Wrongful conviction of Martin Tankleff over parents’ murders on The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas

Investigation Discovery tonight premieres new series The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas — with an investigation into the case of Martin Tankleff, who spent 17 years in jail after being wrongfully convicted of his parents’ murders.

Long Island resident Tankleff was sentenced in 1990 to a double-life sentence over the deaths of his wealthy parents, Seymour and Arlene Tankleff, who died in 1988 when he was just 17 years old.

But after more than 17 years behind bars, new evidence from a witness came to light which led to his conviction being overturned and him being acquitted.

Tonight on The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas, the witness, Karlene Kovacs, publicly reveals her identity for the first time and opens up to Salinas about what compelled her to give her testimony.

Meanwhile, Tankleff talks to Salinas about his side of the story, from the moment he found his parents dead to when he was released from prison.

Watch an exclusive clip from the episode below as Tankleff’s half sister, Shari Mistretta, recalls the events that occurred as Tankleff was arrested over his parents’ deaths.

Tankleff also talks to Salinas about how his relationship with Shari soured after she found out what was in his parents’ wills — which gave pretty much everything to him.

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In 2014 Tankleff was awarded $3.375million from the state after settling his wrongful conviction lawsuit.

Today he works as a campaigner for other people who say they’ve been wrongfully convicted, and is an advocate for a change in the law which would force detectives to record confessions.

The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas — produced by Lucky 8 TV and Scott Sternberg Productions — aims to get to the bottom of fascinating stories that made national headlines.


The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas airs Mondays at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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Anthony Stipelcovich
Anthony Stipelcovich
1 year ago

Marty Tankleff killed his adoptive parents.

1 year ago

I don’t believe he did !! What would he stand to gain by killing them. Seems this detective was a bit eager to get him charged and even blocked this young man’s family or attorney from getting to him and why ? Had he really done it evidence would have proved it not some lame coerced confession that an under age child gave. Remember he was only 17 at the time. I NEVER ONCE BELIEVED HE’D DONE IT ! And another thing not everyone grieves the same. The stupid Aunt saying she never saw him cry. Give me a break my husband died and I hid my grief from my children.

Aine Walsh
Aine Walsh
1 year ago

Ok, Shari!

Aine Walsh
Aine Walsh
1 year ago

Of course he didn’t do it, and his sister is an absolutely pathetic excuse for a human being! Spoiled rotten, hated her step mother and angry because Marty was left more money than she was. Zero evidence connects Marty to the murder, this was a massive miscarriage of justice and a heartbreaking one at that.

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