David Ranta, released from prison last Thursday after serving 23 years in prison in a high-profile wrongful murder conviction, suffered a heart attack Friday night. According to this CNN report (here), as of Sunday night, Ranta’s conditioned was stabilized. He is being treated in cardiac intensive care unit at a New York hospital.
Ranta was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1990 shooting of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger in New York City. The case against Ranta unraveled when a witness admitted that he was coached and would not otherwise have identified Ranta from the police lineup.
The case was investigated by the King’s County District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit as well as the counsel to the defendant, the office of Pierre Sussman, Esq. In light of new evidence—that included alleged official misconduct, use of an unreliable and compensated snitch, and false identification—both agreed that Ranta’s conviction should be vacated and the District Attorney moved to dismiss the indictment.
Sussman said that Ranta’s health had suffered by the “accumulated trauma of being wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for 23 years,” and he expressed appreciation for well wishes that have been received from around the world.