A hold no punches styled documentary hosted by Jerry Palace. He visit’s the bowels of the most dangerous penal institutions in America. As host of the show he interviews those who may never see the light of day as a free person. Jerry offers the possibility of hope to the convicted, or closure to the victim’s family. In all, 12 episodes were completed.
In 1988, Seymour Tankleff and his wife Arlene were found brutally murdered inside their suburban Long Island, N.Y. home. Within hours, the police got the Tankleffs' 16-year-old son, Marty, to confess to the killings. He was arrested, convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
But some family members and friends maintain that Marty could not possibly have been responsible. They point to Seymour Tankleff's business partner who mysteriously fled town a week after the murders, yet was never considered a suspect. And they question whether Marty was even capable of such a horrific act.
Court TV's Jerry Palace investigated the crime and raises provocative questions about the case. Marty tells Palace that the confession he signed was "tricked" out of him -- that he was coerced into signing. As Palace interviews others involved in the case, he discovers people close to Marty, including his stepsister, have conflicting views about his guilt. Palace also tracks down the homicide detective who got Marty to confess to the murders.
Is Marty Tankleff the Wrong Man?
Click here for background, photos, audio, and documents related to the case.
"THE WRONG MAN? A MOTHER'S CRY"
Former NYPD Detective Jerry Palace Returns as Lead Investigator of Network's Ongoing "The Wrong Man" Series As It Delves Into the Mysterious Murder of Macon, Georgia Child, Taylor Fargason
New York, NY - Did a Georgia woman kill her six-year-old daughter or is the wrong person serving a jail term for the crime? A one-hour Court TV investigation raises troubling new questions about the case in The Wrong Man?® A Mother's Cry, Court TV commissioned retired New York Police Detective Jerry Palace and his partner Reggie Britt to retrace the heartbreaking crime, pursuing leads, examining evidence and speaking with a number of the key players, including Teresa Fargason, who is currently serving a life sentence in a Georgia prison. Fargason vehemently maintains her innocence, and several others involved in the investigation concur. This fascinating one-hour documentary is part of Court TV's continuing series of "Wrong Man" documentary investigations, which air as part of the network's signature series, "The Investigators"
Teresa Fargason's life changed forever on a Sunday evening in June, 1991, when her daughter Taylor disappeared from a Kroger grocery store around 9:00 p.m. Police would later discover the girl's body by the side of a road about six miles from the store. After Fargason failed a lie detector test, police became suspicious of her story. One year after the murder, Fargason was arrested and, after refusing to accept a plea bargain, she was convicted of her daughter's murder and sentenced to life. Fargason has been incarcerated since 1993 and has already been denied parole once, in late 2000.
In the documentary, which is the only in-depth, comprehensive look at this tragic case done to date, Palace and Britt journey to the prison and speak with Fargason. She points out several key pieces of evidence that did not make it into her trial - evidence she believes could have lead to a very different outcome. Fargason reveals that a local police officer by the name of James Glover had apparently been following her and her daughter, and on one occasion he had even given Taylor a teddy bear, without her mother's knowledge, when the two were stopped at a car wash.
Step by step, Palace and Britt take viewers through the investigation, speaking with the District Attorney who prosecuted the case, Fargason's lawyer, a forensic expert, two witnesses who said they had seen a little girl in the store that evening but were not called to testify for Fargason's defense. They also speak with a lawyer, Lynne Finney, who had represented former police officer James Glover and who appears to have evidence that could aid Fargason's case. And, in an extremely explosive on camera exchange, Palace and Britt come face-to-face with Glover, confronting him about his behavior and the murder of Taylor Fargason.
Palace, who was uncertain about Fargason's innocence until he had conducted his own hands-on investigation for the show now says, "In our opinion, the investigation was nothing more than an orchestrated witch-hunt intent on gathering enough circumstantial evidence to prosecute and convict Teresa at any cost. We think Teresa got a raw deal and should have never been convicted, let alone arrested in the first place."
"What happened to me is irrelevant," says Fargason, "but the person that did this needs to be punished. That's what I want to see done. That's what gets me through every day."
The Wrong Man?® A Mother's Cry is the fifth in a series of special presentations that explore cases in which doubt has been cast on the investigations, the suspects and the facts surrounding the criminal cases. The producers conduct fresh interviews with law enforcement officials and family members and, when possible, track down the person who may have been responsible for the crime.
The documentary is produced by Michael Schlossman for Court TV. Anthony Horn, Vice President, Court TV Productions, serves as the Executive Producer for Court TV. Ed Hersh is Senior VP, Documentaries and Specials for Court TV. The Wrong Man?® series was created by Award-winning documentarian Joe Berlinger.
The Wrong Man?: Edward Lee Elmore
In 1982 Edward Lee Elmore, a black man, was arrested, tried and convicted of murdering 75-year-old white woman, Dorothy Edwards, in rural South Carolina. Today, Elmore, 41, is the longest-serving death row inmate in the state. But was he guilty of the crime? "The Wrong Man" team talks to the prosecutor, the daughter of Edwards and other key players in the case, as they explore the possible innocence of Elmore. Follow step-by-step, as the they untangle the events that led to Elmore’s arrest.
The Wrong Man? Stuart Heaton
Nine years after a jury found Stuart Heaton guilty of the grisly murder of 16-year-old Krystal Nabb, Court TV returned to the scene of the crime to question if the wrong man might be behind bars. This documentary follows New York City Detective Jerry Palace and Investigative Journalist Scott Anderson to Ramsey, Illinois where they investigate the arrest, trial and conviction of Heaton.
On July 23, 1991 at 4 p.m, Curtis Nabb entered his familyâs trailer home and found the phone ripped from the wall, blood all over the trailer, sewing scissors on the kitchen counter--and the body of his 16 year-old sister, Krystal. The scissors had been used to stab Krystal 81 times, leaving her dead on the kitchen floor. Police questioned neighbors and learned a white pick-up truck was parked outside the trailer around the time of the murder. Under interrogation, Curtis singled out Stuart Heaton as the truckâs owner. At the time of his arrest, Heaton and his wife were expecting their first child.
"The Wrong Man?" reveals a tangle of overlooked evidence and a botched investigation that omitted questioning another potential suspect. The documentary conducts fresh interviews with family members and potential subjects, and carefully reviews physical evidence, including DNA.
The Wrong Man? Henry "Fred" Chichester
The night after Fred Chichester threw a raucous party at his house, his neighbor, Maryann Meola, was found dead in her home. Despite the lack of physical evidence, Chichester was convicted of Meola's murder. However, compelling DNA evidence was never analyzed and in no way links Chichester to the crime. Was sloppy detective work and a botched investigation the real crime in this case?