Inspirational death-row exoneree to speak at Kildare Féile Bríde

The story of Sonia 'Sunny' Jacobs

Leinster Leader reporter


Leinster Leader reporter


Inspirational death-row exoneree to speak at Kildare Féile Bríde

Pictured at the launch of Feile Bride

The world famous Sonia 'Sunny' Jacobs – a mum of two who had her conviction for murdering two prison officers overturned – is to address this year’s Kildare Feile Bríde. 

In 1976 Ms Jacobs was sentenced to death at the age of 28 for the murder of two police officers in Florida.

When she was imprisoned, her two young children were cast into the foster care system. While in prison her parents died in a plane accident and her husband Jesse was killed on the electric chair. Nearly 17 years after her arrest, Sunny’s conviction was overturned on appeal.

Her story, along with those of five other wrongfully convicted death row inmates, became The Exonerated, a play that later was made into a movie in which Susan Sarandon played Sunny. Sunny is the author of Stolen Time: One Woman’s Inspiring Story as an Innocent Condemned to Death. 

In 1998, on a visit to Ireland for an Amnesty International event in Galway, she met her husband Peter Pringle, an Irishman who had spent 15 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. They now run the non-profit Sunny Center in Connemara which is the world's first healing centre for fellow exonerees from around the world. 

“Life has given me many challenges, which I choose to take as opportunities to learn and grow. This is my choice. I learned this on death row. I chose life, health, forgiveness, and love. That choice saved me from bitterness and hatred that would have destroyed me from within,” she said.

“I have dedicated myself to an end to violence – in all its forms. This is the way I honour the lives that were sacrificed along the way. This is the way I give back to the universe. Love is the answer. Fear is the enemy. We must choose the world we want and work towards making it happen every day in our own lives.”

Sunny will be speaking in Kildare Town on Saturday February 3 as part of the annual Féile Bríde event run by human rights group Afri - Action from Ireland in partnership with Solas Bríde.

Other speakers include the distinguished academic and activist Peadar Kirby, who plays a leading role in the Cloughjordan Eco-Village; UCC Professor Emeritus and life-long peace activist John Maguire; Hanny Van Geel of La Via Campesina, which promotes the rights of peasant communities around the world, and who describes herself as ‘rooted in farming’; and Rose Hogan who has a life-long commitment to agro-ecology and sustainable agriculture.

The event takes place in Solas Bhríde, Kildare Town from 10.20am. Tickets are €17 or by donation and can be purchased on the day or booked online at

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