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Best-Selling Authors of 'Picking Cotton' Share Story of an Unlikely Friendship

Jennifer Thompson and Ronald CottonIn 1984, Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton experienced something that changed their lives forever.

Thompson, a college student with big goals, was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment. She positively identified Cotton as her attacker. A trial followed and Cotton was convicted and sent to prison. After serving 11 years, Cotton was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence.

As part of the Arts and Lectures series, Ferris State University will host Thompson and Cotton who share a perhaps unlikely friendship after meeting, face to face, two years after Cotton’s release. In their own words, the two will share the details of their tragedies and challenge perceptions of memory and judgment. They also hope to show the profound nature of human grace and forgiveness.

The event begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15 in Williams Auditorium. General admission to the event is $7 and $5 for students and seniors.

Cotton was exonerated with help from The Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization. The Innocence Project helps exonerate wrongfully accused individuals through DNA testing. To date, 316 individuals have been exonerated thanks to their efforts, one of those being Ronald Cotton.