3/21/13

David Ranta Freed after Serving 23 Years

David Ranta in 1991
Twenty-three years after the now-58-year-old David Ranta was sentenced to 37 1/2 years to life in the shooting death of prominent Satmar Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office has dismissed the indictment.

Ranta was convicted in 1991 in the high-profile case.  All of his post-conviction appeals were denied.

The Brooklyn DA's Conviction Integrity Unit, established in 2011, reviewed Ranta's case based on an application by Ranta's original defense attorney, Michael Baum, who had newly-discovered information about a key witness ID.

Unit chief John O'Mara said the DA's office joined the defense in a motion to vacate the conviction and dismiss the indictment based on finding that there was insufficient evidence of guilt.

Ranta is the third defendant freed by the Conviction Integrity Unit. Fourteen other convictions remain under review.

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