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More than two decades after he declared himself innocent, wrongfully convicted David Ranta was freed Thursday in the killing of a beloved Brooklyn rabbi.
Carrying a purple laundry bag with all his belongings inside, Ranta, 58, smiled widely at waiting family members who hadn’t seen him outside jail in 23 years.
Among them was his pregnant daughter, just an infant when he was convicted in the 1990 slaying of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Ranta said, after the judge ordered his release. “Right now, I feel like I’m underwater, swimming.”
His conviction crumbled after a year-long reinvestigation revealed case detectives coached witnesses, did not keep notes and gave incentives to felons who provided information.
“To say that I’m sorry for what you have endured will be an understatement and grossly inadequate, but I say it to you anyway,” Supreme Court Justice Miriam Cyrulnik told Ranta. “Sir, you are a free man.”
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