Denying Involvement
No role in '88 slayings, LI man says
By Robin Topping

October 4, 2003

A man implicated by two people in the 1988 murders of a Belle Terre couple, whose son is now in prison for killing them, on Friday denied through his attorney that he had anything to do with the slayings.

Harold Shapiro of Selden, an attorney representing Joseph Creedon, said his client denies any part in the murders of Arlene and Seymour Tankleff, despite claims from two people who told investigators Creedon was involved.

Earlier this week, attorneys for the Tankleffs' son, Martin, who was convicted of murdering his parents, offered those claims as new evidence in the case. They are seeking to set aside his conviction.

Shapiro said Creedon had been "extremely upset" at the public release of sworn statements from the two who implicate him in the murders. The statements are in court papers seeking to exonerate Tankleff, who has served 13 years of a 50-years-to-life sentence.

"He's very adamant that he didn't have anything to do with the incident," said Shapiro, who noted that Creedon had given authorities his own affidavit after Tankleff's 1990 trial and is available to authorities.

Creedon said in the affidavit that a business associate of Seymour Tankleff, Jerry Steuerman, had asked him - through his son Todd Steuerman- to cut out Martin Tankleff's tongue because Tankleff had been publicly accusing Steuerman of the murders. The Steuermans could not be reached for comment.

The court papers, filed this week in Riverhead by Garden City attorney Bruce Barket, contained an affidavit in which Glenn Harris, an inmate at Sing Sing state prison who was Creedon's co-defendant in a burglary case, said he drove Creedon and another man to the Tankleff home on the night of the murders.

Harris said the two emerged from the house 10 minutes later looking "nervous" and "winded" and later one of them burned his clothes.

The court papers also contained another affidavit from 1991, from Karlene Kovacs of St. James, who said she heard Creedon bragging about the murders at a party.

Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said he would investigate the matter. A judge must decide whether the new evidence merits a hearing.

Shapiro declined to comment on why Creedon would be implicated by two unrelated people. But he said Creedon is "very upset because he's the one who came forward and pointed them [police] in a certain direction, and now it's being turned around so the finger is pointed at him." He said Creedon believes Tankleff is innocent.

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