updated 1/2/2008 4:57:00 PM ET 2008-01-02T21:57:00

A man who spent 17 years behind bars for killing his parents will not face a second trial after his conviction was overturned by an appeals court, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

"It is no longer possible to reasonably assert that the case ... would be successful," Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

He said his office will formally drop the indictment against Martin Tankleff in the 1988 deaths of Arlene and Seymour Tankleff at a Jan. 18 court conference.

Spota also announced he will ask Gov. Eliot Spitzer to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate claims made by Tankleff and his defense attorneys that Seymour Tankleff's business associate or others may have been involved in the killings.

Tankleff, 36, was convicted in 1990 of killing his parents in their Long Island home. He was released after serving 17 years of a 50-year sentence after a New York appeals court found that new evidence uncovered by private investigators suggested the Tankleffs may have been killed in a business dispute.

The panel said it was "probable" that a new jury would render a different verdict, if given a chance to reconsider all evidence now available. It did not find, however, that Tankleff was innocent and instead directed that a new trial be held.

Tankleff was released last week on $1 million bail and immediately started working on what he expected would be his upcoming trial.

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