Man once paid $1.25 million for wrongful conviction, now accused of attempted murderby John Kennedy | July 31st, 2012
A Tallahassee man paid $1.25 million by the state after serving 24 years for a crime he didn’t do was behind bars again Tuesday, accused of attempted murder.
Alan Crotzer, 51, is charged with shooting as many as eight bullets into a car riding next to him on a busy city street. The driver of the other car, who had a recent dispute with Crotzer, was wounded in the arm and leg, according to Tallahassee police.
Crotzer was awarded $1.25 million by the Florida Legislature in 2008 after spending 24 years in prison for a double rape. Crotzer, then a St. Petersburg resident, was convicted in 1982 despite weak evidence against him. He was behind bars until DNA evidence exonerated him in 2006.
Lawyers at the Innoncence Project helped free Crotzer, who went on to work for a Tallahassee lawn service and became a sought-after speaker.
Legislation compensating Crotzer was sponsored in the Florida Senate by former Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, now a candidate for Palm Beach County State’s Attorney.
Crotzer’s arrest is the first known, apparent misstep committed by former inmates freed by DNA and later compensated by the state for their wrongful convictions. One of the first high-profile inmates was Wilton Dedge, a Brevard County man who served 22 years in prison for a sexual-assault conviction later overturned by DNA evidence.
Dedge received $2 million from state lawmakers in 2005. But just last spring, the Legislature awarded $1.35 million to another former Brevard man, William Dillon, who was wrongfully convicted of a 1981 murder and spent 27 years in prison.