A New York man who spent more than two decades behind bars for a murder he did not commit, describes the effects of prison and the struggle to adapt to the modern world two months after his release in an interview with the New York Post. David Ranta was convicted of killing a beloved Brooklyn Rabbi in a foiled 1990 robbery and was cleared in March.
“I feel like I’ve been dropped onto another planet — everything has changed, and everything that I’ve known is gone,’’ said Ranta.
“The first time I ate at a restaurant and used their restroom, I couldn’t figure out how to use the sink; it was one of those automatic motion-sensor faucets,’’ Ranta told The Post. “I had to get someone to show me what to do, and I felt embarrassed.”
Out of prison for just one day, Ranta’s celebration of freedom came to a halt when he suffered a heart attack.
“The doctors have said that the stress of being innocent and imprisoned for decades, combined with not being able to eat a fresh fruit or vegetable for 22 years, can do that to a heart,’’ Ranta said.
Today, Ranta says he is doing much better and will file a lawsuit against the city claiming malicious prosecution and wrongful imprisonment. He is looking toward the future.
“It’s going to take a long time for me to feel normal again, if I even remember what normal is,’’ he said.
“Once I’m fully on my feet, I’d like to work with other falsely convicted individuals to help them transition into society,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of people like me out there.”