At 27, Sunny was tried, convicted and sentenced to death for a murder she didn’t commit. Separated from her two children, nine years old and ten months old, she was put in solitary confinement, being the only woman sentenced to death at that time. Her husband, Jesse, was also sentenced to death – both on the testimony of the actual killer who made a plea bargain for three life sentences in exchange for his testimony against them.
She spent the next five years in solitary confinement, with only letters from her parents and Jesse to sustain her – only allowed to leave her cell twice weekly for a shower and brief period outside in a fenced area with a guard. Visits for holidays with her family were restricted and heart-breaking.
While sentenced to death, Sunny found the inner strength and belief to see her through her ordeal. After her sentenced was changed to Life, she spent another 12 years in the prison, during which time she lost her parents, her children went into foster care and her husband, Jesse, was executed.
By the time she was able to prove her innocence, she had spent 17 years in prison and was a 45-year old grandmother. But she was free and determined to heal and forgive in order to have a beautiful life!
She reconciled with her now-grown children, employed herself teaching yoga and meditation, and used her unique knowledge and experience to campaign to abolish the death penalty.
She and her present husband, Peter Pringle – who also suffered the injustice of being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in Ireland – now work together to end the death penalty and to help others to find healing. They have started a Sanctuary for other sufferers of injustice called the Sunny Sanctuary. Sunny, and her friend Dorothy in America, have initiated an out reach program in order to be able to reach the many others who cannot come to the healing centre as well as giving support to those who have been to the centre after they return home. And they have established the sunny living centre to provide housing and guidance for wrongly convicted people when they are released.Their mission, for the next five years, is to train others to do the healing work and set up sunny healing centers all over the world. In all of this, the main ingredients have been love, forgiveness and trust.