Hope grows for Alan Crotzer
Alan Crotzer, holding hands with his wife Quebella, listens as Rev. James B. Sampson of the Florida Baptist General Convention talks about his case Tuesday afternoon in Tallahassee. | Watch the video
In a sign of solidarity and hope, members of the Florida Baptist General Convention and two state lawmakers stood with Alan Crotzer and urged passage of a claims bill to pay him $1.25-million for two decades he served in prison for a crime DNA evidence proved he did not commit. (The claims bill died last year.)
"We can never provide Alan Crotzer with complete justice. How do you provide complete justice to a man who was deprived of 24 years, six months and 13 days of his life for a crime he never committed? But at least we can restore a measure of justice to this man," Sen. Dave Aronberg, who is sponsoring the legislation along with Rep. Luis Garcia.
Garcia, who said he the failure to get the bill passed last session eclipsed any of his accomplishments, pledged to do whatever it takes, including setting up camp outside Gov. Crist's office. "If there is justice in this House, this will be one of the first bills to be heard."
"Alan Crotzer should be given the chance to seek adequate support for his wife and family and to assist in rebuilding his life," said the Rev. R.B. Holmes of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, where Crotzer attends.
Crotzer, 46, was convicted in 1981 of a double rape in Hillsborough County. DNA evidence cleared him. The former St. Petersburg resident now lives in Tallahassee with his new wife and her two teenagers. He works for a landscaping business.
Crotzer said he would use the money to get an education and support his family. "It's going to help me build a new life," he said.