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Falsley Accused of Murder, Man Released After 23 Years Has Heart Attack After Two Days of Freedom

David Ranta
NY Times, photo by Michael Powell

David Ranta spent 23 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He was accused of the 1991 murder of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger after a failed jewelry heist the year before and was sentenced to 37 1/2 years in prison. Mr. Ranta, 58, was released Wednesday of last week after prosecutors admitted evidence against him has fallen apart over the years.

The district attorney’s office, after re-examining the case, uncovered serious flaws in the case when they discovered a 13-year-old boy (at that time) came forward and said he had been coached by detectives to identify Renta in a lineup. Two days after Renta was released from prison, he had a heart attack while spending time with his family at a hotel. He does take medication for his blood pressure but never showed any signs of a bad heart, but doctors found one of his arteries was completely blocked and another was half way closed. Mr. Rinta is in the hospital waiting on a second surgery on his heart and he’s hoping to be up and around soon to enjoy his new found freedom.


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