To be Falsely Incarcerated and then Forgive, the saga of Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton

Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson

Well this has certainly got to be the most interesting case I’ve come across since morning. In a triumph of human character Ronald Cotton some how found enough kindness in his heart to forgive the woman who accused him of rape and almost destroyed his life.

Thompson wrongly accused Cotton of raping her in 1984, though she didn’t do it on purpose. She was certain Cotton was her attacker — and convinced two juries he was.

Cotton was sentenced to life behind bars in North Carolina in both his trial and a retrial; in the latter trial, a second victim claimed he’d raped her as well. Ronald maintained his innocence throughout.

Can you imagine what was going through this mans head when he was sentenced to life in prison twice knowing he was innocent! The psychological horror must be beyond this world. That alone would have caused many of us to simple lose it.


Eleven years into his sentence, he asked for new DNA-testing technology to be used — and was finally proven innocent and released in 1994. Investigators — and Thompson — were blown away by the news. She and Ronald met after his release so she could apologize, and broke down in each other’s arms.

Cotton identified the real criminal as well — serial rapist Bobby Poole, who was his fellow inmate. Poole died in prison in 1999.

Bobby Poole – Ronald Cotton

Would you have made the same mistake and shave 11 years off a mans most active period in life?

Well I’m glad it turned out well but stories like these give me nightmares, I’m serious.




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