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A man who was freed after serving 23 years in prison for a murder he did not commit suffered a serious heart attack a day after his release.
By Admins (from 29/05/2013 @ 04:04:32, in en - Global Observatory, read 1201 times)

David Ranta was rushed to a New York hospital Friday night where it was discovered that one of his arteries was blocked and another was partially closed.

Ranta's attorney, Pierre Sussman, told the New York Times that his client received a stent and will have to undergo another surgical procedure.

Unemployed drug addict Ranta was sentenced to 37-and-a-half-years in prison after being found guilty of the killing of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger in Williamsburg on February 8, 1990.

Ranta was released Thursday after a judge overturned his conviction, which hinged on a false testimony and a line-up that was falsified by police.

The newly freed man was staying in a hotel with his family following his release as he was easing into his new life after spending nearly a quarter of a century in a maximum security prison.

On Friday night, the 58-year-old man felt pain in his back and shoulders and became very hot, according to Sussman.

At first, Ranta's loved ones thought he was having a panic attack, but soon realized that it was more serious than that.
‘The toll that his years in prison have taken on David is great,’ added Mr. Sussman.

A child witness, whose evidence saw a man locked away for 23 years for the murder of a New York rabbi he didn't commit, has spoken of how police told him to identify the wrongly accused man.

Menachem Lieberman was 13 when he was shown a line-up of suspects accused of the murder of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger in a diamond robbery that went wrong.

His decision to reverse his statement saw wrongly convicted David Ranta released from a maximum security jail yesterday after 23 years behind bars.

Ranta was set free after a judge overturned his conviction that hinged on a falsified witness testimony and a line up that was manipulated by police.

Now living in Montreal, the 36-year-old last night spoke of how police told him to select Ranta saying he should 'choose the one with the big nose'.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN Lieberman said: 'As I was walking into the room to the line-up, they told me I should pick the guy with the biggest nose. I was too young back then to realize that this was a set-up. I never saw a line up before - I thought it was part of the process'.

Unemployed drug addict Ranta was sentenced to 37-and-a-half-years in prison after being found guilty of the killing of Rabbi Chaskel in Williamsburg on February 8, 1990.

That day a man attempted to rob a diamond courier and when it went wrong hijacked Rabbi Chaskel's car - shooting him in the forehead and leaving him for dead.

The murder rattled the Hasidic Jewish community in Brooklyn and prompted calls for swift justice for the perpetrator.

Then just a schoolboy, Lieberman was one of the witnesses to the man's escape and his positive ID of Ranta saw him get locked away in 1991.

Over the years he realized that his selection had been influenced and in 2011 - 20 years on - he decided he had to share those suspicions.

'As years went by, I remembered someone had told me,' he told Cooper. 'The more and more I saw on the news innocent people getting let free - I started to think back to the trial I was involved in,' he explained.

'I didn't tell anyone in the world but as I grew older and saw more and more of these wrongful convictions it really bothered me. Two years ago I decided I had to get it off my chest.

'An innocent man was in jail and is now set free - the sad part is the killer never met justice. I feel I was set up as a kid and I just wanted to do my part for justice.'  

The detective in the case Louis Scarcella still denies any wrongdoing and says there were no attempts to frame Ranta.

However, other problems were discovered when the Conviction Integrity Unit looked into the case.

Paperwork was found to be missing and other leads didn't seem to be investigated. 

One key suspect was cocaine addict Joseph Astin. His wife testified in 1996 he had admitted the murder to her on the day but he died two months later.

In all, this convinced the court it was time to release 58-year-old Ranta, a father-of-three.

'Sir, you are free to go,' state Supreme Court Justice Miriam Cyrulnik told Ranta at a Brooklyn courthouse yesterday.

Relatives, including his youngest daughter who was an infant when he was jailed, erupted in tears and shouts of joy.

Prosecutors had joined Ranta's defense attorney, Pierre Sussman, in asking Cyrulnik to vacate Ranta's conviction 'in the interest of justice.'

'The evidence no longer establishes the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,' said Assistant District Attorney John O'Mara, the chief of the conviction integrity unit.

He left the court carrying the belongings he had kept in his prison cell.

Asked by reporters outside what he would do, Ranta said, 'Get the hell out of here.'

'I'm overwhelmed. I feel like I'm under water, swimming. As I said from the beginning, I had nothing to do with this case.'
His family were overcome with joy.

'I just want to get him in my hands and I'll be happy,' said his son, David Ranta Jr., 36, to the New York Post.

Rabbi Chaskel was a much-loved member of his Brooklyn community.
Thousands of people attended his funeral, and the then Mayor David Dinkins offered a $10,000 reward for any information that led to an arrest.

When Ranta was arrested the police car carrying him to jail was surrounded with people chanting, 'Death penalty!'.

Despite the prosecution and the defense agreeing that conviction was not safe relatives of Werzberger were shocked that Ranta was released.

'For this to happen 23 years later is mind-boggling,' said Isaac Abraham to Fox News.

Source: dailymail.co.uk - Authors: KATIE DAVIES and SNEJANA FARBEROV

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