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In two separate incidents in July of 1984 an assailant broke into an apartment severed phone lines sexually assaulted a women and searched through her belongings taking money and other items On August 1 1984 Ronald Cotton of Burlington North Carolina was arrested for the rape charges In January of 1985 Cotton was found guilty of one count of rape and one count of burglary In November of 1987 Cotton was convicted of both counts of rape and two counts of burglary An Alamance County Superior Court sentenced Cotton to life plus 54 years Cotton was found guilty due to both of the victims making photo identifications and the finding of evidence in Cottons home that resembled that of what was at the crime scene In 1994 two new lawyers for Cotton took over defense and filed a motion for DNA testing of the evidence of semen that was found at the scene The samples from one victim were too deteriorated to be conclusive but the samples from the other victims vaginal swab and underwear were submitted to PCR testing and showed no match to Cotton In May of 1995 Cotton was officially cleared of all the charges and was granted to 5000 as compensation from the state for serving 105 years in prison DNA testing is a fairly new thing when it comes to Criminal Investigations in court cases 20 years ago if a person was found guilty of a crime there was no way of knowing if he was actually at the scene or not Until about ten years ago the first signs of DNA testing were not even around but thanks to our technological advances we have be able to find some guilty people innocent In order to understand what DNA testing is and how it can help people we must know what exactly it is first Firstly there are cells which make up all organisms and inside the cells
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