January 23, 2014 marks 8 years since Alan Crotzer was released from prison for a rape, kidnapping, and robbery he did not commit. In 1981, three men forced entry into a Tampa home, kidnapped two females from the home, drove away, raped both of them and left them tied to a tree. One of the robbery victims was able to identify Alan Crotzer and Douglas James. James had been positively identified as the man who borrowed the car used in the crime. After three different identification attempts, all three suspects were identified, Douglas James, Alan Crotzer, and James’ brother.
Through the identification and trial, Alan Crotzer continued to stand by his story that he was with his girlfriend on the night of the crime. In 1982, Crotzer was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to 130 years in prison, despite his alibi. Over 20 years later, in 2003, DNA was used to identify that Crotzer was not in fact the man who raped the victims. After this event, Douglas James then changed his story; Alan Crotzer was not with him when he committed the crime.
Consequently, on January 23, 2006, the conviction was overturned and Alan Crotzer was a free man after spending 24.5 years in prison. Since then, Crotzer has become a face for the wrongfully convicted. He has spoken the words, “I am a new person”, and has dedicated the last 8 years to making sure his story is told, hoping it can be prevented for others in the future. Congrats, Alan!