NEW YORK (AP) — David Ranta says he's "overwhelmed" to be out of prison.
He was freed by a judge today after spending more than two decades behind bars for the cold-blooded shooting death of a Brooklyn rabbi.
A reinvestigation of the case cast serious doubt on evidence that was used to convict him.
Ranta told reporters that, as he said from the beginning, he "had nothing to do with this case."
Emotional relatives gathered around him, including a daughter who was an infant at the time of his conviction. She's now pregnant.
Prosecutors had told the judge that they would support a defense motion to vacate the conviction and ask for a dismissal of the indictment. They said they "no longer have sufficient evidence to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."
The case dated to 1990, when a gunman botched an attempt to rob a diamond courier. The man then approached the rabbi's car, shot him in the forehead, pulled him from the vehicle and drove away in it.
A jury found Ranta guilty based on witness testimony and circumstantial evidence. But one of the witnesses later gave a sworn statement saying a police detective had told him to pick Ranta out of a lineup. Other interviews suggested that an alleged accomplice had pinned the shooting on Ranta to save himself.
264-v-32-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent)--A judge has freed a man wrongly convicted of a 1990 murder in New York City. AP correspondent Warren Levinson reports. (21 Mar 2013)
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APPHOTO NYMA104: David Ranta, center, speaks to reporters at Brooklyn Supreme court in New York Thursday, March 21, 2013. Ranta, who spent more than two decades behind bars, was freed by a judge on Thursday after a reinvestigation of his case cast serious doubt on evidence used to convict him in the cold-blooded shooting of a Brooklyn rabbi. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (21 Mar 2013)
<<APPHOTO NYMA104 (03/21/13)>>