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Andrea Harner
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July 7, 2008

Knowing who killed a loved one is justice by Philip Lerman, NewsDay

Marty Tenkleff is finally freed after being wrongfully convicted and locked up for 17 years. Here's an Op-Ed by Philip Lerman, former co-executive producer of "America's Most Wanted.

The last sound my parents heard was the glass smashing against the wall, and the slam of the front door.

My stepsister Jackie, in a schizophrenia-fueled rage, had picked up the nearest object and flung it across the room before running off again, as she had so many times before; most likely to hop the train into Manhattan, to hang out on the streets until she cooled down, or got hungry, or both, at which time she'd come back home.

Only this time, she never came back.

That was 30 years ago; her disappearance and, as we came to believe, her murder (although her body was never found), remain unsolved.

And so it was with very mixed feelings that I received the news this week that the district attorney will not retry Marty Tankleff for the murder of his parents. My friends in New York all feel very relieved - proud, even - that a miscarriage of justice has been righted (though some, like the detectives involved in the case, feel otherwise). There is a fragile sense of order that is shattered, like that glass against the wall, when we hear that an innocent man sits behind bars for 17 years. And while we can never give Tankleff back those years, we at least feel a sense of fairness, of order restored, when that awful wrong is undone.

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