Mr. Ranta was convicted in 1991 of shooting a Hasidic rabbi, Chaskel Werzberger, in the head following the botched robbery of a jewelry courier. He twice appealed his conviction, and each time prosecutors working for the office of the Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, convinced the courts to rule against Mr. Ranta.
No longer. After a yearlong investigation by the Conviction Integrity Unit of the district attorney's office, the prosecutors have joined Mr. Ranta's lawyer, Pierre Sussman, in asking the court to release the prisoner "in the interest of justice." Prosecutors say new evidence creates "a probability that the verdict" in a trial would favor Mr. Ranta.