- < 01.12.08, NY Times Editorial: True and Untrue Confessions
- 01.06.08, Newsday op-ed: Marty Tankleff was the key to his release >
By SELIM ALGAR
January 7, 2008 -- A limelight-loving ex-con whom authorities are eyeing in connection with the murder of Martin Tankleff's parents has parlayed his infamy into bodyguarding and debt-collection gigs, The Post has learned.
Career criminal Joseph "Joey Guns" Creedon revels in the suspicion that he strangled, bludgeoned and stabbed Arlene and Seymour Tankleff in their Belle Terre, LI, home in 1988, several sources said.
"He loves the fame," said Patricia Piacente, who hired Creedon to protect her from her estranged husband late last year. "He watches the Tankleff stuff on TV. He reads all the papers. He walks around like he's a star."
Martin Tankleff's lawyers believe Creedon and another man, Glenn Harris, slaughtered the couple at the bidding of Seymour Tankleff's former business partner, Jerry Steuerman.
They claim Steuerman contracted the hit because he owed Seymour hundreds of thousands of dollars stemming from their joint ownership of a Long Island bagel store.
The Tankleffs' son, Martin, 36, had spent more than half his life in jail for the killings before being freed two weeks ago.
He earned his freedom after his lawyers produced a parade of witnesses who claim Creedon admitted to the killings in private while denying involvement publicly.
Sources say Creedon has basked in his notoriety.
Piacente said Creedon's reputation as an enforcer led her to hire him last September and that he moved into her mansion in tony Head of the Harbor, LI.
Piacente said she hired Creedon - a petty criminal who has done jail time - to help her deal with her estranged husband, Keith Skapinski. Creedon and her husband wound up in a bloody fight last September.
Skapinksi's lawyer, Musa Ghanayem, said Creedon assaulted his client with a belt and a hammer and that Skapinski slashed him with a boxcutter in self-defense.
Prosecutors chose to charge Skapinski with attempted murder. That rap was later pleaded down to a misdemeanor charge.
Another source close to Creedon said he now performs bodyguarding duties for a suspected Selden drug dealer and continues to freelance as a debt collector.
"He still thinks he's untouchable," he said. "He walks around town with his head up. He answers his phone 'Joey G' for Joey Guns. If he's worried about getting caught up for Tankleff, he ain't showing it."
But the heat on Creedon is intensifying. Suffolk County DA Thomas Spota has requested a special prosecutor to investigate Creedon and his associates for any role they may have had in the Tankleff killings.
Spota has not taken an official stand on Tankleff's guilt or innocence but has said he does not believe the version of the crime offered by his legal team.