TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man who spent more than two decades in prison before he was exonerated of rape and paid more than $1 million has been charged with attempted murder.
Alan Jerome Crotzer, 51, is accused of shooting into a car that he was driving alongside Sunday in Tallahassee, wounding Antoine Davis in his arm and leg.
Davis told police Crotzer threatened him a couple of months ago after they had an argument over a CD he sold Davis’ girlfriend, and he saw Crotzer’s car when he was leaving a Best Buy store.
Crotzer pulled up to him and fired through an open passenger window while both cars were going about 40 miles per hour, police said. Police found Crotzer based on a description of his car and he was arrested Monday after Davis picked him out of a police lineup.
Crotzer spent more than 24 years in prison after he was convicted of rape in 1982. Crotzer was convicted of robbing a Tampa family and kidnapping and raping a 38-year-old woman and a 12-year-old girl at gunpoint.
Crotzer said he was nowhere near the scene and witnesses corroborated that, but he had a previous robbery conviction when he was 17 and a witness picked him out of a lineup. He was sentenced to 130 years in prison.
Years later, another man convicted in the robbery told police that Crotzer wasn’t with them that night and revealed the real rapist. DNA testing along with the other evidence then convinced prosecutors that Crotzer wasn’t involved. He was released in 2006.
In 2008, Gov. Charlie Crist pardoned Crotzer for stealing beer in 1979 when he was 18 and bringing marijuana into prison in 1991. Crotzer said then he had turned his life around.
“I’m not that monster they try to make me be. I am a new person,” he told The Associated Press in 2008.
Crotzer is on the board of directors of the Innocence Project of Florida and has made public appearances speaking out on those who are wrongfully convicted by the state.
The executive director of the organization would not answer any questions about Crotzer and directed all questions to his attorney. A call to Crotzer’s attorney was not immediately returned. Crotzer was still in jail Tuesday.
The Florida Legislature in 2008 approved a bill that paid Crotzer $1.25 million for his time spent in prison. The legislation also guaranteed Crotzer free tuition so he could attend any Florida college or university.
The measure was a top priority of then-Senate President Ken Pruitt, but other top legislators supported the measure including then-House Speaker Marco Rubio. One of the co-sponsors is Adam Hasner, currently a candidate for Congress.
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