Man freed in rabbi killing suffers heart attack

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A New York City man who spent 23 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit suffered a serious heart attack Friday -- a day after being freed, his lawyer said.

David Ranta, 58, is being treated at an undisclosed New York hospital and is expected to survive, according to his lawyer, Pierre Sussman.

Ranta, who is in stable condition in cardiac intensive care, will be laid up for at least a week, Sussman said Saturday in a statement.


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"The accumulated trauma of being falsely convicted and incarcerated for 23 years, coupled with the intense emotions experienced surrounding his release, has had a profound impact on his health," Sussman said.

"He is presently resting, with his family by his bedside. We will continue to ensure that David receives the required, ongoing medical attention he needs," the lawyer said.

Ranta was freed Thursday after a Brooklyn judge threw out his conviction for murdering Brooklyn Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger in 1990. Werzberger was killed by a fleeing robber who was never caught.

Ranta's trial, which ended in a conviction, included falsified witness testimony and other problems. Prosecutors recently agreed to drop the charges against him.

Saturday, Sussman said doctors discovered one of Ranta's arteries was completely blocked and another partially blocked.

"David wants me to express appreciation to all of his supporters and well-wishers, not only from New York, but from around the world," Sussman said.

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