Love is Better Than Revenge: The Wrongful Conviction of Sunny Jacobs

    • Season 7
  • 01:03:09
  • 08 January, 2019

Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | iHeartRadio | RSS

We are going to announce the premiere of our new season very soon, but until then we are revisiting some of the show's greatest episodes.

In 1976, Sonia 'Sunny’' Jacobs was sentenced to death for the murders of Florida Highway Patrol officer Phillip Black and Donald Irwin, a visiting Canadian constable. The officers were killed during a traffic stop where Sunny was traveling with her boyfriend, Jesse Tafero, and her two children, Eric, nine, and Christina, 10 months, in a car driven by Walter Rhodes. After officers approached the vehicle, Rhodes fired shots at them, a gun battle ensued, and chaos erupted. Sunny and Jesse were arrested, and both of their children were taken away by the state. Rhodes negotiated a plea bargain with the state, claiming Jesse and Sunny had pulled the triggers, in exchange for a life sentence. In 1990, Jesse was executed by the state of Florida in horrific circumstances. Sunny spent five years in isolation on Florida’s Death Row and a total of 17 years in a maximum-security prison before her conviction was overturned. Sunny was freed in 1992 when she was 45 years old. In this episode, Jason talks with Sunny, her current husband, exoneree Peter Pringle, and her daughter Christina who as a child was also a victim of this tragic injustice.

After her exoneration Sunny married and Peter Pringle, they were each sentenced to death for crimes of which they were innocent. Jacobs spent 17 years in prison in the United States, and Pringle spent 15 years in prison in Ireland. Both were exonerated after their convictions were overturned.

Today they are dedicated to the healing of those that have been wrongfully incarcerated. Together they started The Sunny Center with this mission in mind in Ireland.

The Sunny Center is a sanctuary, providing exonerees with immediate, spiritual, emotional and physical support, with the goal of assisting them with overcoming the trauma, isolation, and disconnection resulting from wrongful incarceration. 

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