's biggest investment banks - which are supposedly reeling from bad mortgages and billions in losses -- justify giving bonus checks that are, on average, 14 percent higher than last year?

Four of the biggest firms are paying out $49 billion in compensation this year -- bonuses generally represent about 60 percent of that.

I'm just sayin'.

We'll also have the latest on a story we reported last night -- that New York-based company's "CSI" Fingerprint Examination Kits that have been pulled from the shelves in Connecticut because one test found the dust inside contained asbestos. Yesterday the company, Planet Toys, said there was NO asbestos found in the tests it conducted. Today, Planet Toys announced a full "stop sale" of the item.

And Tappy Phillips tonight with the story of a couple who had planned to renew their vows, when the husband suddenly got sick and died. They had already given a country club a deposit for the party, but the widow couldn't get it back after her husband died. This - even though she had cancelled the event and the country club had booked the room for another event. The country club was not hurt financially.

Tappy and 7 On Your Side come to the rescue, tonight at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast and Marvell Scott (in for Scott Clark) with the night's sports. I hope you can join us, tonight at 11, after 20/20.

And one final note: this column will be off for the next few days, because of the holidays.

BILL RITTER


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