In 1995, eleven years after the original attack, Ms. Thompson learned from detectives that Ronald Cotton had been exonerated by DNA testing. Mr. Cotton was released from prison and Bobby Poole plead guilty to the rape of Ms. Thompson. Ms. Thompson-Canino (her married name) met with Mr. Cotton and has become an outspoken advocate for eyewitness identification reform. Ms. Thompson-Canino and Mr. Cotton have even teamed up and co-authored a book about how this dastardly mistake happened and how it can be avoided in the future.
As noted by the Innocence Project blog: Social science research has shown that eyewitness misidentifications are more likely to happen when the perpetrator and witness are of different racial backgrounds. And statistics on the 218 wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing to date support the evidence. More than one-third of these wrongful convictions were caused by a cross-racial identification. Investigation of all aspects of an eyewitness, especially cross-racial identifications, is critical.