David Ranta, wrongly convicted of murder, to receive $6.4M after 23 years in prison

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David Ranta serves 23 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. (CNN)

NEW YORK (PIX11) — It is a story straight from the movie pages.

David Ranta, who was allegedly framed by New York detective, Louis Scarcella served 23 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.

Ranta was charged with second-degree murder in the 1991 killing of a Brooklyn rabbi, Chaskel Werzberger. Werzberger was fatally shot in the head by a man fleeing a miscalculated robbery, who wanted to use his station wagon as a getaway car.

Mr. Scarcella alleged that Ranta had admitted to the crime while being handcuffed; but the confession was never proven.

There was however a lead in the investigation, when Scarcella received an anonymous phone call that a robber by the name of Joseph Astin was responsible for the rabbi’s murder. But when Astin died in an accident shortly after, Scarcella never followed suit. Years later, Mr. Astin’s widow came forward and confirmed that her husband was the real killer. But that statement alone was not enough to free Mr. Ranta.

The case began to unravel in 2011, when the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office took a closer look, and determined that detectives made several careless mistakes throughout the investigation.

On Thursday, the city finally settled the case with Ranta, awarding him $6.4 million.

“No amount of money can compensate David for the 23 years that were taken away from him,” said his attorney, Pierre Sussman. “This settlement will allow him the stability to get his life back together. He was happy and relieved because it’s providing stability for him to take care of his health and take care of his family.”

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