Despite the fact that Jerry Steuerman owed Seymour Tankleff half a million dollars; and that he was the last guest to leave a poker game at the Tankleff home in the early morning of the murders; and that while Seymour lay in a coma Steuerman faked his own death, changed his appearance, took on an alias and fled to California; and that Joey "Guns" Creedon said Steuerman wanted him to cut out Marty Tankleff's tongue; and that someone testified that he overheard Steuerman angrily telling someone, not long after the Tankleff murders, that he had killed two people, to this day Suffolk County law enforcement has never considered Steuerman a suspect in the Tankleff murders.
As Det. James McCready himself said regarding Steuerman to retired Judge Stuart Namm, "The problem he created for us was not that we
had to prove that he's now the murderer, okay, the problem he created
for us was that we had to do ten times the work to prove that he wasn't
the murderer." We'll take his word on that.
You would have to work hard indeed to ignore the obvious evidence pointing to Steurman from the get-go in this case. Practically the first word Marty spoke to McCready at the crime scene was "Steuerman," describing his father's estranged business partner and how he had been menacing the family that summer. After disregarding this lead given to him by the victims' son, McCready showed zero interest in a startling piece of corroborating evidence for the suspicion Marty voiced about Steuerman: a loan-payment-demand letter, from Seymour to Steuerman, lying right on top of Seymour's desk, so close to where Seymour fell that it was sprayed with his blood.
McCready inspected the crime scene, forensics dusted and bagged what they needed, the yellow tape was removed, and there the letter sat on the victim's desk until Marty's cousin, Ron Falbee, saw it when he was allowed to enter the house.
The document didn't even make it into the record until the new evidence hearings that began in 2004. At the original trial, despite all that was known about Steuerman's motive, opportunity and erratic behavior, Suffolk County Judge Alfred Tisch did not allow Marty to submit the letter into evidence, because there was no proof Steuerman had received it.
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