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March 23, 2013 CBS News
NEW YORK — The man who spent 23 years in prison before being cleared of the 1990 murder of a rabbi suffered a heart attack on his second day of freedom Friday.
An attorney for David Ranta told The New York Times that the former inmate had a serious heart attack Friday night and was being treated at a local hospital.
A judge vacated the conviction of the 58-year-old on Thursday afternoon after a reinvestigation of his case cast serious doubt on evidence used to convict him in the cold-blooded shooting of the Brooklyn rabbi.
“I’m overwhelmed. I feel like I’m under water, swimming. Like I said from the beginning, I had nothing to do with this case,” Ranta said after leaving state court in Brooklyn.
Ranta was found guilty of murdering Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger, who was shot on Feb. 8, 1990 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The murder happened on Clymer Avenue as a suspect tried to rob a diamond courier, who escaped unharmed.
Brooklyn prosecutors had recently concluded that Ranta was innocent in the death of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger, who was killed by a bandit fleeing a botched robbery.
Werzberger was getting into his car when the suspect then grabbed him, shot him in the forehead, jumped in Werzberger’s car and drove away.
Though no physical evidence linked Ranta to the crime, a jury convicted him based on witness testimony and circumstantial evidence. Ranta fit the wanted man’s description of being blond and athletic.