Criminal Justice

After case is re-examined, man imprisoned for 23 years is released and has a heart attack

A prisoner who was freed last week in a re-examination of his homicide case is now in a hospital bed after suffering a heart attack the second day after his release.

David Ranta, 58, was freed on Thursday after serving 23 years in prison, report the New York Times, the New York Daily News and ABC News. After his release, he ate “a manly meal” of steak and “probably everything else on the menu,” his sister told the Daily News on Friday.

On Friday evening, Ranta experienced pain in his back and shoulders and felt very hot, his lawyer, Pierre Sussman, told the Times. He was taken to a New York hospital, where doctors found a complete blockage of one artery and a half blockage of another.

Ranta was convicted in 1991 of killing a prominent rabbi after a botched diamond robbery. The Brooklyn District Attorneys’ office had concluded the case against Ranta was flawed in a re-examination by its Conviction Integrity Unit.

A witness who was only 13 at the time later said he was coached by police to “pick the guy with the big nose” out of a lineup. After Ranta’s conviction, a woman testified that her husband had confessed to the shooting before dying in a car crash. A judge in a 1996 postconviction hearing had found the woman’s statements were not credible, the Daily News says.

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