When Cotton returned to prison, he fantasized about killing Poole for ruining his life but decided that he has to make the most of his imprisoned life: “Put a man in a cage with beasts and throw away the key, and it's usually not very long before the man is a beast himself,” he writes. All seemed lost until the O.J. Simpson trial, when DNA evidence became part of the public consciousness. Once again Cotton contacted lawyers, stating that he would submit to a DNA test, knowing that none of his genetic material would be found at either crime scene. Ultimately, this evidence exonerated Cotton's name, and he walked out of jail a free man after 11 long years.
The last part alternates between Thompson's and Cotton's views, with Thompson's shock and guilt over identifying the wrong person, and Cotton's attempts to rebuild his life. Finally the two decided to meet in order to provide some sense of closure. Their recollections of their first meeting are emotional, with Thompson apologizing to Cotton. Cotton instantly forgave her, and she ponders the meaning of that word: “Forgiveness is tricky. People think when you forgive someone, you excuse what he did. That's not what it is. It's about power and letting go.” Before meeting with Cotton, she explains, she did not understand “what forgiveness was, nor how powerful it could be.”
Those statements on forgiveness summarize the remainder of the book. After their initial meeting, Thompson and Cotton began making joint media appearances to bring attention to cases of witness mis-identification. In the process, the two became improbable friends; perhaps the most amazing example is that after a phone conversation, they both end the call by telling each other “I love you.” Meanwhile, Poole finally confessed to the rapes, and his DNA matched that found at the crime scenes. Before he could be brought to trial, however, he died from cancer while still in prison.