Tankleff Witness Is Hurt in Jail Fight
By Samuel Bruchey
Staff Writer

November 4, 2003

The convicted burglar whose recent affidavit has led defense attorneys to try to overturn the 1990 conviction of Martin Tankleff for murdering his parents was injured in an altercation Friday in the Suffolk County jail, jail officials and a private investigator said.

Glenn Harris, who was recently transferred to the Riverhead facility, got into a fight with another inmate in a common area, said Jay Salpeter, an investigator for Tankleff's defense team, and jail officials.

Neither Salpeter of Great Neck nor jail officials said they knew what provoked the altercation.

Salpeter said Harris was handcuffed and thrown into an elevator shaft wall injuring his head and neck

Jail officials said they had not been told of this account and had no information about it.

Later, at the medical unit, Harris, who was transferred from Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining for a hearing on his statement, grew agitated after he felt he hadn't received prompt medical attention. According to Salpeter and jail officials, Harris threw a chair at a nurse and was handcuffed and shackled again by correction officers. While being restrained, Harris complained his thumb had been bent back, Salpeter said.

He was taken to Central Suffolk Hospital in Riverhead, then returned to the jail with a bruised thumb, Undersheriff Donald Sullivan said.

Harris has since filed a complaint alleging abusive treatment by correction officers, Salpeter said. That complaint is being investigated by the jail's Internal Affairs unit, Sullivan said.

In his sworn statement, Harris said he drove two men to and from the Tankleff home in Belle Terre on the night of the killings in 1988. He said he waited until the two emerged, looking "nervous" and "winded." One of the men, Harris said, later burned his clothes

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