After spending Christmas day giving his things away to other inmates and saying his goodbyes, yesterday Marty was driven downstate to spend the night in the Suffolk County jail. This morning, he was led through a tunnel and into a packed courtroom, where he was released on bond by Judge Stephen L. Braslow, whose decisions were reversed on appeal last Friday. Applause erupted in the courtroom.
The media was everywhere. ABC alone had three satellite trucks. News helicopters were planned but canceled due to wintry weather.
Marty was led back down into the tunnel, and then outside and into the arms of his family. One by one, he hugged them. Then he made this statement to the media:
It’s great to see all of you. Here. Today. If my arrest and conviction was a nightmare, this is a dream come true.
I want to thank everyone who made this possible.
Jay Salpeter, for reading a letter I sent him one day, and then taking it upon himself to go out and solve this case.
My entire, incredible legal team.
The people who have been getting the truth about my case out through the media and the website.
The witnesses who have come forward just because it was the right thing to do.
The appellate judges whose ruling demonstrates they did a thorough review of the case record and acted accordingly.
All my friends and supporters, in Suffolk County and across the nation and literally around the world, for your interest and for making my fight your fight.
Most of all, my family, who have stood by me from day one right up to this moment.
Remember that while I am innocent, I am still accused by the Suffolk County District Attorney of the murder of my parents, and I am awaiting a possible re-trial. I do hope that I can continue to count on everyone’s support as I defend myself once again.
I always had faith this day would come. I look forward to welcoming in the new year with my family.
Happy New Year!
Marty did not answer questions, but his family did. Crying, his aunt Marianne said, "I was as upset when Marty was convicted as I was when I learned my sister was murdered. Now we can mourn my sister properly, because we haven't been able to for 19 years."
As happy as he was, Marty's cousin Ron Falbee said, "This whole case has been one disappointment after the other. There's a lingering anger in there that an innocent man spent 19 years of his life behind bars. I find that unacceptable."
Then the family and Team Tankleff were off to enjoy a welcome-home lunch at the home of the relatives with whom Marty will be staying for now. The media camped on the lawn seemed hungry for more than a story, as they kept asking what Marty was eating. For the record, there was a splendid buffet from one of Marty's favorite local restaurants featuring shrimp, chicken and assorted salads. There were adult beverages. Someone had already bought Marty a cell phone and programmed a bunch of phone numbers into it. Someone else with a laptop set up an email address for Marty and showed him how to log in. Marty took over the computer and googled the website for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Marty's cousin yelled at him to get the hell off the computer already. Marty was home.
To view Marty's statement as a PDF, click here.