Wrongly convicted of rape, man gets a lift from community

Wrongly convicted of rape, man gets a lift from community »Play Video
Alan Northrop, who was wrongly convicted of rape, stands in front of a truck that community members pitched in to buy him.

WOODLAND, Wash. – He spent 17 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit. DNA cleared him, but that Ridgefield man lost everything in life because he was wrongly convicted.

But Alan Northrop has gotten help from total strangers who have helped him make a new start. Bob Ford of Bob’s Automotive and others at his auto shop, pitched in to buy Northrop a truck.

“To help him was just the right thing to do,” Ford said.

“That’s just unreal,” Northrop said. “There isn’t very many people that would do that.”

He went to prison in 1993 for a rape he didn’t commit. He and fellow suspect, Larry Davis, were freed 17 years later.

After he was freed, Northrop said he would “Just enjoy life. I mean just get back in the swing of things again.”

Today he says there have been rough times since his release from prison. Like all those who have been exonerated, the prison system simply turned him loose.

“There needs to be a compensation set up for them,” Northrop said. “I’m not talking about just financial, I’m talking about a vehicle, a place to live, some support, something. Not just, “Well, there you go” – no apology, no nothing.”

“Those are your most productive times in life and his were spent in a prison, wrongfully – sad, really said,” Ford said.

That’s why he and his auto shop pitched in. Even so, he thinks it shouldn’t be up to the community but the state and even the prosecutor.

“I’d liked to see him pitch in his whole cotton-pickin’ wage for that whole year,” Ford said. “They took something away from him that he can never be repaid and never be replaced.”

Northrop said in those 17 years in prison he lost watching his kids grow up.

“That sucked, and my mom passing away.”

That’s why Northrop is so touched by people like Ford, who also said if he needed anything for his truck, he’d help him out.

“I’d like to thank each and every one of them over and over again,” Northrop said.

A local woman, prompted by a recent article about Northrop, started this fundraising effort. She helped him get $2,300 in all.