Authors of Best-Selling Book “Picking Cotton” to Speak at WWU

Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton Visit WWU Campus Jan. 29

Unlikely friends, Cotton and Thompson

Activists and best-selling authors Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton will share their powerful story of truth, justice, and forgiveness at two upcoming Walla Walla University events.

Their first presentation will take place Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, at 11 a.m. in the University Church. At 7 p.m. that evening, there will be a Q&A session in Village Hall. Both events are free and open to the community.

Thompson and Cotton are the co-authors of the New York Times best-seller “Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption.” The book recounts the unlikely story of friendship and forgiveness between Thompson and Cotton, the man she wrongfully accused of rape.

In 1984, Thompson was raped at knifepoint in her home. On the basis of a composite sketch, line-up identification and Thompson’s testimony at trial, Cotton was convicted of the crime. Years later, Thompson was asked to provide a DNA sample for further analysis of the case. She agreed to the request, which revealed that Cotton was not her rapist. After spending 11 years in prison, he was released.

Two years later, Thompson and Cotton met face to face and became friends. Their close friendship and bond became the basis for Picking Cotton.”

They now work to improve all aspects of the process that led to Cotton’s wrongful conviction. Together, they travel the country speaking out in favor of DNA testing and talking with local communities about ways citizens, police, and prosecutors can work together to prevent erroneous criminal convictions.

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