January 7th 1985 was the start of the trial. During Cottons trial, he became quite overwhelmed with all of the accusations and “evidence” against him. Cotton knew that he was innocent but the evidence that the prosecution had held a strong case against him. On January 18 1985 Cotton was sentenced to life in prison plus 50 years. I believe that most of the evidence presented against Cotton was circumstantial and that Cotton was a targeted suspect to be convicted for these rapes. In addition, Cottons criminal history was also able to sway the jury into a convictionCotton was convicted and requested to be transferred to Raleigh Central prison. Cotton quickly became comfortable in the prison and took a job working in the kitchen. While working in the kitchen Cotton meets two men named Kenny and Bobby Poole. After talking to Poole, Cotton finds out that Poole had been rapist of the two women that he was accused him of raping. Throughout his time in prison Cotton adopts the name Red because of his native American blood. Kenny and Cotton never saw eye to eye. Kenny continuously harassed Cotton throughout his time in prison. Cotton became fed up with Kenny harassing him and they started to fight. Numerous punches were thrown at each other but they were quickly broken up by correctional officers. Kenny later apologized to Cotton for harassing him and tells Cotton that Poole had confessed to him and a few other people about raping those women and getting away with it. Cotton writes to his attorney Mr. Mosely and continues to stay in contact with him. Cotton takes a picture with Poole and sends it to his lawyer as evidence to try and gain his freedom. Though the photo was not enough evidence. They would need a confession from Poole to confirm Cottons story.
Cotton is sent to Graham Correctional Facility to prepare for the appeal set up by Mr. Mosley. However, during the appeal Mary Reynolds identifies Cotton as her rapist and Cotton is sentence to an even longer time in prison. With this identification the evidence regarding Poole is thrown out by the judge. Cotton is devastated that the woman wrongly identified him as her attacker and that he will be serving an even longer sentence. I believe that too much time has passed for Mrs. Reynolds to make a clear and definite identification of Cotton. This was clearly a tactic to deny the release of Cotton. In addition, The judge should have taken the evidence regarding Poole into consideration and investigate deeper into the situation rather than throwing away the evidence.
Cotton returns to Central prison and starts a wine producing business with his cell mates. The prisoners make the wine and sell it to buyers and quickly start making money. Cotton and his partner find themselves in a lot of trouble with loan sharks and money issues in the prison. All the stress of this made Cotton’s partner snap and he committed suicide. Later that summer, Cotton is transferred to the Caledonia prison due to overcrowding. Cotton is assigned to work as a packager at the new prison and happens to run into Poole again who was also transferred due to overcrowding.
Cotton again writes to his attorney informing him that Poole and himself are in the same prison for the same crimes. The supreme court upholds Cottons conviction and he begins to lose hope of ever being a free man. Cottons father tells him to be strong and wait for a new opportunity for freedom to arise. Cotton retains two new attorneys named Tom and Rich to look over his case. All of the evidence regarding Cottons case from Mr. Mosley is transferred to his new attorneys. At the time, the case of O.J. Simpson had brought up the issue of DNA testing. Cotton decides to get a test done to finally get the chance to prove his innocence.
I believe that the trial against Mr. Cotton was doomed from the start. The prosecution had copious amounts of circumstantial evidence against Cotton. In addition, the prosecution had a positive identification of the attacker from the victim. Though there was no physical evidence, this circumstantial evidence in addition to Cottons criminal history was enough to sway the jury into a conviction. When Cotton filed for an appeal, the second victim was now able to make a positive identification. Though she was not able to do this during the original trial the court allowed it as acceptable evidence and convicted Cotton to even a longer sentence. During Cottons appeal, he had evidence that a man named Booby Poole who he had been incarcerated with had been the actual attacker in these rapes. Since the second victim was now able to identify Cotton the judge did not take the evidence regarding Poole into consideration and threw it away.