The New York Times best selling true story of an unlikely friendship forged between a woman and the man she incorrectly identified as her rapist and sent to prison for 11 years.
Jennifer Thompson was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept. She was able to escape, and eventually positively identified Ronald Cotton as her attacker. Ronald insisted that she was mistaken-- but Jennifer's positive identification was the compelling evidence that put him behind bars.
After eleven years, Ronald was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released, after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed. Two years later, Jennifer and Ronald met face to face-- and forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives.
With Picking Cotton, Jennifer and Ronald tell in their own words the harrowing details of their tragedy, and challenge our ideas of memory and judgment while demonstrating the profound nature of human grace and the healing power of forgiveness.
In July 1984, Thompson-Cannino, a white college student in Burlington, N.C., was raped by a black intruder. She identified her assailant in a lineup as Cotton; he was sentenced to life plus 50 years. When he secured a new trial in 1987, he found himself charged with a second attack and sentenced to two life sentences plus 54 years. DNA evidence at a new trial, eight years later, exonerated him of both charges. Authors Thompson-Cannino and Cotton offer this riveting account of their separate, yet connected, lives through those years. The first two parts describe their dreadful experiences: for her, in the "aliva swabs, vaginal swabs, pubic hair combings" of the rape kit; for him, being "sprayed like a dog getting defleaed" at the prison. Thompson-Cannino describes the invasive procedures following a rape, unsettling police procedures (the lineup), unfamiliar legal stages (such as a probable cause hearing) and the disturbing trial. Cotton leads readers through the events following a conviction (the several prisons, adjustments to the prison norm, the alternating hope and despair of the judicial stages). Redemption is the subject of the third part, where Thompson-Cannino and Cotton forge a path to genuine friendship in advocating for the wrongfully convicted. Together they have produced a well-modulated and generously balanced memoir at once a devastating and uplifting crash course in the criminal justice system.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Tear jerker and eye opener
The book immediately pulls you in and keeps you at the edge of your seat. For me it was an emotional rollercoaster of tears, fear, relief, and happiness. It’s a great example of the judicial system and their own faults. It also refers to how the system has changed from the 70s-present. I enjoyed reading this and I know lots will as well.
I don't read...
I cannot put this book down. I picked this book up out of curiosity and bought it on a whim. It's amazing....
This is a story that needs to be told. The book was riveting and an important read for everyone interested in justice.