Here are the basics, Jennifer Thompson was raped in college and out of a line-up she picked Ronald Cotton. He was convicted and served 11 years in prison - until DNA testing proved he was not the criminal.
Then they met . . .
(Here is an excerpt from the 60 Minutes Story:
“But when she thought or dreamed about that night, it was still Cotton's face she saw. To get past it, she asked if he would meet with her at a local church. "I remember him walkin' into the church. And I physically could not stand up," Thompson recalled.
"She was nervous. Scared," Cotton said. "I started to cry immediately. And I looked at him, and I said, 'Ron, if I spent every second of every minute of every hour for the rest of my life telling you how sorry I am, it wouldn't come close to how my heart feels. I'm so sorry.' And Ronald just leaned down, he took my hands…and he looked at me, he said, 'I forgive you,'" Thompson remembered. "I told her, I said, 'Jennifer, I forgive you. I don't want you to look over your shoulder. I just want us to be happy and move on in life,'" Cotton recalled.
"The minute he forgave me, it's like my heart physically started to heal. And I thought, 'This is what grace and mercy is all about. This is what they teach you in church that none of us ever get.' And here was this man that I had hated. I mean, I used to pray every day of my life during those eleven years that he would die. That he would be raped in prison and someone would kill him in prison. That was my prayer to God. And here was this man who with grace and mercy just forgave me," Thompson told Stahl. "How wrong I was, and how good he is."
Now these two have written a book and they also speak around the country about changes that need to be made in how eye witnesses are used in criminal cases. They have taken their very difficult experience and are now being generous with what they know.
Take some time to share this new book and this story with those you know.