Freed N.Y. inmate has heart attack

Sunday, March 24, 2013 - 2:23pm

David Ranta, who was released from prison a day earlier because of a wrongful conviction, suffered a heart attack Friday evening, according to his lawyer.

"My office is happy to report that he's been stabilized and is being treated in cardiac intensive care at a metropolitan hospital," Pierre Sussman said in a statement released Saturday.

Ranta's second-degree murder conviction stemmed from the 1990 killing of a rabbi during a diamond heist. A witness two decades later came forward and said he had been coached to identify Ranta from a police lineup. After an investigation, prosecutors recommended that Ranta's conviction be tossed out.

"Mr. Ranta, to say that I'm sorry for what you have endured would be an understatement and grossly inadequate, but I say it to you anyway," Judge Miriam Cyrulnik said during an emotional hearing Thursday that left even the judge wiping her eyes.

Hours after Ranta's release from prison, Sussman told CNN that his client intends to file a civil rights lawsuit against the city of New York and the New York Police Department. He said the accumulated trauma of being wrongfully convicted and incarcerated for 23 years had an immense effect on Ranta's health.

"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 Saturday.

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CNN's Mary Snow, Aaron Cooper, Raelyn Johnson, Laura Ly and Jordana Ossad contributed to this report.

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