In 1984 a young woman called Jennifer Thomson was brutally raped in her apartment. But she was calm enough to observe her rapist and recognize him later. Or so she thought.
During the recognition process she saw someone's picture that looked just like the rapist. Afterwards she saw him on the line between other men. She was absolutely sure.
Ronald Cotton was sentenced to life in prison. After 3 years he met accidentally someone in prison who looked just like him and he was there for sexual assault. He asked his lawyer to repeat the trial, but Jennifer Thomson was absolutely sure about her first choice.
After 11 years in jail, while Cotton was watching the trial of O. J. Simpson he had the idea of checking his DNA and the guy's whom he met in jail. They found that he was innocent.
Now Jennifer was very ashamed for the pain she caused to Ronald and she wanted to meet him in order to apologize. A few weeks later, she drove 50 miles to a church in the town where she was raped. She asked her husband and the pastor to leave.
Trembling, she opened the door. She had prayed for the strength to face this moment. She had prayed for the strength to face this man. "I'm sorry," she said. "If I spent every day for the rest of my life telling you how sorry I am, it wouldn't come close to what I feel." Ronald Cotton was calm and quiet, and Thompson thought he seemed so very tall.
Finally, he spoke. "I'm not mad at you," he said softly. "I've never been mad at you. I just want you to have a good life." Tears falling, Thompson looked into his eyes and knew she would never see him in her nightmares again. We were both victims, Cotton said, and Thompson nodded in agreement. In the parking lot, Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton embraced. They held each other for a long, long time.
Now they are writing a book together about this story. Title of the book is "Picking Cotton"