A New York Times best-selling author and North Carolina native shared his story of being falsely accused of rape, and forgiveness at Pitt Community College Friday.
51-Year-old Ronald Cotton, co-author of "Picking Cotton" spoke to PCC students about his wrongful conviction. In 1984 Cotton was convicted of raping 22-year-old Jennifer Thompson after she picked him in a line-up. Cotton was in prison nearly 11 years before a DNA test proved his innocence in 1995.
After he was exonerated, Cotton and Thompson formed an unlikely friendship. Cotton says their friendship proves forgiveness is always possible.
"What has happened to Jennifer and me can happen to anyone. Always be prepared. You know, when you're out, just what your surroundings because you never know, you could be the next victim," said Cotton.
Cotton was the first inmate exonerated by DNA evidence in the state of NC, and one of the early cases taken up by the Innocence Project.