Tankleff charges formally dismissed

July 22, 2008 8:26:43 PM PDT
A judge in Riverhead formally dismissed the charges against Martin Tankleff Tuesday morning.State Supreme Court Justice Robert Doyle's largely procedural move makes legal reality the recommendation by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, that charges against Tankleff be dropped in the murder of his parents.

Cuomo took over the Tankleff case in January after an appellate court overturned the conviction in December, in part because of new evidence pointing to the other potential suspects.

In his decision, Doyle wrote that he was "well aware of both the seriousness and circumstances of the offenses and the extent of harm caused by those offenses."

"Two lives have been lost and the seriousness of these crimes and the losses to both the victims and their families can never be diminished," wrote Doyle.

But " there is some question as to whether the quantity and quality of evidence would be sufficient to establish [the] defendant's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt given the passage of time and changes in the law."

Doyle added that Tankleff "does not appear to be a threat to any member of the community."

Tankleff spent 17 years in prison. He says he is relieved the case against him is finally over.