Reversal in 1988 Murders

Perseverance and Chance Led to Reversal in ’88 Murders

New York Times

July 6, 2008


IF Karlene Kovacs had not attended a small family dinner on Easter in 1991, Martin H. Tankleff probably would not have become a free man in 2007.

“I would most likely still be in prison today,” Mr. Tankleff said in a recent interview.

What Ms. Kovacs recalled hearing on that Easter Sunday set off an improbable chain of events. They ultimately led — 16 years later — an appellate court to overturn Mr. Tankleff’s 1990 conviction for the murders of his parents. Mr. Tankleff marvels at the many chance encounters and coincidences that eventually freed him in December. “Throughout the case there have been all these things,” he said.

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