(NEW YORK) — David Ranta has suffered a massive heart attack just two days after being exonerated of murder and leaving prison for the first time in 23 years, his attorney told ABC News.
Lawyer Pierre Sussman said that Ranta, 58, was being treated in an New York hospital after suffering a severe heart attack Friday night. He did not provide further details.
Ranta was freed from prison Thursday after serving 23 years of a 37.5 year sentence for the murder of Brooklyn rabbi Chaskel Werzberger in 1990.
Ranta left a Brooklyn courtroom Thursday after a judge said he was free to go and his family cheered. On the way out he told reporters that the sensation of walking freely out of the courthouse was “overwhelming.”
“I said from the beginning,” Ranta said. “I had nothing to do with this case.” When asked what he was going to do next, he responded, “Get the hell out of here.”
Ranta had been spending time with his family after his release. Sussman declined to provide details or to identify the hospital to protect Ranta’s privacy.
The rabbi was killed after a botched jewelry heist and Ranta was convicted of the killing despite his protests of innocence.
Over the last two decades, the case against Ranta began to crumble. In 2011 an eyewitness, who was a child at the time of the murder, came forward to say he had been coached to pick Ranta out of a line up. A subsequent investigation by the Conviction Integrity Unit of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office determined Ranta’s case had been mishandled by police.
On Thursday, Ranta’s family, including siblings and his pregnant daughter who was just 2 when he was arrested, were on hand when Judge Miriam Cyrulnik cleared his name. Ranta’s parents died while he was in prison.
“It’s clear that the effects of this case have been devastating,” Cyrulnik said. “To say I’m sorry for what you have endured would be an understatement.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Kait Richmond and Holly Yan, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Laura Smith-Spark, CNN