Marriage of two former Death Row inmates, one Irish, one American
Love story of two accused of cop killings in Ireland and the US
A couple who served time on Death Row, one in Ireland, and one in America, were married last week in New York and will live in Ireland.
Peter Pringle, 74, was sentenced to death in Ireland for the 1980 capital murder of two policemen during a bank raid in Ballaghaderreen County Roscommon.
The robbery was said to have been carried out by the Irish National Liberation Army, a radical offshoot of the IRA.
His execution was set for June 8 1981 but was commuted by the Irish president.
He served 15 years before it was discovered that his original conviction was unsafe after evidence was produced showing his ‘confession’ was written down even before he was interviewed.
During his work with Amnesty International highlighting innocent death row victims, he met Sunny Jacobs.
Sonia Jacobs, 64, was arrested after a February 1976 shootout with two policemen in Florida in which the officers were killed.
Jacobs and her husband had been passengers in the car driven by Walter Rhodes Junior when it was pulled over by police. Both Rhodes and Jacobs' husband Jesse Tafero had prior convictions.
Rhodes turned evidence and claimed it was Jacobs and Tafero who had shot and killed the policemen. A jailhouse informant also told the court that Jacobs had told him she was involved.
Jacobs also received the death sentence and her husband was eventually executed in 1990.
She, however, won her case on appeal after the jailhouse informant recanted and it became clear that it was Walter Rhodes who had fired the fatal shots and Jacobs was freed after seventeen years in jail.
She and Pringle began seeing each other and often spoke at conferences on the death penalty together.
“We didn’t just share a past, we had a vision for a future,” . Jacobs told The New York Times, which featured their wedding “Sure, Peter and I were also physically attracted to one another, but it was deeper than that,” she said. “You know what happens to attractive, it becomes wrinkled and fat.”
In December 2001, she joined him in his cottage beside the sea in Galway.”
“Sunny teaches yoga, I live on a pension,” Mr. Pringle told the Times . “We have two hens, two ducks and eight goats. We both milk the goats and Sunny makes cheese. It’s really a nice, simple life.”
The Jacobs story became a hit Broadway play and three of the actresses who played her Brooke Shields, Marlo Thomas and Amy Irving turned up for the wedding.
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