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By MELISSA GRACE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Friday, January 4th 2008, 4:00 AM
Martin Tankleff with Karlene Kovacs, who said in 1994 she knows who killed his parents. Watts/News
Martin Tankleff with Karlene Kovacs, who said in 1994 she knows who killed his parents.
They'd never met before, but Martin Tankleff Thursday hugged Karlene Kovacs - a stranger who came forward more than a decade ago to say she knew who really killed his parents.
Karlene Kovacs and Tankleff choked back tears as they met in Tankleff's lawyers' office. Kovacs, 43, said that she'd gotten a confession straight from the killer's mouth. "Joe Creedon told me he did it," said Kovacs, of St. James, L.I.
Since she came forward in 1994, Tankleff's defense team has tried to prove that Seymour and Arlene Tankleff were slain in 1988 on the orders of Seymour's business partner, Jerry Steuerman. They say Steuerman hired Creedon as the killer. Neither man has been charged with a crime.
Tankleff, 36, was released from prison last week based on new evidence that Kovacs first helped bring to light.
Kovacs said she was at an Easter dinner when she, her then-boyfriend and Creedon stepped outside to smoke a joint.
"Joe then proceeded to brag about what he did," Kovacs said.
Kovacs went straight to Tankleff's lawyers.
"I believe in myself again," Kovacs said of being vindicated 14 years after coming forward to defend a man she'd never met.
Tankleff, wearing a blue shirt, a big smile and a "Free Marty" pin, gently rubbed Kovacs' back and then smiled from ear to ear.