Love After Death Row…

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Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle each spent more than 15 years on death row for murder before being exonerated and given back their freedom, and on Thursday they spoke about their amazing love story.

In 1976 Sunny was wrongly convicted for murdering two police officers and put on death row in Florida.

During this time her former partner Jesse, who was also wrongly implicated in the crime, was executed by electric chair.

Sunny told This Morning presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby she experienced a mixture of feelings towards the injustice.

“We were basically in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people and unfortunately if you are there, then people think you must have had something to do with it or at least have knowledge of it,” she said.

“At first I was very angry and I felt that everything I had been taught to believe in was a lie. Even maybe including God, because how could God let this happen to me and my whole family.”

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in Ireland in 1980, Sunny’s current partner Peter was also wrongly convicted and sentenced to death for murdering two police officers.

During his 17 years on death row, Peter had his sentence commuted to 40 years in prison, but he was determined to prove his innocence and so began to study law.

He eventually got his case reopened and in 1995 his conviction was quashed and he was finally freed.

“The face of injustice is the same everywhere,” he said.

“The same methods are used in every country, not just in Ireland, or in America or Britain.

“If a number of people are given too much power and are not held accountable for what they do there’s temptation, they are human beings, they want to win.”

But despite having their freedom, the couple admit they both struggled to cope with life in the outside world.

“You stay exactly the way you were because there is no way to grow up and mature in prison. You are told what to do, you have to ask for permission for anything you want to do,” said Sunny.

“Not only is freedom a huge responsibility, it’s not free.”

The couple’s unlikely love story began in 1998 when Sunny travelled to Ireland along with a charity which helps people wrongfully accused of crimes.

Sunny and Peter met and immediately hit it off after discovering the similarities in their lives.

“The first conversation we had, for three and half hours, was (about) forgiveness,” said Peter.

While many people in their situation would be inclined to feel anger and hatred at the injustice they have faced, Sunny and Peter said they both decided very early on not to live that kind of life.

The couple now live a quiet existence in Ireland and aim to set up an organisation to help people who have been released from prison following a wrongful conviction.

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