A New York man was set free after 23 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. The case was called a “miscarriage of justice” as David Ranta, 58, sat in prison for almost a quarter of a century for a crime he had nothing at all to do with, as he has been stating all along, according to Reuters on Thursday, March 21, 2013.
Ranta was told by the judge he was free to go and he hugged his family members, including his daughter who was just an infant when Ranta went to prison. Ranta was convicted of killing Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger on Feb. 8, 1990 and stealing his car in an effort to flee a botched diamond courier robbery.
Ranta said to the media, “As I said in the beginning, I had nothing to do with this case.” The evidence from this decades old case no longer pointed to Ranta's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, according to Assistant District Attorney John O'Mara, the chief of the conviction integrity unit. This case brought outrage to the Hasidic Jewish community in 1990, which had them calling for justice.
Could it be that there was haste in convicting Ranta due to this outrage? The investigation by the conviction integrity unit points to a man who should not have ever gone to jail for this crime. Prosecutors joined Ranta's defense attorney asking the judge to vacate Ranta's conviction “in the interest of justice.”
What Ranta missed in life can never be replaced. How do you tell a man you are sorry that he spent half of his life in prison because a mistake was made? What do you do to make this up to someone whose life was pulled out from beneath him? These cases are not that rare, as folks have spent time in jail for a crime that they didn't commit. While DNA was not mentioned as a factor in Ranta's case, the use of DNA testing has set many an innocent man free in recent history.