Husband and wife who escaped death row to host University talk

A married couple who each spent more than 15 years on death row for murder, before being found innocent, recently shared their experiences at a Birmingham City University event.

Before Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle first met, they had both faced the death penalty for separate but very similar crimes.

In 1976, Sunny was charged with opening gunfire and murdering two police officers in Florida. Four years later, Peter was sentenced to death for killing two policemen in Dublin.

Both Sunny and Peter were victims of wrongful convictions and after being given back their freedom, they first met in 1998 when Sunny was campaigning against the death penalty at an Amnesty International event in Ireland.

The wrongful convictions echo the original case of Wisconsin resident Steven Avery, the subject of Netflix’s hit 10-part documentary ‘Making a Murderer’.

Avery served 18 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of sexual assault and attempted murder in 1985, before DNA evidence eventually cleared him of the crime.

Sunny and Peter now dedicate part of their lives to campaigning for human rights and shared their story at Birmingham City University’s Curzon Building at the ‘Two Tales of Death Row’ event on Wednesday 24 February.

“Peter and I have followed the work of Birmingham City University’s School of Law and the staff’s dedication to undertaking death penalty work”, said Sunny before the event.

“We’re looking forward to meeting the fabulous people taking time to do such very important work and telling them what a difference their work is making!". The couple also took time to speak to the Express and Star newspaper.

Hannah Gorman, senior lecturer in Law at Birmingham City University, said: “We offer free legal assistance to the most vulnerable of society within our pro bono initiative here at the University.