This narrative is about two people. two victims of offense. Two people that suffered from circumstance and circumstantial grounds. Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson are these two people. This narrative is about the manner circumstantial grounds inmates and the manner DNA exonerates.
Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson are populating the ultimate human narrative. It is one of mistake. acknowledging it and being redeemed. Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson were populating in Piedmont North Carolina during the offense. Anyone who has lived at that place in the past 20 old ages knows their names. but likely non their full narrative. In 1984. Jennifer Thompson was 22 when a adult male broke into her house and raped her. As the adult male assaulted her. she studied and memorized his face. every bit good as his voice. and everything she could approximately him. Jennifer’s purpose was to last. and when the assault was over. she wanted to set him in prison for the remainder of his life for what he did to her. After Jennifer was treated for her hurts she helped the constabulary draw a composite study of the adult male who raped her.
The Police Department of Alamance County had ne’er seen a victim so composed. so determined and so certain. Just a few hours after her horrifying ordeal. after the emotionless physician swabbed her vagina for seeds samples at the infirmary. Jennifer sat down at the constabulary station with Detective Mike Gauldin. “The first remark I remember her devising was that. “I’m traveling to acquire this cat that did this to me. ” She said. “I took the clip to look at him. I will be able to place him if I’m given an chance. ” Gauldin remembered her stating ( Hansen. 2001 ) . She began combing through exposures. seeking to assist come up with a complex of her raper. The study went out. and tips started pouring in. One of those tips was about Ronald Cotton. Three yearss after the colza. Detective Gauldin called Jennifer in to the constabulary station to make a exposure batting order.
Detective Gauldin lay six exposures down on the tabular array. The Detective said that Jennifer did non instantly place a exposure from the exposure batting order. She took her clip and studied each image carefully. “I can retrieve about experiencing like I was at an SAT trial. You know. where you start contracting down your picks. You can dismiss A and B. ” Jennifer said. She picked out Ronald Cotton’s exposure. Cotton heard the intelligence from his mother’s fellow. He told me. “Ron. the constabulary are looking for you. ” And I said. “For what? ” And he told me. “For colza. ” And I said. “I haven’t committed such a offense like that. ” Cotton said ( Finkelstein. 2009 ) . Ronald Cotton gave Detective Gauldin a really elaborate history of where he was. and who he was with that dark. As it turned out the statement that Ronald Cotton had given to the Detective was false. He subsequently realized that he had gotten his weekends mixed up. By this point it was excessively late.
His honest error gave them more ground to believe that he was lying. and if he was lying about his whereabouts on the dark of the colza. what else was he lying approximately? The twenty-four hours he went back to the constabulary station to unclutter his name. was August 1. 1984. He did non acquire the opportunity. He was arrested. Ronald Cotton was non traveling to acquire to go forth. He was acquiring locked up. and yearss subsequently he was put in a physical batting order. “I’m figure five. ” Cotton remembered. “I was really frightened. nervous. I was so nervous. I was trembling. I felt my organic structure merely shaking” ( Finkelstein. 2009 ) . A hebdomad subsequently. Jennifer sat across a tabular array from six work forces that were keeping numbered cards. She picked No. 5. And with the words. “That’s my raper. Detective Gauldin. ” she changed another’s being every bit good as her ain forever.
On August 1. 1984. Ronald Cotton was arrested for the colza that had been committed against Jennifer Thompson. In a week-long test. the jury heard about Cotton’s faulty alibi. his vesture that matched Thompson description. and a piece of froth found on her floor that seemed to come from one of his places. And most powerful. they had heard from Jennifer Thompson. In tribunal. when she was asked if she recognized her raper. she had named Ronald Cotton. “She called my name. pointed a finger. And that’s all. that’s all it takes. it seemed like. ” Cotton said. “It felt like person forcing a knife through me” ( Hansen. 2001 ) . Her testimony was highly powerful. Even Ronald Cotton could experience the jury sympathize with her. He himself even sympathized for her. In soundless panic. he watched as the system labeled him a raper. He was merely 22 old ages old. and the universe that he had foreseen and dreamed about. all his programs were over now for a offense he did non commit.
The Prosecutor’s grounds at test was all circumstantial grounds ; nevertheless they had an eyewitness. Jennifer Thompson. The Defense Team had Ronald Cotton’s alibi. which was supported by household members. They tried to let the jury to hear the grounds about the 2nd colza victim that dark. but the jury was non allowed to hear that grounds. or to hear that the 2nd victim failed to pick Cotton out of exposures that the constabulary had showed to her. every bit good as the constabulary batting order. The prosecution based its instance on several points and used circumstantial grounds to obtain their strong belief. These included ; photo designation by one of the victims. constabularies lineup designation made by one of the victims. a torch in Cotton’s place resembled the one used by the attacker and gum elastic from Cotton’s tennis shoe was consistent with gum elastic found at one of the offense scenes. “It took the jury merely 40 proceedingss to make a finding of fact: guilty on all counts.
“He was sentenced to life and 50 old ages. That was when Jennifer Thompson realized the justness system worked. Ronald Cotton was handcuffed. shackled. and taken to North Carolina’s Central Prison. He was merely 22 old ages old. “You know they say grown work forces don’t call. but it’s a prevarication you know. I grabbed my pillow many times and hugged it. wishing I was embracing my ma. my pa. sister. brother. Wish it didn’t have to be this manner. ” said Ronald Cotton ( Finkelstein. 2009 ) . On Jan. 17. 1985. Ronald Cotton was sentenced to life in prison. Ronald Cotton was convicted by a jury of his equals of one count of colza and one count of burglary. As Ronald Cotton was lead off to prison he said. “I say the truth will come to light and the Lord knows I am an guiltless adult male. Someday. someplace. the truth is traveling to come out in my instance. ” While he was in prison. Cotton spent his yearss and darks composing letters to attorneies. newspapers. and to anyone who would listen to him.
He would make anything to acquire a new test. Ronald Cotton tried to believe what his male parent kept stating him – which was. “that someday justness would prevail” . Then it happened. One twenty-four hours as he watched a new inmate being brought in. he had a unusual feeling come over him. He wanted to cognize more about him. who he was. where he came from. so Cotton approached him. “I said. ‘Excuse me. You look familiar. Where are you from? ” He told Cotton. “I’m from Burlington. ” Cotton told him. “I am excessively. ” I told him that. “You sort of resembling the drawing of a suspect in a offense in which I’m falsely imprisoned for. Did you commit this offense? ” And he told me. “no. I did non. ” remembers Cotton ( Finkelstein. 2009 ) . Cotton understood instantly why he felt the manner he did upon seeing the adult male for the first clip.
He thought of the composite drawing when he saw the inmate. The inmate’s name was Bobby Poole. and he was functioning back-to-back life sentences for a series of barbarous colzas. He besides started working in the prison kitchen excessively. “The stewards were naming me Poole alternatively of Cotton. ” Cotton said. Peoples were invariably misidentifying the two work forces for each other. During many of the old ages he spent in prison. Cotton really knew who the existent raper was. The two bore a dramatic physical resemblance to one another. and to the constabulary study of Thompson’s aggressor. While in prison a fellow inmate heard Poole traveling about boasting to other inmates that Cotton was making some of his clip for a colza that he had committed. Finally an inmate told Cotton that he’d heard Bobby Poole admit to ravishing Jennifer Thompson and the other adult female that dark. Ronald Cotton was in prison for this colza. a colza that he was convicted of. and the colza that sentenced him to life plus 50 old ages. a colza that he did non commit.
Ronald Cotton was full of fury. He was angry. Cotton hated Poole. He decided to do a blade out of a piece of metal. He was traveling to kill him. Cotton told his pa of his programs and Cotton’s father begged him non to. “Put your religion in God. ” his male parent said. “If you kill Bobby Poole. so you truly do belong behind these bars” ( Finkelstein. 2009 ) . So Cotton finally threw his blade off and his programs to kill Bobby Poole. Cotton’s lawyer filed an entreaty. On entreaty. the North Carolina Supreme Court overturned Cotton’s 1985 strong belief because the 2nd victim had picked another adult male out of the batting order. The test tribunal had non allowed this grounds to be heard by the jury. An entreaties tribunal had ruled in Cotton’s favour saying that grounds associating to the 2nd victim should hold been allowed in the first test. Ronald Cotton had won himself a new test. and his bosom filled with hope. The new test began in November 1987.
Ronald Cotton was retried. this clip for both colzas and burglaries. because the 2nd victim had decided that now Cotton was her attacker. The informants would acquire a expression at Bobby Poole. who was subpoenaed by Cotton’s attorney. They would hear the grounds from prison sources. about him acknowledging to these two offenses. The sources would state their compelling narratives about the colzas that they had heard Poole so proudly boast about. the narrative that the populace did non cognize. They would state the narrative that the existent raper told them. Things the raper would merely hold known. Cotton was excited. even confident. the test began to look as though it was traveling his manner. Finally. Cotton thought. he would be set free. he would be exonerated. and eventually everyone was traveling to see the truth. He was non the raper. However he had forgotten the power of Jennifer Thompson. Back on the base. Jennifer Thompson was every bit confident as of all time. She looked straight at Poole and so she looked straight at Cotton.
He was 15 pess off from her and he could still experience the hate in her bosom that she had for him. Ronald Cotton is the adult male who raped me. she told the jury. It was non Bobby Poole. The Prosecution and defence asked her. Are you certain? And confidently she said. Yes. I’m certain. The 2nd victim was less convincing. but she besides pointed to him. excessively. Cotton’s attorneies called Bobby Poole to the base with Thompson sitting right at that place. It was the minute Cotton had been trusting for. They tried to trip her memory. by leting her to see him up near. by leting her to hear his voice. It was Cottons last hope. but nil ; she was excessively positive that Cotton had raped her. So they tried to acquire him to interrupt. but he did non. He denied the colzas and with that he sealed Ronald Cotton’s destiny. An guiltless adult male was populating inside the shell of a convicted raper. It was all over for Cotton. Cotton knew it ; he knew that he would be convicted. The tribunal fell soundless as Ronald Cotton was sentenced once more.
He was convicted of both colzas and two counts of burglary. This clip an Alamance County Superior Court sentenced Cotton to two life sentences plus 54 old ages. Ronald Cotton was convicted twice by eyewitness testimony. Seven more old ages went by. and so everyone in Central Prison was riveted by a large intelligence narrative: the test of O. J. Simpson. Cotton’s large interruption came in 1995 while he was watching the O. J. Simpson test on telecasting. “I would acquire my wireless and set my earplugs in. and travel outside. and sit in a corner. ” Cotton said. There. he’d listen to the test. He was intrigued by something he’d ne’er heard of: Deoxyribonucleic acid. The Attorneys and research workers kept speaking about DNA grounds. something he had ne’er heard of earlier. Deoxyribonucleic acid was still in its babyhood when he received his strong beliefs and it was non used in his test. He got an thought and he contacted his new lawyers. In 1994. the main appellant guardian had requested that two new attorneies take over Cotton’s defence.
Richard Rosen. a professor at the University Of North Carolina School Of Law. agreed to stand for Cotton. He wrote to his new lawyer. jurisprudence professor Rich Rosen. Rosen warned him that there likely wasn’t any grounds left to prove. and if there was. Deoxyribonucleic acid could cut both ways. “Understand if the Deoxyribonucleic acid comes back and shows that you did this offense. whatever legal issues we have don’t make any spot of difference. You’re traveling to pass the remainder of your life in prison. ” Rosen said. Cotton told him “to go with it” ( Finkelstein. 2009 ) . The attorneies filed a gesture for appropriate alleviation on the evidences of unequal appeal advocate. The attorneies besides filed a gesture for DNA proving that Cotton had been so inexorable on acquiring. DNA proving was granted in October 1994. Packed off on the shelves of the Burlington Police Department was 11-year-old grounds from the two colzas that dark.
In the spring of 1995. the Burlington Police Department turned over all grounds that contained the assailant’s seeds for DNA proving. Fortunately. Burlington Police Detective Gauldin had preserved the biological stuff in the instance. although there was no legal demand for it to be maintained. Inside one of the colza kits was a fragment of a individual sperm with feasible Deoxyribonucleic acid. The samples from one of the victim’s was excessively deteriorated to be conclusive. but the samples from the other victim’s vaginal swab and underwear were subjected to PCR based DNA proving. They were able to retrieve one bantam sample of sperm from the colza kit that had been used to handle Jennifer Thompson 11 old ages earlier.
The Deoxyribonucleic acid sample showed no lucifer to Cotton ( Celizic. 2009 ) . At the defense’s petition. the consequences were sent to the State Bureau of Investigation’s DNA database. incorporating the DNA forms of convicted violent criminals in the North Carolina prison system. The state’s database showed a lucifer with the inmate who had earlier confessed to the offense. There was adequate Deoxyribonucleic acid in the sample to turn out Cotton was guiltless and Poole was guilty. Then. under oppugning by Detective Gauldin. Poole confessed to both colzas. In May 1995 when the official DNA consequences were reported. the prosecution joined Rosen in a gesture to drop all charges. Judge McLelland granted the gesture. Cotton was officially cleared of all charges on June 30. 1995 and he was released from prison in July 1995. And merely like that. Cotton was a free adult male. Cotton received a gubernatorial forgiveness based on artlessness the following month. In July 1995. the governor of North Carolina officially pardoned Cotton. Cotton had served 10. 5 old ages of his sentence.
Cotton began the hard undertaking of get downing a new life. When he was foremost released from prison 17 old ages ago. Cotton’s first occupation was with the DNA Company that conducted the trials that exonerated him. He now works for a company that makes insularity. He’s been married for 15 old ages and has a 14-year-old girl. They live in a house paid for with damages money from the province of North Carolina: $ 10. 000 for each of the 11 old ages he spent in prison. Jennifer Thompson has besides moved on. She is married and has three kids. She and Cotton talk frequently. “He is an astonishing homo being. He has been a existent good instructor for me. ” He has helped me so much. Ron has taught me about forgiveness. and mending. and faith” ( Hansen. 2001 ) . Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson are now friends.
In fact. they’ve written a book together: “Picking Cotton: A Memoir of Injustice and Redemption. ” They sometimes travel together giving negotiations about the ways memory can lead on us. and they are working to alter the manner constabulary behavior exposure batting orders ( Connors. et Al. 1998 ) . They are besides a testament to the power of the human spirit. When DNA grounds finally proved that another adult male committed the colza and Cotton was freed. Thompson was consumed by guilt and shame. However. Cotton negotiations about in the book that they wrote together. that he had long since forgiven her. “I couldn’t carry on functioning my clip in the prison system keeping scores and believing about revenging against a individual that made an honorable error. I had to continue on in life irrespective. ” he told Vieira ( Hansen. 2001 ) . When I found out that I was traveling to be released from prison I was shocked. I about did non believe it. “It was like a dream semen true. I couldn’t believe it. ” Cotton told Vieira.
“The warden of the penitentiary called me in his office and told me I was traveling place tomorrow. I told him. “Please don’t draw my leg. it’s already long plenty. ” But it was true. I eventually went place to be with my household and loved 1s. The twenty-four hours I had prayed so difficult for had eventually come and it was non merely in my dreams ( Hansen. 2001 ) . To jurors the point of the finger placing a culprit is damaging grounds and errors can be made. However. now there is one type of grounds that’s even more persuasive: Deoxyribonucleic acid.
There have been 235 people exonerated by Deoxyribonucleic acid in this state and now a arresting form has emerged: more than three quarters of them were sent to prison at least in portion because an eyewitness pointed a finger – an eyewitness we now know was incorrect ( Torneo. 2009 ) . Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and the adult male she erroneously put in prison. Ronald Cotton is a narrative about hurting and salvation — and the fast ones that memory can play on people with the best of purposes. “This can go on to anyone. And hopefully it does non go on to them. ” Cotton told Vieira ( Hansen. 2001 ) . One of the most astonishing things that have come out of this unfairness is the most improbable of friendly relationships. He was sentenced to life in prison for a colza he did non commit by a adult female who he now calls his friend. The two of them are genuinely inspiring. and the two of them were both victims.
Celizic. M. ( 2009. March 10 ) . She sent him to imprison for colza ; now they’re friends. In NBCNEWS. com. Retrieved November 27. 2012. from hypertext transfer protocol: //today. msnbc. msn. com/id/29613178/ns/today-today_news/t/she-sent-him-jail-rape-now-theyre-friends/ Connors. E. . Lundregan. T. . Miller. N. . & A ; McEwen. T. ( 1998 ) . Convicted by Juries. Exonerated by Science: Case Studies in the Use of DNA Evidence to Establish Innocence After Trial. Institute for Psychological Therapies. 10. Retrieved November 5. 2012. from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. iptforensics. com/journal/volume10/j10_3_6_8. htm Finkelstein. S. ( 2009. July 12 ) . Eyewitness: How Accurate Is Ocular Memory? In CBSNEWS. Retrieved November 28. 2012. from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. cbsnews. com/stories/2009/03/06/60minutes/main4848039_page6. shtml? tag=contentMain ; contentBody Hansen. M. ( 2001 ) . Forensic Science: Scoping out eyewitness Ids ( Master’s thesis ) . April Retrieved November 5. 2012. from hypertext transfer protocol: //nersp. osg. ufl. edu/~malavet/evidence/notes/thompson_cotton. htm Thompson-Cannino. J. . Cotton. R. . & A ; Torneo. E. ( 2009 ) . Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption. New York. New york: St. Martin’s Press. Retrieved November 5. 2012. from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. pickingcottonbook. com/splash. hypertext markup language