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Alan Crotzer, man wrongly imprisoned for 24 years, arrested again

6:38 PM, Jul 31, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - In 2006, in a Tampa courtroom, the shackles came off Alan Crotzer and he was a free man. 

Crotzer had spent nearly a quarter of a century in prison, wrongly convicted of robbery and two rapes before DNA evidence set him free.

Crotzer, who grew up in St. Pete, came home to barbeques with friends and family, and strangers touched by his story helped out.

A local realtor paid his rent and worked to buy him a house.

Dr. Scott Plantz gave Crotzer a car and other aid. Reached by phone today, Plantz told 10 News he was saddened by the news of Crotzer's arrest.

"Alan seemed to be a very nice man and always meant well," said Plantz. "Of course a sad day for society that this event happened in the first place, and put Alan in this position that he spent all those years in jail--and now sadly, that may happen again."

On Monday, Tallahassee police arrested Crotzer and he's facing attempted murder charges.

According to court records, a man told police that on Sunday Crotzer shot at him from another car, while he was driving down a Tallahassee road. Antoine Davis was hit in the arm and the leg. Davis told police the shooting may have stemmed from a dispute he had with Crotzer several months ago over a CD.

In 2008, state lawmakers voted to pay Crotzer more than a million dollars for the time he spent in prison. At the time, Crotzer told reporters, "Ain't no compensation for what they done to me, but I'm not bitter."

Crotzer is on the board of The Innocence Project of Florida, the group that worked years to secure his release. Executive Director Seth Miller released this statement today:

"We recognize both the seriousness of the charges, and the importance of respecting Mr. Crotzer's presumption of innocence and right to due process. It would be inappropriate at this early stage to comment further."

At the time of his arrest Crotzer was living in Tallahassee. If he's convicted of attempted murder, like he did in the past, he could once again be counting off his prison time.

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