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Crotzer, 'Face of the Wrongfully Convicted', in Court Again

By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro; James Buechele Email
By: Eyewitness News; Julie Montanaro; James Buechele Email

By Julie Montanaro
January 29, 2013

Alan Crotzer was exonerated after spending more than 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Now he's fighting new charges of attempted murder and today the judge set bond at $100,000.

Alan Crotzer was wearing jailhouse blues and asking the judge to let him out on bond.

He's been behind bars since July 2012 for a shooting on Apalachee Parkway.

Prosecutors claim he fired 9 unprovoked shots into another man's truck and then dsiposed of the gun.

"He didn't provide the gun to authorities to say in some way, hey, I fired in self defense. He hid those weapons. It's unknown where they are because Mr. Crotzer disposed of them," prosecutor Dave Marsey argued in court.

Prosecutors didn't fight Crotzer's bond request, but they called Crotzer a "danger to the community" and asked for a whopping $150-thousand dollar bond.

Yet Crotzer's attorneys claim he fired in self defense.
They denie that Crotzer is a danger or a flight risk. They pointed to his home, his girlfriend and his work with the both the Innocence Project and at risk kids.

The judge ultimately did set a bond.

"Count one bond is set at $75,000. Count 2 $25,000"

The judge ordered Crotzer to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, turn over any and all guns, and have no contact with the man he's accused of shooting.

"He's not going to be able to put up $100,000 in cash, he'll have to go through a bondsman," defense attorney Tom Powell said after the hearing, "but we're going to start working on it today but given the seriousness of the charges I don't think that's an unreasonable bond."

Crotzer is accused of attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle.

Under Florida's 10-20-life law, prosecutors say he could face 25 years to life if convicted.

Crotzer will argue he's entitled to immunity from prosecution under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law at a hearing next month.


By: Julie Montanaro
January 29, 2013

Judge Caloca Johnson set bond at $100,000. She ordered Crotzer to wear a GPS monitor, have no firearms and have no contact with the victim.


By: Julie Montanaro
January 29, 2013

The state has asked the judge to set bond for Alan Crotzer at a minimum of $150,000.

The prosecutor called Alan Crotzer "a danger to the community."

Prosecutor Dave Marsey claims Crotzer fired at least nine shots in a "hail of gunfire," fled the scene, removed bullet casings from his car and hid the guns involved. "Where they are now, only he knows," Marsey said.

Crotzer's attorney Tom Powell argues Crotzer fired in self defense. He says Crotzer is not a danger or a flight risk. Powell suggested a bond no higher than $100,000.


UPDATED Dec 5, 2012 6 p.m. by James Buechele

Alan Crotzer is now using the Stand Your Ground defense to try to avoid prosecution in the July shooting.

Crotzer faces charges of attempted first-degree murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle during the altercation with Antoine Davis while driving on Apalachee Parkway. His attorney, Tom Powell, filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss the case citing Florida's Stand Your Ground Law.

"It fits the facts," said Powell. "That's why I think it's appropriate in this case."

Powell states in the motion filed Tuesday that "Davis initiated the violence by first shooting multiple times at [Crotzer] with a firearm. At least one projectile entered [Crotzer's] vehicle barely missing him and leaving a bullet hole on the interior of [Crotzer's] driver's side door. [Crotzer responded only in self-defense.

"That individual has the right to defend himself by using force including deadly force."

Davis does not face any criminal charges in the July 29 shooting.

The state attorney's office said they do not comment on pending litigation. A date has not been set for a hearing on the motion to dismiss the case.


UPDATED July 31, 2012- 7pm by Julie Montanaro

A man wrongfully convicted of rape and freed from prison is back behind bars.

Alan Crotzer is accused of attempted murder for opening fire on a car in traffic on Apalachee Parkway.

The victim says it all started outside the Best Buy. He noticed a black Avenger following him first onto Magnolia Drive and then on to Apalachee Parkway.

The victim says just blocks from the capitol, the man behind the wheel pulled alongside him and started firing. The victim was hit twice. Once in the arm and once in the leg.

The man under arrest for it is 51 year old Alan Crotzer.

"Freedom is priceless. Money could never ever replace freedom. So my freedom is everything," Crotzer said in April 2008 soon after the legislature approved his claims bill.

Crotzer is the same man who was exonerated by DNA and set free after spending 24 years in prison.

He's the same man who recently received $1.25 million in compensation from the state and has been lobbying young people to steer clear of trouble ever since.

Crotzer was arrested at his lawyer's office Monday night.

"He has preached to that and donated his time and own financial resources, trying to keep kids from getting caught up in that sort of thing," defense attorney Tom Powell said. "Frankly it strikes me as completely bizarre on its face. Certainly inconsistent with the Alan I know."

Mark Schlakman works alongside Crotzer as a board member at the Florida Innocence Project.

"We're stunned," Schlakman said. "We recognize the seriousness of the charges and also underscore the presumption of innocence and Mr. Crotzer's right to due process."

According to police reports, the victim fled to a home on Howard Avenue after the shooting. No one answered our knock at the door, but neighbors tell us police towed away his car. Police reports say it had eight bullet holes in it.

Police say the victim didn't know Crotzer's name, but picked him out of a photo line up.

He told police Crotzer pulled a gun on him months earlier in a dispute over a CD he sold to Crotzer's girlfriend.

At his first appearance this morning, the judge ordered Crotzer held without bond.

Crotzer's attorney says this arrest should not have any impact on Crotzer's compensation payments.

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UPDATED July 31, 2012- 4:30pm by Julie Montanaro

Alan Crotzer's attorney Tom Powell says he was shocked by Crotzer's arrest and says it is "totally inconsistent with the Alan Crotzer I know."

Powell says Crotzer came to his law office last night after learning police had shown up at his home with an arrest warrant. Powell says the two were discussing Crotzer turning himself in when the fugitive task force showed up at his office.

Powell says the allegation that all this stemmed from an argument over a CD strikes him as "totally bizarre."

Powell is on his way to the jail to talk to Crotzer about the allegations.

He says he will enter a not guilty plea.
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UPDATED July 31, 2012- 3PM by Julie Montanaro

Alan Crotzer has been a member of the board at the Innocence Project of Florida since 2007.

Executive Director Seth Miller provided this statement in response to Crotzer's arrest:

"Innocence Project of Florida has learned that exoneree and Board Member Alan Crotzer was arrested last night by the Tallahassee Police Department on charges including attempted murder. He has retained Tallahassee attorney Thomas Powell as private legal counsel. 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 and we refer all inquiries to his private counsel at this time."

Crotzer's attorney Tom Powell, has not yet responded to our request for comment.

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UPDATED July 31, 2012- NOON by Julie Montanaro

Alan Crotzer is accused of pulling up beside another car on Apalachee Parkway and opening fire.

Tallahassee police report that Crotzer fired repeatedly out of the window of his car.

Police reports indicate the victim was shot twice, once in the arm and once in the leg.

The victim said he and Crotzer had a disagreement months ago over a CD he sold to Crotzer's girlfriend.

The victim told police that Crotzer followed him from Best Buy, onto the parkway and fired about eight shots while the cars where traveling side by side at about 40 miles per hour.

Crotzer was arrested last night and this morning a judge ruled he be held without bond.

Just four years ago, Crotzer was awarded 1.25 million dollars by the Florida legislature as compensation for his wrongful conviction on rape charges and the 24 years he spent in prison for it. DNA exonerated him of that crime.

Seth Miller with the Florida Innocence Project says they recognize the seriousness of the charges against Crotzer and stress it is also important to respect Crotzer's presumption of innocence.

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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

July 31, 2012 - 9:38 am EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida man who successfully won $1.25 million for being wrongfully jailed is now being accused of attempted murder.

Tallahassee police late Monday arrested 51-year-old Alan Jerome Crotzer.

Crotzer spent more than 24 years in prison on charges of burglary, robbery and rape. He was freed after DNA evidence showed that he had not committed the crime.

The Florida Legislature in 2008 approved a bill that paid Crotzer $1.25 million for his time spent in prison. The measure also guaranteed Crotzer free tuition to any college or university in the state.

Crotzer is on the board of directors of the Innocence Project of Florida.

The executive director of the group would not comment on Crotzer's arrest and referred all questions to his attorney.


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