Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man who was wrongly imprisoned 24 years arrested

ST. PETERSBURG — Alan Crotzer, the man who spent 24 years in prison before being exonerated for two rapes he did not commit, was arrested Wednesday night after police say he was caught having sex with a prostitute.

A caller told police at about 10 p.m. that people were possibly negotiating a drug deal in an alley behind 2518 Fifth St. S, police said. When officers showed up, they found Crotzer in a black Dodge Avenger with a woman, Laquisha Hatten, 23, police said.

Crotzer, a former St. Petersburg resident, told officers he was on his way home to Tallahassee from Miami and had stopped in St. Petersburg to see some people he knew in the area. He said he had known Hatten for a couple of years, said St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz.

"Hatten told him she was having some problems so they went into the alley to talk about it. While they were talking about her problems, she began performing oral sex on him," Puetz said.

Crotzer told officers no money had been exchanged.

He asked the arresting officers to call his wife. Crotzer's wife, in turn, called her brother, who lives in St. Petersburg, to pick up Crotzer's car. When the brother didn't arrive, officers locked the car and left it to be retrieved later, Puetz said.

Both Crotzer and Hatten were charged with lewd and lascivious behavior. Crotzer was released from Pinellas County Jail Thursday morning after paying $250 bail.

Hatten remained in jail Thursday morning. Hatten was arrested on a prostitution charge Sunday. On Monday, she was convicted on that charge and sentenced to two days in jail, but was credited for time served and released, court records show. Hatten has previous convictions on cocaine possession, retail theft, residential burglary and resisting arrest without violence.

DNA evidence led to the release of Crotzer, 49, from prison in 2006. He was originally convicted in 1982 of raping two women during a Tampa robbery. The state compensated him with $1.25 million after his release.

Crotzer is employed by the state Department of Juvenile Justice. The department's web page lists him as an "intervention specialist" who is "encouraging youth to choose their actions and friends wisely."

Frank Penela, a spokesman for the DJJ, said Crotzer had been in Miami for a work-related speaking engagement.

"He had always wanted to do work with troubled youth — to get them on the straight and narrow. He's been doing that for us for over a year now," Penela said.

Penela said Crotzer makes a "very minimal" salary of about $10,000 per year for his services.

Times staff writer Dominick Tao contributed to this report.

Man who was wrongly imprisoned 24 years arrested 09/09/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 10, 2010 9:41am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 7 creepy podcasts to get you in the Halloween spirit


    Halloween is all about scary stories. The holiday itself is based on a compilation of creepy tales from history going back thousands of years.

    Television network AMC recently debuted an immersive new podcast, Deadly Manners.
  2. Police: Before a shot was fired after Spencer's UF speech, men gave Nazi salutes and chanted about Hitler


    Gainesville police have arrested three men they say are responsible for the shooting after Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida on Thursday.

    Texas men Tyler Tenbrink, 28; William Henry Fears, 30; and Colton Gene Fears, 28 all face attempted homicide charges for a shooting following Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida. (Gainesville police)
  3. Koetter: QB Jameis Winston will start Sunday vs. Bills


    After five days of uncertainty, Jameis Winston will be starting at quarterback on Sunday as the Bucs play at Buffalo, coach Dirk Koetter announced Friday afternoon.

    Bucs QB Jameis Winston, shown against the Patriots two weeks ago, will start Sunday at Buffalo after being sidelined with a shoulder injury last week. Dirk Koetter announced that he was starting after watching him throw at practice Friday.
  4. Florida's 'Turtle God' is ailing. What happens to his remarkable collection of specimens?


    OVIEDO — In a small town about five miles from the University of Central Florida there stands a two-story yellow house built in the 1920s. A modest sign mounted on the wall next to the front door says, "Chelonian Research Institute."

    The main room at the Chelonian Institute in Oviedo Florida. - Peter Pritchard sounds British but he's lived in Florida for five decades, running the Chelonian Institute in Oviedo Florida, which holds the world's largest collection of turtle specimens (some of them bones or shells, some of them live turtles or tortoises). Time magazine has declared him a hero of the planet and other turtle experts say he is to turtles what Dian Fossey was to gorillas. He's been instrumental in helping other species, too, including the Florida panther. He has traveled the world studying turtles.
  5. Photos: Maroon 5's PJ Morton slides into Tampa for an electric set at Crowbar


    While the rest of Tampa was off partying with Bruno Mars at Amalie Arena, a much smaller group of fans were getting down with Maroon 5 at Crowbar.

    PJ Morton performed at Crowbar in Tampa on Oct. 19, 2017.