The Story of Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom

News Archive

30. March 1985

BEDFORD COUNTY

Double Murder In Bedford County

Derek and Nancy Haysom found dead in Loose Chippings

Haysom house at Loose Chippings

Investigators search for motive in killings

The News & Daily Advance, April 6, 1985 by Michael Fuchs – BEDFORD - Before Wednesday, Sherrif Carl Wells never had much reason to talk with law enforcement officers in Canada. That began changing three days ago, when a former Nova Scotia businessman and his wife were found brutally stabbed to death at their Boonsboro home. Wells said a special investigative team still has no motive in the slayings of Derek Haysom, the former head of Nova Scotia's largest steel mill, and his wife, Nancy, a Lynchburg native born into an aristocratic family that traveled through the world. With no suspect in the double murder, investigators hope finding a motive will lead to an arrest. The Haysoms lived in Nova Scotia for about 15 years before moving to Lynchburg about two years ago: that has turned Wells and investigators toward Canada for some information. That, in turn, has become one of the usual difficulties in probing a puzzling double killing. "Until Tursday morning, I knew no law officers in Canada," Wells said Friday while discussing the investigation. "We have not been able to develop suspects, nor have we been able to develop a motive. We're still running leads, talking to people in the area who knew the family. "We've been looking at everything we can," the sheriff said. "They've spent more years there (Nova Scotia) than here. If it's something that's a revenge killing, it's there. We're not leaning either way." Read more

Derek and Nancy Haysom

A Mansonesque Killing Brings Shudders To Genteel Virginia

Chicago Tribune, June 15, 1986 by Michael Hirsley BOONSBORO, VA. — A plaintive phone call led to the discovery of Derek Haysom and his wife, Nancy, at least three days dead with their throats slit in their elegant cottage-style home here. That call was made by their daughter, Elizabeth. “She said she was really scared,“ recalled the family friend who took Elizabeth`s call from the University of Virginia, 60 miles north. She said her parents would never go out of town without letting her know. “I was alarmed enough to call police and go to the house.“ The friend, who asked not to be identified, had been given a key to the house by Nancy Haysom. Seeing both of the Haysoms` cars in the driveway, she opened the door just long enough to “see Derek was dead and blood was scattered everywhere.“ That Wednesday, April 3, 1985, has left a specter in the genteel Boonsboro neighborhood, which crosses the city limits of Lynchburg, Va., extending from stately in-town mansions to homes outside town on lots of 10 acres or more, hidden behind heavy woods and thick kudzu vines. (...) Read more

WSET13 Daily News Channel Virginia

30. APRIL 1986

LONDON

Young American Couple Arrested For Check Fraud In London

Elizabeth Haysom and Jens Soering 1985 (almanac pictures University of Virginia).

Two former students arrested in London

The Cavalier Daily, June 12, 1986 by Susan Findley – Former University students Elisabeth Haysom and Jens Soering are currently being held in London on charges of bank fraud and suspicion of international drug smuggling. Haysom and Soering are also supects in the spring murder of Elizabeth Haysom's parents, according to London authorites quoted in the Daily Progress. Haysom and Soering disappeared from the University during the middle of fall semester last year. Relatives said they have not heard from them since last October, according to the Daily Progress. London attorney Keith Barker, their representative since their May 1 arrest, told the Daily Progress that the couple had traveled extensively in Europe after leaving University. At the University, both Haysom and Soering were Echols Scholars and Soering was also a Jefferson Scholar. Soering is the 19-year-old son of a West German diplomat. Read more

Bedford Investigator Ricky Gardner (left) and Commonwealth´s Attorney James Updike arrive in London.

Daughter, boyfriend indicted in deaths of Bedford couple

The Free Lance-Star, June 14, 1986
BEDFORD, Va. (AP) – A Bedford County grand jury yesterday indicted the daughter of a county couple and her boyfriendon murder charges. Elizabeth Haysom and her boyfriend, Jens Soering, were charged with the murder of Miss Haysom's parents in April 1985 at their home near Lynchburg. Soering war charged with capital murder and Miss Haysom was charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Both are former University of Virginia students who were arrested on bank fraud charges in a London suburb last month. They have been held in there since then. Read more


Former students await London trial

The Cavalier Daily – July 3, 1986
by Debbie Alderson

Read more

Miss Haysom, boyfriend described as free spirits

The News & Daily Advance, July 1, 1986 by April Adler and David M. Poole – Elizabeth Haysom and her boyfriend, Jens Soering traveled Europe extensively after they left the University of Virginia in Charlottesville last fall, according to their attorney. Keith Barker of London has represented the pair since their arrest 1. "They've traveled widely, it's plain." A police investigator said they may have gone as far as Bangkok, Thailand.
Barker said they had been living in London "for some time," but did not hold jobs. Some of their classmates at UVa, where the couple studied on sholarships, said Thursday they weren't surprised when Miss Haysom left town last October. "She wasn't unhappy, she was restless," said Eric Engels, a fourth-year student who dated Miss Haysom before she began going with Soering. "They were both loners, independent spirits."
Both came to UVa from exclusive private schools. Miss Haysom attended boarding school in England, and Soering graduated from the Lovett School in Atlanta, Ga. Miss Haysom, 22, is the only child from the marriage of Derek and Nancy Haysom, who had five children from previous marriages. Read more

WSET13 Daily News Channel Virginia

24. AUGUST 1987

BEDFORD COUNTY

Elizabeth Haysom Arrives For Murder Trial In Virginia

Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 31, 1987 by Carlos Santos

Elizabeth Haysom and Bedford County Commonwealth’s Attorney James Updike.

Motives simple, prosecutors say of double slaying

Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 31, 1987 by Carlos Santos BEDFORD - Elizabeth Haysom and Jens Soering were once inseparable, but now they languish in different jails on different continents, awaiting the conclusion of a twisted series of events that took them from rarefied heights as Echols Scholars at the University of Virginia to suspects in a gruesome double homicide. The couple, described by friends as introspective, intelligent and marked for success, are charged in the April 1985 knifing deaths of Ms. Haysom's parents, Nancy and Derek Haysom. The two seem to be unlikely murder suspects. Soering is the son of a West German consul and was on a full scholarship at U.Va. at the time of the killings. He is an accomplished fencer and a native of West Germany who has traveled around the world with his father. He had advanced so quickly academically that he went directly from high school to being a second-year student at U.Va. Ms. Haysom, a Canadian citizen, is an accomplished cellist and pianist who attended schools in England. She is related through her mother to Lady Astor, the first woman to serve in the British House of Commons.

Prosecutors believe the motives for the killings were as uncomplicated as they are commonplace: love and money. Ms. Haysom, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, is awaiting trial in tiny Bedford County jail, not far from the simple Boonsboro cottage where her wealthy parents were killed just over two years ago. „She´s being treated like everybody else,“ said Bedford Sheriff Carl Wells. „She´s in there with everybody else.“ Wells said Ms. Haysom has had visitors, but he refused to discuss them. A trial date may be set for the 23 years-old woman at a Bedford Circuit Court hearing Friday, when her court-appointed lawyers are expected to file several motions. (…)
Ms. Haysom, a pale, thin woman with light brown hair, has six siblings, but she is not getting any money from her family for her defense. „We are not going to provide with any material assistance,“ her older brother, Dr. Howard Haysom of Houston, has said. „What she needs is spiritual assistance.“ Read more

 

 

"I was a spoilt child, I was a love child and my parents adored me."

Elizabeth Haysom during a police interview

Elizabeth Haysom at Bedford County Courthouse on August 24th, 1987. She stood accused of the murders of her father and mother. The shocked court heard details of Elizabeth's journal in which she recorded the progress of her "intellectual murder game".

Daughter, boyfriend suspects in grisly slayings

Lakeland Ledger, June 7, 1987
by Bill Montgomery and Lynn M. Hohenstein
BOONSBORO, Va. – A friend who opened the door of Derek and Nancy Haysom´s handsome, spacious home in this community a mile west of Lynchburg recoiled in horror at the sight. The body of the retired Canadian steel executive, 72, lay on the bloody living room floor. His 53-year-old wife, a native Virginian with family ties to British nobility, was found in the kitchen. They had been stabbed repeatedly, their throats slit. A continent away and more than a year after the April 1985 double slaying, a chance arrest in England on unrelated charges led authorities to identify two suspects in the slyings: The Haysom´s brilliant youngest daughter, Elizabeth, 23, and her German boyfriend, Jens Soering, 20...Read more

 

 

WSET13 Daily News Channel Virginia

In-Court Cameras to See First Test in Virginia

Daily News - August 25, 1987

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Woman admits to role in parent´s slaying

The Free Lance Star, August 24, 1987
BEDFORD, Va. (AP) – The youngest daughter of a retired steel executive and his wife pleaded guilty today to being an accessory to the stabbing deaths of her parents. The plea came from Elizabeth Haysom, 23, came before jury selection began for her trial on two counts of first-degree murder. She stood and, in a quiet voice, told Circuit Court Judge William Sweeney she was guilty of being an accessory to the April 1985 deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom. Commonwealth's Attorney James Updike said the pleas were tantamount to pleading guilty to the first-degree murder charges. Read more


She wanted her parents to die

The Free Lance-Star, August 25, 1987 by Joe Taylor BEDFORD (AP) – A woman whose letters to her boyfriend in the months before her parents were slain showed an obsession with their deaths has pleaded guilty to the murders. Elizabeth R. Haysom, a 23-year-old Zimbabwe native who has spent much of her life in Europe and Canada, also was depicted in the letters read in court Monday as totally wrapped up in her love for the boyfriend, Jens Soering. Miss Haysom told Bedford Circuit Judge William Sweeney she was guilty as an accessory to the murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom, who were found dead in their home near Lynchburg on April 3, 1985. Miss Haysom could be sentenced to life in prison. Soering, 20, faces charges of capital murder and first-degree murder in the killings. He is in London fighting extradition. Commonwealth's Attorney James Updike spent Monday putting on evidence for Sweeney, who will impose sentence in four to six weeks. More evidence was to be presented today. Read More

Miss Haysom says she acted out of fear and love

The Free Lance-Star, August 26, 1987 by Joe Taylor
BEDFORD, Va. (AP) – Elizabeth Haysom, convicted of the murder of her parents, told the police investigators that she both loved and feared her boyfriend, a co-defendant accused of the actual killings. Miss Haysom, 23, faces from 20 years to life in prison after being found guilty Tuesday of being an accessory to the March 30, 1985 stabbing deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom in their home near Lynchburg. Bedford  County Circuit Judge William Sweeney, who listened to two days of evidence after Miss Haysom pleaded guilty Monday, set sentencing for Oct. 6. Sweeney said the unusual lenght of the testimony in a guilty plea case was necessary to give the community the facts of the slayings and to help him in determining a sentence. Much of the evidence focused on conversations that police officials conducted with Miss Haysom and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Jens Soering, after the two were arrested in London in May 1986. Read more

Business executive Derek Haysom faught a brave battle with the knife-wielding madman, who afterwards painted an inverted triangle in his victim´s blood.

Photos of dead parents kill love for boyfriend

The Free Lance-Star - October 7, 1987

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Jens Soering letters: a telling chapter in a chilling tale

Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 30,1987 by Carlos Santos

BEDFORD - Theirs was an irrational love, adolescent and obsessive, but it was Jens Soering, a brilliant University of Virginia student who wanted to write the great American novel, who police say took his love for Elizabeth Haysom to a murderous climax. The story of the murders has already come out through police statements and court hearings. Ms. Haysom has said she encouraged Soering to kill her parents, who disapproved of their relationship and planned to stop it. But court documents, including love letters, diary entries and transcripts of police interrogations, detail the sometimes chilling thoughts of Soering before

and after the killings he is charged with committing and the eventual souring of the love Ms. Haysom once said was "beyond reason." The court documents also show an ordinary, thoughtful side to the American-educated West German who met and courted Ms. Haysom, whom he called Liz, while they were students at the U.Va. in 1984. The documents show a brooding boy who was full of self-doubt, who struggled against parental and school pressure and who searched painfully through art and literature for the meaning of life. The documents show Ms. Haysom as a woman with a lively imagination, who lied often to police

and others and who said she led her own bizarre life which included lesbian encounters, dressing as a man and visiting homosexual bars and using drugs, including heroin. Ms. Haysom, who was educated in boarding schools across Europe, pleaded guilty on Monday in Bedford County Circuit Court to being an accessory before the fact of the murder of her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom. They were stabbed to death in March 1985 in the Bedford County home they called Loose Chippings. Read more

 

 

OCTOBER 1987

BEDFORD COUNTY

Elizabeth Haysom Gets 90 Years In Slaying Of Parents

The Free Lance-Star, October 9, 1987 by Dirk Beveridge

BEDFORD, Va. (AP) - Elizabeth Haysom, who said she should be imprisoned for life for the murders of her parents, could be eligible for parole in about 12 years, a prosecutor said. Commonwealth's Attorney James Updike Jr. had asked Bedford Circuit Court Judge William Sweeney to impose the maximum life sentence on Miss Haysom, 23. Sweeney instead gave the Canadian citizen a total of 90 years in the state women's prison in Goochland County. The minimum legal sentence would have been 20 years. Miss Haysom pleaded guilty to first-degree murder as an accessory before the fact in the brutal March 1985 stabbing deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom in their Boonsboro home. Updike said the murders were carried out by Miss Haysom's boyfriend, Jens Soering, while Miss Haysom stayed in a Washington motel room rented as an alibi. Read more

Elizabeth Haysom pled guilty to two counts of accessory to murder. She was sentenced to 90 years in prison.

WSET13 Daily News Channel Virginia

Her true nature remains an enigma

Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 11, 1987 by Carlos Santos BEDFORD - At the end of her three-day sentencing hearing, even Circuit Judge William Sweeney wasn't sure who Elizabeth Haysom was, so many versions of herself did she live and invent. The skein of lies, half-truths, exaggerations and exotica that filtered through her trial in August and the sentencing hearing last week left a sense of bewilderment. She was so lonely she invented secret friends, so smart she rewrote Shakespearean plays, so lost she slipped notes under her parents' door to communicate.


"She was a poised schoolgirl who used heroin, a cosmopolitan vamp versed in French and the cello who was bisexual because it was fashionable in her European circles."

She was so lonely she invented secret friends, so smart she rewrote Shakespearean plays, so lost she slipped notes under her parents' door to communicate. She came from an exotic world, she was born in Zimbabwe and educated in prestigious schools, including one that the Princess of Wales attended. A Middle Eastern sheik once offered her father a number of camels for her hand, a witness testified, one of the few times laughter was heard from the courtroom. She was an international-level skier and an expert lacrosse player who wrote a 40,000-word treatise on the metaphysics of the water molecule. A time she looked petulant, at times vilnerable, but she was always poised. She looks striking in an unconventional way. It was that uncommon background, evil dished out with good manners and good breeding, that drew intense media attention.  Read more

Haysom gets 90 years

The Cavalier Daily, October 9, 1987
by Tom Scott and Steve Wills

Bedford, Va. – (…) While acknowledging that the witness´s testimony ”invokes sympathy for the defendant,“ Sweeney stated in his decision that the background testimony ”cannot be used to lessen the seriousness of the crimes committed and admitted.“ Calling the case ”a grotesque monument to inappropriate response to parental hatred,” Sweeney listed three mitigating circumstances he considered in formulating his decision. Read more

Judge William W. Sweeney reads the sentence and statement to Elizabeth Haysom at the conclusion of her trial in October 1987. Judge Sweeney presided over the trials of both Elizabeth Haysom and Jens Soering.

Judge against leniency for Haysom

The Freelance Star, October 17, 1987 Bedford, Va. (AP) – Circuit Judge William Sweeney has written a letter to state Parole Board officials recommending Elizabeth Haysom serve a substantial portion of her 90-years prison sentence for the murder of her parents. Sweeney, who sentenced Miss Haysom last week, wrote Tuesday that this action was one of the few times in his 22-year judicial career that he has made such a recommendation. Read more


7. JULY 1989

LONDON

Jens Soering To Stand Double Murder Trial In Virginia

Prosecutor can´t pursue capital murder charge

The News & Daily Advance by Leslie Postal, Bedford (AP) – As they did last summer, British officials have agreed to return Jens Soering to Virginia to stand trial for murder, but now they´re invoking a U.S.-British extradition treaty that means he´ll face charges of first degree, rather than capital murder. Read more

 

Rights court rules against returning German to U.S

Wilmington Morning Star, July 8, 1989
STRASBOURG – In a landmark ruling Friday, the European Court of Human Rights said a West german must not be extradicted to the United States because he could face execution if he is convicted of a double murder. Read more

 

Court decision called “outrage”

The Register-Guard, July 9, 1989
BEDFORD – An international court´s ruling against extradition of a double-murder suspect prompted "outrage" from officials here, and a vow that capital charges won´t be dropped despite the ruling that the death penalty violates human rights. Read more

 

Britain agrees to extradite murder suspect

The News & Daily Advance, July 11, 1989 London (AP) – Jens Soering accused in the slayings of his grilfriend´s wealthy parents, will be returned to Virginia for trial on the condition that he not face capital murder charges. Read more

WSET13 Daily News Channel Virginia

Officials leave for London to fetch Soering

The News & Daily Advance, January 9, 1990 by Leslie Postal, Bedford (AP) – All systems finally seemed ready to go in Jens Soering´s long-delayed extradition as Sheriff Carl H. Wells flew to London Monday to retriever Bedford´s most-wanted murder suspect. Wells and U.S. Marshall Wayne Beaman left Roanoke Regional Airport on a 4 p.m. flight Monday and after switching plains in Charlotte, N.C. were due to arrive in Great Britian this morning. They planned to return to Virginia with the 23-year old Soering at the end of the week. Read more

Capital Murder Charge Against Soering Stands

The Daily Progress, 1990 by Leslie Postal, Bedford (AP) – A judge has refused to drop a capital murder charge against Jens Soering, who was extradited from Great Britain on a promise that U.S. officials would seek lesser charges. Bedford County Circuit Judge William Sweeney on Tuesday denied a defense motion to dismiss the capital murder charge against Soering, who is accused of killing a Bedford County couple in 1985. Read more

12. January 1990

BEDFORD COUNTY

Soering´s Saga started with Death of parents

The News & Daily Advance, January 13, 1990

April 3, 1985 – Derek and Nancy Haysom, a prominent couple who had retired here from Nova Scotia three years earlier, are found dead in their Boonsboro home.

October 1985
– Elizabeth Haysom and her West German boyfriend, Jens Soering, leave the University of Virginia, which they both attended on prestigious scholarships, and go abroad. The Bedford Sheriff’s Department has still not made any arrests in the case. Friends said later that Haysom and Soering fled when investigators began questioning them about the slayings.

April 1986 – More than a year after the slayings, British authorities arrest Haysom and Soering on charges of bank fraud. When British police enter their names in the Interpol computer system, they find they are wanted for questioning in Bedford.

June 1986
– Bedford investigators fly to England to inverview Haysom, then 22, and Soering, then 19, who are being held in a British prison. The pair confess to the murders.

June 13, 1986 – A Bedford grand jury indicts the couple. Haysom faces two counts of first-degree murder; Soering one count of capital murder and two counts of first-degree murder. Bedford officials begin the process of extraditing them from Great Britain to stand trial in Bedford.

December 1986
– Haysom and Soering plead guilty to bank fraud in a British Court and are sentenced to one year in prison, most of which they have already served. Read more



Ex-UVa Student Soering Returned For Murder Trial

The Daily Progress, January 18, 1990

Jens Soering leaves the plane after his flight to the USA from England in January 1989.

Roanoke – A West German diplomat’s son was flown from London to Virginia on Friday to go on trial for the 1985 stabbing deaths of his girlfriend’s parents, a prominent Bedford County couple. Jens Soering, who bragged shortly after he was caught in London, that the "yokels" back in Bedford would never bring him to trial, arrived at Roanoke Regional Airport on a commercial airliner near dusk Friday. Soering was handcuffed and escorted into a U.S. marshal's vehicle waiting on the tarmac, where access was denied to the score of photographers and reporters awaiting the suspect. The return of the 23-year-old former University of Virginia student ended an extradition fight that lasted three years and went as high as the European Court of Human Rights. In a landmark ruling July 7, the court ruled that extraditing Soering would violate his human rights because he faced the death penalty. Read more

Accused murderer Jens Soering with his lawyer Richard Neaton arrived at the Bedford County Courthouse yesterday for a preliminary hearing.

Authorities want Soering´s footprints, blood sample

The News & Daily Advance, January 1990 by Leslie Postal BEDFORD A judge Wednesday ordered Jens Soering to give footprints and a blood sample to county authorities – evidence that could link him to the scene of Derek and Nancy Haysom’s 1985 murders. Bedford authorities first asked Soering for blood and footprints more than four years ago. But a few days after they made the request, Soering disappeared. Soering, a 23-year-old West German, is now in Bedford Jail facing two charges of first-degree murder in the Haysoms´ deaths. He has confessed to stabbing to death the retired couple, who were his girlfriend’s parents. But his attorneys have said he will plead not guilty when he goes on trial March 8. At the request of Bedford's prosecutor, Circuit Judge William W. Sweeney ordered Soering to give the Bedford Sheriff's Department a blood sample, a hair sample, footprints.. Read more

Judge rules to allow cameras in the courtroom

The News Daily Advance, 1990

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Haysom Will Testify During Soering Trial

The News Virginian, 1990

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Soering´s lawyers ask judge to bar sock-print evidence

The Daily Progress, March 18, 1990

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4. JUNE 1990

BEDFORD COUNTY

Son of West German diplomat starts trial

Star News, June 4, 1990 BEDFORD, Va. - After years of international legal wrangling, the U.S. murder trial of a West German diplomat's son accused of slashing his girlfriend's wealthy parents to death has no more obstacles. Jens Soering, 23, is accused of killing Derek and Nancy Haysom in March 1985 with help from their daughter because they opposed the romance. He goes on trial this week before the local "yokels" he once bragged would never bring him back (...) Soering is the son of Klaus Soering, a diplomat previously serving as vice consul at the West German Consulate in Detroit. Read more


James Updike with luminol-produced sock-food-prints as vital evidence.

Bloody footprint may link Soering to murder scene

The News & Daily Advance, 1990 by Leslie Postal – BEDFORD, VA. (PA) A state evidence expert says it is "highly probable" Jens Soering left the bloody footprints police found at the scene of Derek and Nancy Haysom's 1985 murders. According to a laboratory report filed in court Tuesday, a print of Soering's right foot corresponds "to a high degree of similarity" with a right foot impression left in blood on the Haysoms' living room floor. Police photographed the bloody impression, made by a socked foot, shortly after the Haysoms were found stabbed to death in their Boonsboro home. Read more

 

Soering Case Investigator Testifies

The Daily Progress, March 2, 1990 by Leslie Postal

BEDFORD (AP) - A Bedford County sheriff's investigator testified Thursday that Jens Soering never asked investigators to stop interrogating him so he could get an attorney and was not threatened by British detectives. Soering's defense attorneys have said their client's statements to police in 1986 were not voluntary and should not be considered during his trial in June. Authorities have said that Soering, a former student at the University of Virginia, confessed to the 1985 stabbing deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom during six interviews over a four-day period in June 1986, while he was being held in a prison outside London. Investigator R.W. Gardner – who together with two London police detectives took Soering´s statement four years ago – testified for nearly four hours Thursday during a hearing on a defense motion to throw out the alleged confession. Defense attorneys Rick Neaton and William Cleaveland have said Soering asked several times during the 1986 questioning to have an American attorney but was not given one – and the questioning was continued. Read more


WSET13 Daily News Channel Virginia

Murder Setting Described On Tape

The Free Lance-Star, June 7, 1990 by David Reed

Jens Soering confessed to the murders to Kenneth Beever but suggested that he killed in self-defense after Haysom attacked him.

BEDFORD, Va. (AP) - In the first two hours of Jens Soering's taped interrogations, he said he confronted his girlfriend's parents the night they were slain over their opposition to his relationship with their daughter. In the second two hours, which jurors were to hear today, Soering said Derek and Nany Haysom were dead when he left. But Soering, questioned by investigators in a British prison refused reportedly to admit that he fatally stabbed the Bedford County couple. Soering, 23, is accused of killing the Haysoms in 1985 because they wanted him to stop seeing their only daughter, Elizabeth, who was Soering's girlfriend at the University of Virginia.  Soering now says Miss Haysom killed her parents and convinced him to falsely confess to protect her. British investigators also read excerpts Wednesday of letters between Soering and Miss Haysom confiscated after they fled Virginia and were arrested on check fraud charges in London. In the letters, Miss Haysom talks about how she hated her parents and wished they were dead, once talking about using "voodoo" on them. Read more

Medical evidence given in trial

The Free Lance-Star - June 6, 1990
by David Reed
BEDFORD, Va. (AP) – A taped interrogation of Jens Soering shortly before he fled the country showed how he put off an investigator trying to get him to provide footprint and blood samples, now key pieces of evidence against him. Testimony began in Soering's murder trial Tuesday with witnesses describing how the bodies of Derek and Nancy Haysom were found and the multiple stab wounds and throat slashings that killed them in March 1985. Read more

Laywers: Confessions should be suppressed

The News Daily Advance, February 6, 1990 by Leslie Postal – BEDFORD - Jens Soering's attorneys want statements, which include confessions, their client made to Bedford authorities four years ago barred from his upcoming trial, according to a motion filed Monday.  Defense attorneys Richard A. Neaton and William H. Cleaveland asked a judge to suppress the statements the 23-year-old West German gave while a prisoner in Great Britain, arguing they were coerced and made because he thought his girlfriend was in danger. Read more

Soering: Coercion caused confession

The News & Daily Advance, March 3, 1990 by Leslie Postal – BEDFORD - Jens Soering, on the witness stand for the first time, said Friday he implicated himself in the Haysom murders because he thought if he did not cooperate with police his girlfriend would be harmed. Soering, both eager to explain his views and apologetic that his accent was difficult for the court reporter to understand, said everything he told police in June 1986 was said under duress. Authorities have said that in those interviews, held over a four-day period, Soering confessed to the 1985 stabbing deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom. But Friday, Soering, a 23-year-old West German national, said investigators "railroaded" him into making ineriminating statements by threatening his girlsfriend, the Haysom´daughter, Elizabeth, and denying his repeated requests to speak with an attotney. Read more

WSET13 Daily News Channel Virginia

Haysom Testifies in Soering Trial

The Free Lance-Star, June 14, 1990 by David Reed

Elizabeth Haysom stating that her former lover Jens Soering murdered her parents.

"...he said he killed my parents. He said my father just wouldn't lie down and die."

Elizabeth Haysom testimony

Haysom describes plot

BEDFORD, Va. (AP) - Elizabeth Haysom, an accomplished playwright and actress in her boarding school days, testified that she and Jens Soering created "a little skit" to prepare for her parents' murders.  Miss Haysom said Wednesday that she and Soering plotted the foul play during a weekend trip to Washington and that he drove to her parents' house and stabbed them to death while she created alibis. Miss Haysom, who is scheduled to continue her testimony for the prosecution today, said she found out that her boyfriend had carried out the plan when he picked her up in a rental car outside a movie theater, their designated meeting place. The scene began with him opening the passenger side door to let her in. "The light went on and Jens was sitting there with a white sheet... draped over him and it had a large quantity of blood on it. I said to him, "Oh my God. What's happened? Are you all right?" 'He told me to shut up and close the door.'" Miss Haysom testified in a refined British accent. Read more

Jens Soering gasps in disbelief at Elizabeth Haysom´s testimony.

"I believe he killed my parents out of love for me."

Elizabeth Haysom testimony

4. SEPTEMBER 1990

Bedford County

Soering Guilty in Murder Trial

Former U.Va. scholar convicted; jury recommends two life terms

University of Virginia, JUne 21, 1990

WSET13 Daily News Channel Virginia

Jury finds Jens Soering guilty

The Roanoke Times, June 21, 1990 by Monica Davey – Jens Soering was convicted Thursday on two counts of first-degree murder for the 1985 stabbing deaths of his girlfriend's parents. A jury of six men and six women deliberated for slightly less than four hours Thursday afternoon before sentencing the 23-year-old former University of Virginia honor student to two life sentences in prison - the maximum punishment possible. Bedford Circuit Court Judge William Sweeney will formally impose Soering's sentence once a pre-sentence report is submitted. Soering, his cheeks flushed, sat motionless in his chair as the verdicts were read. Blinking behind his thick glasses, Soering showed no reaction afterward. Usually talkative, he whispered only a few words to his attorneys. When Judge Sweeney asked if Soering knew of any reason the judge should not pronounce judgment on him, Soering shrugged his shoulders and said, "I am innocent." 

 

 

Soering maintained throughout the trial that it was his girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, who killed her parents March 30, 1985, and then persuaded him to confess to it. He testified that he took the blame for the killings to protect Haysom from death in the electric chair in case she were caught. But Haysom, who is serving 90 years in prison for helping to plot the killings, testified that it was Soering who drove to her parents' Boonsboro cottage while she created an alibi for him in Washington, D.C.
On April 3, 1985, a family friend found Derek Haysom, 72, with a slit throat and 39 stab wounds. Haysom was a retired steel executive. Nancy Haysom, 53, also had a slit throat and was stabbed eight times. Elizabeth Haysom said she manipulated Soering into despising her parents as she did because they tried to control her and did not approve of her relationship with Soering. Read more

After less than four hours of deliberation, a Bedford County jury on June 21 convicted former U.Va. Jefferson and Echols Scholar Jens Soering of the first-degree murders of his former girlfriend's parents. The jury recommended that Soering be sentenced to two life terms in prison for the March 30, 1985 stabbings of Derek and Nancy Haysom. Soering, the son of a West German diplomat, will be sentenced on Aug. 29 by Bedford County Circuit Court Judge William Sweeney. He would be eligible for parole in 20 years if the jury's recommendation is followed. The 23-year-old Soering, who had pleaded not guilty, showed no emotion as a court clerk read the verdict. When Sweeney asked Soering if there was any reason not to pass judgment immediately, Soering responded, "I'm innocent." Defense attorney Richard Neaton said Soering has not decided whether to appeal. The six-man, six-woman jury began deliberating about 3 p.m. on June 21 after viewing nearly 400 pieces of evidence during the course of the two-week trial... Read more

 


Jens Soering was convicted of the deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom in June 1990. Elizabeth Haysom was found guilty of accessory to murder in 1987. She remains incarcerated at a women’s prison in Fluvanna County.

Soering jurors: Never a doubt about his guilt

The Free Lance-Star, June 23, 1990

Read more

1995

Richmond

Va. court denies new murder trial

The Free Lance-Star, March 17, 1992 

RICHMOND (AP) - The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled Jens Soering is not due a new trial on charges he murdered his girlfriend's parents.  The one-paragraph Supreme Court order ends Soering's state court appeals of his murder convictions for the 1985 stabbing deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom. Soering was sentenced to two life terms in prison. Soering had argued the jury that convicted him should not have heard a confession he made to British police. Soering had signed, however, five different forms waiving his rights of self-incrimination during the interrogations. The Haysoms' daughter, Elizabeth, pleaded guilty in 1987 to being an accessory to the murders of her parents and was sentenced to 90 years in prison.
Read more

Haysom case viewed for possible parole

The Free Lance-Star, April 5, 1995
GOOCHLAND (AP) - Elizabeth Haysom, sentenced to 90 years in prison as an accessory to the 1985 slayings of her parents, is eligible for parole on Aug. 7. Incarcerated since her arrest in London in 1986, Haysom, who will turn 31 next week, was to be interviewed today by a Virginia Parole Board examiner. She must be released under mandatory parole by June 20, 2032. Haysom's one-time lover, Jens Soering, was convicted of the murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom in their Bedford County home. One of her half-brothers, Howard Haysom, has written to the state Parole Board opposing her early release. Another half-brother, Richard Haysom, thinks she should be freed, but not this soon. Read more

Parole Board denies Haysom early release

Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 24, 1995 by Carlos Santos – Elizabeth Haysom, a former University of Virginia scholar sentenced to 90 years in prison for the murder of her parents 10 years ago, was notified yesterday that she had been turned down for parole. It was her first parole hearing.The parole board also deferred her next parole hearing for three years, the maximum amount allowed by law, according to Mindy Daniels, executive assistant to the chairman of the Virginia Parole Board. Haysom admitted to conspiring with her boyfriend, Jens Soering -- then also a top student at U.Va. -- to kill her parents. Haysom, 31, is being held at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland County. She has served about eight years in prison. Read more

Elizabeth Haysom 1987 and Jens Soering 1990.

Killer proclaims innocence on Internet

The Free Lance-Star, November 29, 1995 LYNCHBURG (AP) - Jens Soering, the son of a German diplomat serving two life sentences for the murder of his girlfriend's parents, claims he took the rap for the murders to save the girlfriend's life. In a 150-page document available on the Internet, Soering said he thought the diplomatic immunity of his father would also protect him, so he took the blame for the brutal 1985 murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom.

"Because I thought my diplomatic passport made me invulnerable, I played the role of Macbeth the murderer to save my girlfriend's life. I should have told the truth! But because of my foolishness, I will almost certainly die as an old man in prison. I could have saved my own life, but I failed," he writes.

The Haysoms were found stabbed to death April 4, 1985 in their home near Lynchburg. Their daughter, Elizabeth Haysom disappeared with Soering. The couple were arrested a year later in London on bad check charges. Letters found in their rented flat gave Bedford County authorities grounds to file murder charges against them.

Elizabeth Haysom, who met Soering while both were honorary students at the University of Virginia is currently serving a 90-year sentence at the Goochland Correctional Center. She pleaded guilty to two counts of accessory to murder. Read more

1996

Virginia

Trial and Error

The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, VA, January 21, 1996 by Ian Zack

Someone slashed Derek Haysom so many times that his head hung from his neck by strands of flesh.  His wife, Nancy, died from at least two knife wounds in her chest and throat. On that, everyone agrees. But did Jens Soering, a bookish, German-born University of Virginia freshman, grip the knife that killed the Lynchburg-area couple nearly 11 years ago?  Or did he implicate himself to cover for their daughter, Elizabeth Haysom, his charismatic and troubled girlfriend? At least one prominent Virginia attorney is convinced that Soering is an innocent man. Gail Starling Marshall, an adjunct professor at UVa and former state deputy attorney general, thinks a Bedford County jury wrongly convicted Soering for the March 30, 1985, killings that stunned the rural region and captivated many other Virginians with six years of legal drama. Marshall, recently a candidate for a federal judgeship, is so sure of Soering's innocence she is willing to stake her considerable reputation on it.

Gail Starling Marshall, former state deputy attorney general

"I'm just convinced beyond any doubt that he did not commit the murders,"

Gail Marshall about Jens Soering

Marshall said of Soering, now 29 and serving two consecutive life terms at the Keen Mountain Correctional Center in Southwest Virginia. Marshall believes the evidence supports the story told by Soering during and since his sensational, televised 1990 trial:  Elizabeth Haysom, and possibly an accomplice, killed her parents at their Boonsboro home without Soering's knowledge; Soering is guilty only of trying to protect Haysom from the electric chair. In an appeal filed in December before the Virginia Supreme Court, Marshall claims:Soering's original defense attorney was suffering emotional problems and failed to attack key evidence, including a bloody sock print prosecutors needed to place Soering at the murder scene. A biased judge and a prejudiced jury violated Soering's constitutional rights. Investigators coerced a false confession from Soering, which the judge never should have admitted at trial. Read more

Va. high court orders review of case

The Free Lance-Star, June 21, 1996
by Larry O´Dell
RICHMOND - The Virginia Supreme Court has ordered to determine whether prosecutors withheld evidence that someone other than Jens Soering could have killed his girlfriend's parents. The court rejected several other claims raised by Soering, including one that he had ineffective legal representation during his trial for the 1985 stabbing deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom. Soering, the son of a German diplomat, was convicted in 1990 of murdering the Haysoms in their Bedford County home. (...) In a two-page order made public Thursday, the Supreme Court directed Bedford County Circuit Court to consider the claim of withheld evidence. No hearing date has been set. Read more

Killer´s lawyer suspended for mishandling case

The Fre Lance-Star, July 25, 1996
CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) - The attorney who defended Jens Soering, a former University of Virginia honors student convicted of the 1985 murders of his girlfriend's parents, has been suspended from practicing law in Michigan for mishandling portions of Soering's case. (...) Last November, Soering filed a series of misconduct charges against Neaton, who was licensed in Michigan but received a special waiver to handle Soering's trial. The discipline board concluded that Neaton failed to competently handle Soering's habeas corpus appeal following his trial, misappropriated $5,000 of Soering's funds, lied to Soering about obtaining witnesses and refused to turn over files to Soering once Soering decided to drop Neaton as, his attorney. Read more

Convicted killer says lost prints could free him

The Free Lance-Star, December 6, 1996 CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) - Fingerprints taken at a 1985 murder scene in Bedford County have been lost, and the man convicted of the killing believes they could prove his innocence. The lost fingerprints are important because they could point to another suspect, Jens Soering told the Daily Progress in a telephone interview. (…) Soering contends Miss Haysom, possibly with help, killed her parents. John H. McLees Jr., an assistant attorney general, said Wednesday that one of four cards containing unidentified prints from the crime scene has been lost. "There is one set of latent, unidentified fingerprints that were examined at the time and cannot be found at this time," McLees said. Read more

1998

Richmond

Arguments made for new trail in slaying case

The Free Lance-Star, February 28, 1998 by Zinie Chen RICHMOND –A lawyer for a man who confessed to fatally slashing his girlfriend's parents told the state Supreme Court that her client should get to show a jury evidence prosecutors failed to turn over for his trial. Jens Soering's trial lawyers had a right to know about two other possible suspects and a possible murder weapon in the April 1985 slayings of Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County, Soering's attorney, Gail S. Marshall, said Thursday. Marshall told the panel that jurors might have acquitted Soering if they had known that a Bedford County sheriff's deputy stopped two drifters a few days after the murders. Read more

During the 1990 trial, investigator Ricky Gardner uses Donna Sensabaugh, Judge William Sweeney's secretary, to demonstrate how Jens Soering killed Nancy Haysom.

Convicted killer loses U.S. appeal

The Free-Lance Star, July 2, 2000 RICHMOND - A German diplomat's son was properly convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend's parents in suburban Lynchburg, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. A unanimous three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected claims by Jens Soering, a former University of Virginia honors student, that he was illegally interrogated and that prosecutors withheld evidence crucial to his defense. Soering is serving two life sentences for stabbing Derek and Nancy Haysom to death in their home in 1985. In his appeal, Soering claimed police continued to question him after he said he did not want to be interrogated unless his lawyer was present. Read more

2003

Richmond

Unparoled Soering Maintains Innocence In Haysom Slayings

Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 13, 2003 by Carlos Santos

LAWRENCEVILLE - Jens Soering, the brilliant University of Virginia scholar imprisoned for a notorious 1985 double murder, is now a devout Catholic and intellectual Bible-thumper, anxiously awaiting the debut of his book on spiritual freedom as well as his first shot at worldly freedom. Soering's 250-plus-page book about an ancient form of Christian meditation called centering prayer, written from prison in longhand, is scheduled to be published in October by Lantern Books. The book is titled "The Way of the Prisoner." His interview for a possible release on discretionary parole, the first in his 17 years behind bars, is scheduled for this week. Soering's convictions occurred before parole was abolished in 1995.

Jens Soering (right) still insists he is serving time for murder committed by his former girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom (left).

"I can't close myself off to the possibility of a miracle" of being freed, Soering said in a recent interview at the Brunswick Correctional Center, a medium-security prison in Lawrenceville. "Is it realistic? Probably not. God has freed me in a way that's meaningful to me and through my writing to others. But he may well choose to free me physically as well." Much of Soering's prison day is now spent in prayer, reading and writing - especially about his spiritual transformation, prison reform and occasionally his own professed innocence. "On a purely worldly level there's a continuing injustice going on in my life," he said. "I'm incarcerated for a crime I did not commit."
Read more

From Prison, Haysom  writes for local puplication

Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 13, 2003 by Carlos Santos

Elizabeth Haysom, now 39, is locked away at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, where she apparently spends much of her time reading and writing. She doesn't spend time talking to the media, unlike her former lover, Jens Soering, who has used the Internet, media interviews and books to deny murdering Haysom's parents in 1985. Haysom freely admitted her guilt as an accessory to the murder of her parents, saying she encouraged Soering to kill Derek and Nancy Haysom, who she felt controlled her life. As part of a plea bargain, she was sentenced to 90 years in prison. "In some ways I'm more guilty than he is," Haysom once told a detective.

 

 

"He loved me beyond reason. I loved him beyond reason. I used that love to put him in this position."

At her sentencing hearing in 1987, the judge called her sensitive, gifted, poised, intelligent an articulate. He also called her a liar, a cheat, a manipulator and a drug addict. A written request for an interview was answered by Haysom with a short note, illustrated with a picture of an African village cut from a magazine, politely declining a chance to talk about the murders or Soering. But Haysom does have a public face. She is a columnist now, writing occasionally for the Fluvanna Review, a bimonthly publication that covers the community news in rural Fluvanna County. Read more

When Elizabeth Haysom testified against him in 1990, Jens Soering reacted in disbelief. Two juries concluded they plotted to kill her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom.

2007

Virginia

No hope for prisoner Jens Soering

The Virginian-Pilot, February 18, 2007 by Bill Sizemore

Brunswick Correctional Center inmate Jens Soering pauses as her recalls. 20 years ago, being sentenced to two life terms for the murders of Dereck and Nancy Haysom.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Va. – In some ways, prisoner No. 179212 is like so many others here at Brunswick Correctional Center. For one thing, he insists he didn't do it. For another, he's desperate to get out. But in other ways, Jens Soering stands apart from most of the Virginia prison system's 31,000 inmates. And not just because he is serving a double life sentence for a pair of grisly murders. He has attracted dozens of influential supporters - including the German ambassador to the United States and the Most Rev. Walter F. Sullivan, bishop emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.

They and others hail him as an up-and-coming theologian and prison reformer. Soering has written four books chronicling his spiritual odyssey and telling harrowing tales of life behind bars. He is featured in two documentaries now in the works and was the subject of a profile in a major German newspaper last month. A German television network is preparing a program on his story. Soering, 40, has spent more than half his life in prison. (…) The sensational case had all the elements - money, privilege, obsessive love, gruesome violence and an international flight from the authorities. It made Soering the biggest news that part of Virginia had seen in ages. Read more

2010

Richmond

Murderer Jens Soering could be sent to prison in Germany

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine agreed this week to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to approve the transfer of Jens Soering under an international treaty.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 16, 2010 by Frank Green

Governor Timothy M. Kaine 2010.

(...) Soering was given two consecutive life sentences for the first-degree murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom, who were stabbed in their Bedford County home. The son of a West German diplomat, he has been eligible for parole in Virginia since 2003 but has been turned down. Evidence at the trial showed that Soering, angry because girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom's parents wanted him to stop seeing their daughter, killed the couple after an argument at dinner. The development does not sit well with the family of Nancy Haysom.

"It is incredible that this governor would take that on himself without letting the family of the deceased know. I don't get it," said Risque Benedict of Edgewater, Md., Nancy Haysom's brother. "I am fit to be tied." Another brother, Louis Benedict of Phoenix, said: "I think the governor has pulled a fast one on us." The two said they learned of the effort Thursday but would not say how. The announcement of Kaine's action took place on his last full day in office. In a statement released yesterday, Attorney General-elect Ken Cuccinelli said (...) Read more

Jens Soering To Be Shipped Back To Germany 25 Years After Double Murder In Virginia

WDBJ7, 16. January 2010

WDBJ7, 16. January 2010 - Jens Soering To Be Shipped Back To Germany 25 Years After Double Murder In Virginia

McDonnell moves to block convicted double-murderer Soering's transfer to German prison

The Roanocke Times, January 20, 2010 by Michael Sluss – RICHMOND, Gov. Bob McDonnell, seeking to reverse a controversial decision by his predecessor, has told federal authorities that he is revoking Virginia's consent to transfer convicted double-murderer Jens Soering to a prison in his native Germany. McDonnell informed U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder of the revocation in a letter Tuesday night, saying the transfer authorization signed last week by former Gov. Tim Kaine no longer represents Virginia's position. McDonnell said he reached his conclusion after his administration consulted with the state attorney general's staff and authorities in Bedford County, where Soering was convicted for the 1985 stabbing deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom. Read more

Family members plead to keep killer in Va.

The Daily Progress, February 19, 2010, LYNCHBURG — Richard Haysom said this of the brutal 1985 slayings of his parents, Nancy and Derek Haysom: “That ignominious day was for our family, our ‘Sept. 11’ — it never goes away.” Howard Haysom said his parents’ murderer, Jens Soering, “has turned himself into a cottage industry of falsehood, criminal celebrity and evil.” Nancy Haysom’s brother, Louis Benedict, said Soering and Elizabeth Haysom, also convicted in the crime, “should remain in Virginia prisons until they both take their final breaths.” These statements are made in letters from family members sent to the U.S. attorney general to urge the federal government not to allow the transfer of Soering, a former University of Virginia student, to a German prison. The transfer was approved by former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine before he left office last month, but needs approval from the U.S. Department of Justice. Read more


Jens Soering to Stay in Virginia

Lynchburg Danville Roanoke, July 8, 2010
RICHMOND, VA - The Department of Justice has decided prisoner Jens Soering will not be leaving Virginia. Soering killed Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County in 1985 and is serving two life sentences. Just before leaving office, former Governor Tim Kaine asked for Soering to be transferred to Germany. If Soering were transferred, he would be eligible for parole in two years. A letter from US Attorney General Eric Holder to Governor Bob McDonnell dated July 6{}states, "You should be assured that it is the position of the United States Department of Justice that Jens Soering will not be considered for transfer to Germany unless and until the Commonwealth of Virginia provides clear and unambiguous consent to such a transfer." Read more

Governor Bob McDonnell 2010.

"I believe that as the Governor of Virginia, with custody of Jens Soering, I am responsible for ensuring that justice is done. It is imperative that Soering serve out his punishment in the Commonwealth of Virginia."
Official statement by Gov. McDonnell

Jens Soering To Remain In Custody Of Commonwealth

Alexandria News, 8. July 2010

United States Attorney General Eric Holder has responded favorably to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s request to deny previous Governor Tim Kaine’s authorization for the transfer of convicted murderer Jens Soering to Germany. In his July letter to the Governor yesterday, Holder wrote: “You should be assured that it is the position of the United States Department of Justice that Jens Soering will not be considered for transfer to Germany unless and until the Commonwealth of Virginia provides clear and unambiguous consent to such a transfer.”

Soering was convicted of the March, 1985, double murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom in their Bedford County home. He is currently serving a double life sentence. Regarding former Governor Tim Kaine’s request that Soering be transferred to Germany, Holder wrote: “Here, of course, former Governor Kaine consented to the transfer of Jens Soering. You have withdrawn that consent. From a federal perspective, that withdrawal is controlling.” Read more

Murderer Jens Soering's parole spurned again by Virginia

The Roanoke Times, August 17, 2010, By Rex Bowman

Jens Soering, one of Virginia’s most notorious prisoners, has been denied parole for the sixth time. In a letter to The Roanoke Times, Soering said he was informed last week that, once again, the state’s five-member parole board has deemed him unfit for early release. Helen Fahey, chairwoman of the board, confirmed Wednesday that Soering has been denied parole. Soering, 44, has been in prison for 24 years, serving two life sentences for the 1985 murders of his girlfriend's parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom of Bedford County. The parole denial comes a month after the U.S. Justice Department said it would not act


“I don’t feel I’m able to get a fair hearing, Helen Fahey has made it very clear that she does not consider me suitable for parole.”

 

Jens Soering

“We look at every case individually, and we look at all the factors, the crime itself is the most important factor.”

Helen Fahey, chairwoman of the parole board

on the German government’s request to send Soering to a German prison, where he could be eligible for release after two years. Soering, a student at the University of Virginia at the time of the Haysoms’ murder, is the son of a German diplomat. Soering’s effort to get to Germany infuriated Bedford residents and members of the Haysom family and also prompted an outcry from Virginia politicians, including Gov. Bob McDonnell. In a prison interview last month, Soering said he now pins his hopes for freedom on parole. He said he doesn’t anticipate being released as long as Fahey is chairwoman of the parole board. Read more

2011

Richmond

New evidence in Soering Case

Soering's ex says he is guilty; new letter sent to governor

The Daily Progress, March 23, 2011 by Dena Potter

RICHMOND – A former German diplomat’s son who is serving life in prison for killing two people is hoping new evidence will win his parole. Meanwhile, the woman convicted of helping him kill her parents maintains they are both guilty and belong in prison.

On Monday, an attorney for Jens Soering mailed Gov. Bob McDonnell the sworn statement of a Lynchburg man who says Elizabeth Haysom and another man brought a bloody car into his transmission shop months after her parents were killed in 1985. In the documents and in an interview, Tony Buchanan says he has attempted to tell others about the visit over the years, but nothing came of it. Buchanan’s statement is the latest in a series of new evidence Soering’s attorneys have produced in an attempt to win his freedom.
Last month, they sent McDonnell a 2009 DNA test on decades-old biological evidence from the scene of the fatal stabbing that excluded both Soering and Haysom as suspects. Experts have said the DNA tests are not proof of innocence. Long out of appeals, Soering is asking McDonnell to parole him and deport him back to Germany.

He came close to returning there last year when former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine approved a request days before he left office to transfer Soering to a German prison, where he could have been free after two years. McDonnell rescinded that approval when he took office, and the federal government refused the transfer.Soering said he understands that granting him a pardon would be politically unpopular, which is why he’s asking only to be paroled and sent home. He has been eligible for parole since 2003. “I am not trying to make any more of a nuisance of myself than I absolutely have to,” said Soering, 44, in an interview at Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn. “I need to go home. I know I didn’t do this. I don’t need Virginia to tell me I didn’t do it.” In a letter to the AP from Haysom, who has declined media interviews since being sentenced to 90 years in prison for her role in the slaying of her parents, she said Soering’s claims that he is innocent are false. Read more

Elizabeth Haysom 1987 and Jens Soering 1985 (almanac picture).

“I am fully aware of the layers of my guilt, of my culpability, of betrayals to my family and to Jens,” Haysom wrote. “If he were innocent, if he were in any way not guilty, I would shout it from the roof tops.”
Statement Elitabeth Haysom

Jens Soering Thinks Politics Part of Parole Denial

WSET13 Daily News Channel Virginia, 5. August 2011

Gov. McDonnell won't recommend parole for diplomat's son

ABC 7 WJLA, May 25, 2011 – RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday he will not recommend parole for a former German diplomat's son who is serving two life sentences for killing his ex-girlfriend's parents. Jens Soering, 44, asked McDonnell to intervene in his parole petition, citing new DNA tests and other evidence that he claimed proved his innocence. McDonnell said he had reviewed the information but believes Soering is guilty. Both Soering and then-girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom confessed to the 1985 murder of her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom, who were stabbed and nearly decapitated in their Bedford County home. Soering later said he only did so because he thought he had immunity through his father and wanted to protect Haysom from the death penalty. Read more

WSET13 Daily News Channel Virginia, 5. August 2011, Jens Soering Thinks Politics Part of Parole Denial

2013

Virginia

Soering: Back in the Spotlight

WTF Radio Series 2013 by Sandy Hausmann

Back in the Spotlight

WTF Radio, October 28, 2013
Virginia’s parole board is again considering the case of Jens Soering, a UVA honors student from Germany, convicted of killing his girlfriend’s parents in 1985. Soering has been behind bars for 27 years, but in certain circles there are persistent doubts, and his story remains in the news.  In part one of our series, Sandy Hausmann looks back at the case. Listen now

Doubts, Politics & Possible Parole

WTF Radio, October 29, 2013
Four years ago, then Governor Tim Kaine was talking with the Justice Department about transferring Jens Soering back to his homeland, Germany. A jury had found the former UVA honors student guilty of killing his girlfriend’s parents in Bedford County. Jens at first confessed to the crime, then said he did so only to protect the actual killer – the woman he loved. (...) The case against Jens Soering was based on his confession to the brutal murder of Derek and Nancy Haysom, but DNA technology was not yet available to police, and there was no physical evidence that proved he was the killer. An FBI-trained technician did compare Soering’s  foot print with a bloody sock print at the Haysom’s home, but Gail Marshall, a lawyer who led Soering’s appeal, says that was pseudo-science. Listen now

Why a Convicted Killer Could Be Paroled

WTF Radio, November 3, 2013
Soering is eligible for parole, and 150 members of the German Parliament have signed a petition asking that he be released.  Many wrote to Governor Bob McDonnel to press their demand, but MP Christophe Straesser says he didn’t respond. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get any answer, and this is not a very good signal for the cooperation between two states that are good friends.” Hear Sandy Hausman's full interview with Jens Soering, by telephone at the Buckingham Correctional Center. Listen now

New Turns in Infamous Virginia Case

WTF Radio, October 30, 2013
Since his trial in 1990, former UVA honors student Jens Soering has maintained he did not kill his girlfriend’s parents – a prominent couple from Bedford County, though initially he did confess to the crimes. But after he was convicted, new information came out, and the German government asked Virginia to send Soering – a German citizen – home. Listen now

 

 

Politics & Diplomacy Could Set Him Free

WTF Radio, November 1, 2013
The Virginia Parole Board has, again, refused to release Jens Soering, a former honors student from the University of Virginia, convicted of killing his girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom’s parents with a knife.  She is also behind bars as an accomplice to the gruesome crime.  Both have been model prisoners, and both are eligible for parole or a pardon from the governor. Pressure from Soering’s homeland, Germany, is building, and some prominent people here in Virginia question his guilt (...) The Soering case has received tremendous media attention in Germany, has inspired a stage play, and next year, German theaters will screen "The Promise" – a documentary on the subject. Listen now

2015

New York

Blood Ties – A College Romance That Led To Murder

Two brilliant college lovers were convicted of a brutal slaying. All these years later, why has the case become a cause?

The New Yorker, November 9, 2015 by Nathan Heller

The door was locked but the light outside was burning bright, and when the three women arrived for bridge with Mr. Haysom they were puzzled to find no one answering the bell. The cars were in the driveway. Though it was daytime, the porch lamp by the door had been left on. It was April 3, 1985, and the neighborhood was quiet. The women called Annie Massie, a friend who had a spare key, in case something had befallen their bridge partner or his wife.

Holcomb Rock Road, where Derek and Nancy Haysom lived, snaked through central Virginia and into the hilly deep woods around Lynchburg. Derek, seventy-two, was a South African engineer. He had met Nancy, an American, known as Cita, in Johannesburg when they were both divorced. They’d joined their families, and, in 1964, they had their only child together, Elizabeth, raised in Nova Scotia, where Derek ran a steel mill. The house on Holcomb Rock Road, which they’d bought a few years earlier for retirement, was modest, but it had a tennis court, a swimming pool, and a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nancy dubbed the place Loose Chippings, after a British phrase for scattered gravel on the road.

When Massie entered the house, she found the Haysoms sprawled on the ground, caked in gore. Derek Haysom was on his side near a doorway, an arm stretched out before him. Nancy Haysom was in the kitchen, traced in crimson whirls, as if someone had wiped the blood around her like Windex on glass. Both bodies were ragged with stab wounds, and their necks had been cut nearly from ear to ear.

Officers soon swarmed the scene. Loose Chippings had a Lynchburg mailing address but sat in Bedford County, outside town. Though the crimes were in the jurisdiction of the county sheriff’s office, a task force from central Virginia joined the case. Chuck Reid and Ricky Gardner, investigators from Bedford, set out to discover what the neighbors knew. Gardner, then twenty-nine, had never worked a homicide before.
The house revealed no indication of forced entry. On the dining-room table were place settings and the remnants of a meal. No weapon could be found, but there were footprints in the blood. One looked to have been made by a tennis shoe, and two more by a sock. Forensic study showed that the Haysoms had blood-alcohol levels of .22—exceedingly high. A vodka bottle nearby carried fingerprints, as did a shot glass. Four blood types were in evidence: the Haysoms’ A and AB, a bit of B blood on a damp rag, and, on the screen door and in the master suite, spots of O.

DNA analysis was largely unavailable in 1985, but, from these samples, it was possible to reconstruct a sequence of events. At some point between March 29th and 31st, the killer or killers had arrived at Loose Chippings, probably during a meal. Someone, it seemed, had sat down at the table with the Haysoms to eat. A trail of blood suggested that Derek Haysom was attacked there, and stumbled across the dining room as he bled. A bloody palm print on a side chair showed where he’d put a hand down, as if struggling to stay upright; his killer had pursued him. Read more

Jens Soering renews push for return to Germany with outreach to Gov. Terry McAuliffe

The Ranoke Times, November 5, 2015
by Alicia Petska
– Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office confirmed Thursday it is reviewing a request to return convicted murderer Jens Soering to his native Germany. Soering — who maintains he’s innocent in the 1985 slayings of Derek and Nancy Haysom of Bedford County — has fought for years to be paroled or sent back to his home country.
His campaign has gained some high-profile support from German officials. In 2010, departing Gov. Tim Kaine caused an uproar when he decided to support the endeavor and ask the U.S. Department of Justice to transfer Soering. Incoming Gov. Bob McDonnell revoked the request during his first week in office. Kaine, now a U.S. senator, hasn’t broached the issue with McAuliffe, according to a spokeswoman, and isn’t involved in any efforts to repatriate Soering. McAuliffe’s office said Thursday the administration received a request from Soering last year and has been reviewing the case. Read more

McAuliffe’s dilemma: Will he support McDonnell or Kaine in Jens Soering case?

Cville, November 18, 2015 by Lisa Provence (...) Two matters are now pending for Soering. He went before the parole board a couple of months ago for the 11th time and has not gotten a decision. “It’s very unusual for the parole board to take this long,” says Rosenfield. The repatriation request has been pending before Governor McAuliffe for a long time as well, he says. “That’s not unusual because it’s a highly political issue,” Rosenfield says. “The governor is faced with a dilemma of either supporting the decision of Republican Governor McDonnell or Democratic Governor Kaine.” A spokesperson for Kaine says, “When he was governor, Senator Kaine recommended that Jens Soering be transferred into the German penal system and never be allowed to set foot again in the U.S. He has had no involvement in the case since January 2010 and would not presume to advise Governor McAuliffe on it.” McAuliffe spokesperson Brian Coy says there is no timetable for a decision. “The process is underway and we will make an announcement when it is complete.” Read more


McAuliffe May Approve Transfer of German Convict

WTF Radio, November 21, 2015 by Sandy Hausmann – Virginia’s parole  board has, again, refused to release a German man who’s been locked up in state prisons for nearly 30 years.  Jens Soering was convicted of killing his girlfriend’s parents while he and Elizabeth Haysom were students at the University of Virginia. He maintains he is innocent, and supporters are asking Governor Terry McAuliffe to send Soering back to Germany. Sandy Hausman has details (...) Since Soering’s conviction, some have argued the crime was committed by Haysom, a victim of child abuse, with the help of another man and another car.  Whatever the case, Soering  has been a model prisoner, and has written nine books on theology and prison reform, so Marshall thinks Virginia should  honor a treaty with Germany and send him back.
Read more


“We are now spending over $27,000 a year to keep him in prison. Virginia is in no way compromised or harmed by letting Germany take over the responsibility for this man.”

Gail Marshall, Deputy Attorney General in Virginia


GOP legislators urge McAuliffe to reject prison transfer

The Washington Post, December 7, 2015 by Laura Vozzella

RICHMOND — Eighteen Republican state legislators are urging Gov. Terry McAuliffe to keep a German diplomat’s son behind bars in Virginia, where he is serving two life sentences for a 1985 double murder. McAuliffe (D) is considering whether to allow Jens Soering to transfer to a prison in his native Germany. In 2010, in one of his last acts as governor, Timothy M. Kaine (D) agreed to allow Soering to transfer to a prison in Germany, where he would have been eligible for parole after two years. But the planned prisoner transfer was promptly halted by his successor, then-Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). Soering was convicted in the killings of his then-girlfriend’s parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom of Bedford County, in central Virginia. After news leaked last month that Soering had asked McAuliffe to approve his transfer, a group of Republican delegates wrote to the governor to ask that he turn down the request.

Their letter, first reported by the Roanoke Times, was signed by every Republican member of the House Courts of Justice Committee, including Del. Robert B. Bell (Albemarle), who announced last week that he will run for Virginia attorney general in 2017.

 

“His release to Germany would ... significantly undermine the integrity of Virginia’s criminal justice system and would demonstrate that the justice system provides benefits to the powerful and well connected that are not available to minorities and the less fortunate,” the letter says. “Under Virginia’s system of truth in sentencing, life without parole should mean just that.”

McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy declined to comment on the letter but said Soering’s request remains under consideration. Read more

Will Jens Soering Get to Go home?

The New Yorker, December 10, 2015 by Nathan Heller

Last month, I published a piece in the magazine, “Blood Ties,” about one of the strangest murder stories I’ve ever encountered. The crime, committed in the spring of 1985, entailed the brutal slaughter of a married couple in late middle age, just outside Lynchburg, Virginia. Half a year after the events, the police conducted their first interview with Jens Soering, a German scholarship student at the University of Virginia who was dating the murdered couple’s daughter, Elizabeth Haysom. Soering and Haysom fled after the interview, and travelled across Europe and Asia. When they were captured, in London, for unrelated check frauds, a detective and a prosecutor from Virginia flew to the U.K. to question them. This time, under sustained interrogation, with no lawyer present, Soering offered a confession for the murders. Although he later rescinded the account, saying that he had been trying to protect Haysom—she was actually the killer, he said—he was tried, found guilty, and given two life sentences. Habeas-corpus petitions brought no relief, and, since 1990, he has served his time in state prisons. Haysom, who pleaded guilty as an accessory before the fact, is also incarcerated, with a ninety-year sentence. Both Haysom and Soering have written books and articles from behind bars.

Recently, a curious political drama erupted in the wake of this old case. Soering has long held that he’s innocent. Like Haysom, he has never been paroled. Seeking avenues of redress in the late two-thousands, he found another possible option.

An obscure agreement of the Council of Europe meant that he could be repatriated to Germany, with the approval of Germany and Virginia. Because Soering had already served the maximum German prison time for his conviction and record, this repatriation could allow for his release on European soil. Tim Kaine, who was the governor of Virginia at the time, balked. He told Soering’s associates that he’d sign off only if additional conditions were met. Instead of a standard repatriation deal, which could mean Soering’s release in Germany, this would have to be a repatriative prison transfer, in which he was moved from a cell in the U.S. to a cell in Germany. Soering would need to stay behind German bars for at least two more years, regardless of the German sentencing norms. When these requirements were met, six years ago, Kaine authorized Soering’s repatriation. Four days later, a new governor, Robert McDonnell, took office, and he quickly repealed Kaine’s approval. Terry McAuliffe, who succeeded the now-disgraced McDonnell, is in a position to repeal the repeal, allowing Kaine’s original order to go through.

My article on the Haysom case, which traced this political Ping-Pong up to the present, ran in early November. Later in the month, answering the news that Soering was still chasing the repatriation deal approved by Kaine, a group of eighteen Republican delegates in Virginia sent McAuliffe, who is a Democrat, a letter. It urged McAuliffe not to overturn McDonnell’s repeal.

Soering’s return to Germany would “significantly undermine the integrity of Virginia’s criminal justice system,” they wrote. “Mr. Soering has not accepted responsibility for his actions or demonstrated any sense of remorse.” The Washington Post picked up news of the letter this week, applying further public scrutiny to McAuliffe’s pending decision.

The delegates’ letter is puzzling. Given what is known about the case today, a stance against repatriation is a confusing position to stake out.


For one thing, it’s the stance that benefits nobody. Neither Soering nor the German leaders eager to repatriate him get relief. Americans are not safer on the streets with Soering in a Virginia prison: as a convict and a foreign citizen, he’d be expected to be barred, on his repatriation, from ever reëntering the U.S. The overcrowded Virginia Department of Corrections doesn’t benefit from losing a rare chance to offload one of its life charges onto another country’s system. (Neither, for that matter, do the taxpayers of Virginia; by some calculations, each prisoner costs an average of $25,129 a year to hold.) Haysom does not benefit; she told me that she hoped Soering would be repatriated. At this point, neither does most of her—which is to say, the victims’—family. Those who spoke to me wanted Haysom paroled, and any stringency levelled on Soering carries onto the future of her incarceration, too. Read more

Va. governor denies convicted killer’s return to Germany

Washington Post, December 22, 2015, by Rachel Weiner and Laura Vozzella

A German diplomat’s son convicted of murder in Virginia in a case that has attracted international attention will not be allowed to go back to his native country.  Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday denied a transfer petition from Jens Soering, who is serving two life sentences for a 1985 double murder.

“The Governor and his team carefully reviewed the petition and Mr. Soering’s case and determined his trial and conviction were in accordance with Virginia law,” spokesman Brian Coy said in a statement. “Nothing else in Mr. Soering’s petition justified his transfer to Germany and his probable eventual release.”

Soering was convicted in the killings of his then-girlfriend’s parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom of Bedford County, in central Virginia. In 2010, in one of his last acts as governor, Timothy M. Kaine (D) agreed to allow Soering to transfer to a prison in Germany, where he would have been eligible for parole after two years.

But the planned prisoner transfer was promptly halted by his successor, then-Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R). Earlier this year Soering wrote to McAuliffe again asking for a transfer. The New Yorker has reported that officials in Germany, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, have raised the repatriation issue. Soering has been eligible for parole for years in the United States, but his requests have always been rejected. There was bipartisan support for blocking his transfer in 2010, with lawmakers noting that the murders were particularly grisly. Both victims had been stabbed multiple times and their throats cut from ear to ear. Prosecutors said they were killed because they disapproved of their daughter’s relationship with Soering. Soering and Elizabeth Haysom, his girlfriend when they attended the University of Virginia, fled overseas and were arrested in England. Haysom agreed to return to Virginia, but Soering fought removal. A diplomatic agreement reduced the charges against him from capital murder, for which he could have been sentenced to death, to first-degree murder. Read more

2016

Charlottesville

Charlottesville Attorney for Robert Davis Also Representing Jens Soering

NBC29 News, February 23, 2016

Charlottesville, Va (WVIR) Jens Soering, the former University of Virginia student convicted of a double murder may be looking at some reprieve. Soering is now being represented by the same attorney who represented  Robert Davis, the man freed from prison after being wrongfully convicted based on a false confession. In 1985, Soering was convicted of fatally stabbing Nancy and Derek Haysom, the parents of his then-girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom. The former German scholarship student is serving two life-term sentences for the murders, but has said his confession was false. Soering wrote to NBC29 from the Buckingham County Correctional Center soon after the Dateline NBC story highlighting the injustice toward Robert Davis aired. Davis was arrested in 2003 for the murders of Nola Charles and her 3-year-old son. After years of investigation, the governor's office determined that Davis had been wrongfully convicted based on a false confession. He was freed after serving about half of his 23 year sentence. Steven Rosenfield, the Charlottesville-based attorney who represents Davis, is now also representing Soering. Read more

NBC29, February 22, 2016, Attorney for Robert Davis also representing Jens Söring

WTF Radio Series 2016 by Sandy Hausmann

The Promise: Why Did Soering Confess?

WTF Radio, April 25, 2016 The Making of a Murderer – a documentary that aired on Netflix – cast doubt on the guilt of a man convicted of murder in Wisconsin and raised questions about law enforcement and the justice system there. Now, Virginia is coming under the microscope with a film premiering in June. The Promise is a documentary about Jens Soering, a UVA honors student from Germany who, in 1990, was convicted of fatally stabbing his girlfriend’s parents in their Bedford County home. “I never thought that Jens would murder my parents.  I thought he might do a lot of things, but to kill somebody?  I never believed he would do that to my parents.  I still can hardly believe it.  No matter what I said to him, no matter what I had written to him, he had a choice whether to kill my parents or not!” At first, Jens confessed after 16 hours of interrogation over four days. German journalist and filmmaker Karin Steinberger says she has heard a recording of that confession. She says, “You can hear that he is struggling, and you know in this confession there are mistakes – big mistakes.” Listen now

Proving a False Confession: Soering Insists He's Innocent

WTF Radio, April 25, 2016 Earlier this year, Governor Terry McAuliffe issued a pardon to Robert Davis – a man convicted of a brutal double murder after he falsely confessed to the crime.  McAuliffe did not pardon another convicted killer, a former UVA honors student from Germany.  Jens Soering insists he also gave a false confession, hoping to save the real killer from execution. The fatal love story of Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom will soon be told in a documentary called The Promise.  Sandy Hausman has details. If you lived in Virginia in 1985, chances are you know the story.  Jens Soering, the son of a German diplomat was accused of killing his girlfriend’s parents in their Bedford County home. Ricky Gardner was a rookie detective when the bodies were found.  He’s convinced that Jens Soering was the killer, noting he and Elizabeth Haysom left town as soon as they became suspects. “An innocent person don’t run," he concludes. Listen now

Jens Soering a Prisoner of Politics?

WTF Radio, April 25, 2016 It’s been more than 25 years since the Commonwealth of Virginia put a German citizen in prison for killing a Bedford County couple – his girlfriend’s parents. His story is told in a new documentary premiering in June at the Munich Film Festival. It portrays Virginia as a state where justice takes a backseat to politics. Jens Soering received two life sentences for the brutal murder of Derek and Nancy Haysom in 1985. His lover, Elizabeth Haysom, got 90 years for serving as an accessory to the crime. The case got new attention late last year, when Governor Terry McAuliffe announced he would not send Soering back to his homeland as requested by international treaty. “I found out about it when my cellmate saw it on television, and told me about it, and I was shocked,” Soering says. Shocked because McAuliffe’s fellow Democrat, Tim Kaine, had signed off on a justice department request to return Soering to Germany. “Tim Kaine spent nine months investigating Jen Soering’s consideration for transfer to Germany," says Soering's lawyer Steve Rosenfield." Listen now

new-blood-analysis

Jens Soering says new blood analysis proves his innocence in 31-year-old case

The Washington Post, August 24, 2016 by Laura Vozella

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A petition submitted to Gov. Terry McAuliffe this week tries to cast doubt on the guilt of Jens Soering, a German national convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s parents in central Virginia more than 30 years ago in a sensational case with ties to the 2016 presidential race. Soering asks McAuliffe (D) for an “absolute pardon” and parole based largely on an analysis that concludes that Soering, who has type-O blood, was not the source of at least some of the type-O blood found at the scene. “This is no longer about believing me,” Soering, 50, said in a phone interview with The Washington Post from Buckingham Correctional Center outside Dillwyn, Va. “Unless you’re a climate-change denier and creationist and you don’t believe in DNA, then you have to believe I’m innocent. The only other option is I did it with somebody else, whom I’ve been protecting for 31 years.”

Soering has repeatedly asked Virginia governors to send him back to his native Germany. He had success in 2010 with then-Gov. Tim Kaine, who is now the running mate of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. As he was leaving office, Kaine granted the request on the condition that Germany keep Soering incarcerated for at least two more years. But Kaine’s action — which he later justified as a way to save the commonwealth incarceration costs — caused an uproar and was reversed by his Republican successor, Robert F. McDonnell. McAuliffe denied a transfer request from Soering as recently as December. “We have not seen any new application yet and thus can’t comment,” Brian Coy, McAuliffe’s spokesman, said Tuesday. Earlier this month, after Kaine joined Clinton’s ticket, Republicans offered the Soering case as evidence of Kaine’s poor judgment. Kaine has never suggested that he thought Soering had been wrongly convicted, so Soering’s new claim of innocence may do little to blunt GOP criticism.

Maj. Ricky Gardner of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, who led the investigation of the double murder, said Soering’s latest claim is nothing new. “These results have been publicly known for several years,” Gardner wrote in an email. “Based upon the totality of evidence that was presented in Jens’ trial in June 1990, I remain confident that he perpetrated these heinous crimes.” The blood tests underlying that claim are, in fact, quite old: a blood typing test performed in 1985 and a DNA test conducted in 2009. What is new is a belated comparison of the two tests, said Soering’s attorney, Steven D. Rosenfield of Charlottesville. Put side by side, the test results indicate that a male other than Soering was the source of the type-O blood, according to an analysis by an expert Soering hired. Rosenfield said the comparison is not only new but “incontrovertible scientific proof of absolute innocence.” Read more 

Jens Soering’s lawyer calling for absolute pardon for client

WSLS10, August 24, 2016 CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A Bedford County murder case, more than 30 years old, is back in the spotlight. Jens Soering, who was convicted of killing his then-girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom’s parents in 1985, is asking Governor Terry McAuliffe for an absolute pardon. Soering’s lawyer, Steven Rosenfield, said new DNA analysis proves crime scene blood that was tested does not match Soering. He also said just this summer British detective and lecturer Andrew Griffiths concluded after a five-month investigation that Soering’s initial confession to police was false. “He asked to speak to law enforcement in order, from his vantage point, to protect the woman that he loved, Elizabeth Haysom, from facing murder charges in America and being eligible for the death penalty,” said Rosenfield. A German-made documentary on this case, “The Promise,” screened Wednesday in Charlottesville. It aired at the Munich Film Festival in June, and is expected to come to North America in the fall. Bedford County Sheriff’s Office investigator Ricky Gardner was assigned to this case. He put out a statement Wednesday saying: “Mr. Rosenfield’s announcement this week does not change the status of Jens Soering’s conviction. In fact, these results have been publicly known for several years. Based upon the totality of evidence that was presented in Soering’s trial in June 1990, I remain confident that he perpetrated these heinous crimes." Read more

WSLS10, August 24, 2016

Jens Soering Petitions Gov. McAuliffe for Pardon Based on New Evidence

NBC29, August 24, 2016 CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Evidence is surfacing about a former University of Virginia student convicted of killing his then-girlfriend's parents nearly 30 years ago. Attorneys for Jens Soering are revealing DNA findings which they say remove Soering from the 1985 crime scene and prove his innocence. They say a comparison between the 1985 serology report and a more recent 2009 DNA review shows Soering's blood is nowhere to be found. Soering, now 50 years old, has maintained his innocence in the 1985 Bedford County killings of Nancy and Derek Haysom. Watch now

Jens Soering petitioning Virginia governor for pardon

WSET13 August 24, 2016 CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – An attorney for convicted killer Jens Soering says he has filed a petition for an absolute pardon. In 1990 Soering was convicted in the 1985 murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford county- his girlfriend at the time Elizabeth Haysom was convicted of being an accessory after the fact. Attorney Steven Rosenfield said he filed the petition on Tuesday after he says new evidence has come forward. In 2009, samples that could be tested from the case revealed that Soering's DNA was not found on any of it. Watch now

Convicted killer's attorney files petition asking for absolute pardon

WSET13 August 24, 2016 CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – An attorney for convicted killer Jens Soering says he has filed a petition for an absolute pardon. In 1990 Soering was convicted in the 1985 murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford county- his girlfriend at the time Elizabeth Haysom was convicted of being an accessory after the fact. Attorney Steven Rosenfield said he filed the petition on Tuesday after he says new evidence has come forward. In 2009, samples that could be tested from the case revealed that Soering's DNA was not found on any of it. Watch now

Absolute pardon: Soering petitions another governor

C-Ville, August 24, 2016 by Lisa Provence – During the 30 years he’s spent in prison, Jens Soering has maintained he had nothing to do with the brutal 1985 murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom, and that he only confessed to protect his girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, from the death penalty. Now Tim Kaine, the governor who agreed to send Soering back to Germany in 2010, a decision overturned by his successor, Bob McDonnell, is running for vice president, and Soering’s attorney has filed a petition for absolute pardon with Governor Terry McAuliffe, thrusting the case back into the international spotlight. Germany, from its highest levels of government, has long lobbied for Soering’s return, and Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the case with President Barack Obama. German filmmakers have made a documentary, The Promise, on the heinous case in which two UVA Echols scholars were convicted that premiered in Munich in March and will be screened in the U.S. later this year. Attorney Steve Rosenfield filed the petition August 23 and says he has indisputable scientific evidence that proves Soering, 50, is innocent. Read more

Soering cites new DNA evidence in petition for pardon

CBS19, August 24, 2016 CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) – The attorney for a former University of Virginia student convicted of first-degree murder in the 1985 slayings of his girlfriend's parents says new DNA evidence proves his client is innocent. Jens Soering was convicted in 1990 of killing Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County five years earlier, after his former girlfriend and fellow UVA student Elizabeth Haysom accused him of the crime and pleaded guilty to being an accessory before the fact. She is serving a 90-year-sentence in the Fluvanna County Women's Prison. Watch now

German diplomat's son, Jens Soering, petitioning Va. governor for pardon

The Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 24, 2016 DILLWYN, Va. (AP) — A German diplomat's son convicted of murder is petitioning Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe for an "absolute pardon" and parole based largely on blood analysis. Jens Soering is serving two life terms for the 1985 slayings of his ex-girlfriend's parents. Soering's petition this week says a blood analysis concludes that Soering, who has Type O blood, was not the source of at least some of the Type O blood found at the scene, The Washington Post reported. Investigators said his claim was not new. "This is no longer about believing me," Soering, 50, told the newspaper from Buckingham Correctional Center in Virginia. "Unless you're a climate-change denier and creationist and you don't believe in DNA, then you have to believe I'm innocent. The only other option is I did it with somebody else, whom I've been protecting for 31 years." Soering initially confessed to killing the couple but recanted and has insisted he is innocent. Read more

Haysom murders investigator shares doubt about guilt of Jens Soering

WDBJ7 August 25, 2016  BEDFORD

As convicted killer Jens Soering fights to clear his name and get out of prison, he's getting some indirect help from an unlikely source.One of the original detectives who investigated the murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom says he has doubts about Soering's guilt. "To be honest with you, I've had my reservations for a long time," said Chuck Reid, a retired law enforcement officer. Reid was an investigator with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office in 1985, when Derek and Nancy Haysom were found dead with multiple stab wounds at their home in Boonsboro. He was assigned to find killer and, to him, Jens Soering wasn't the most likely suspect. "He had met the Haysoms one time and had lunch with them," Reid said of Soering. "Would that give him enough hate for those people to mutilate them and almost behead them?" Reid thinks Soering's ex-girlfriend, The Haysom's daughter Elizabeth, was the more likely culprit. Watch now

WTF Radio Series 2016 by Sandy Hausmann

Jens Soering Claims His Innonence

August 24, 2016 – After New Blood Analysis It’s been more than 30 years since police arrested Jens Soering, an honors student from the University of Virginia, and charged him with the brutal murder of his girlfriend’s parents in their Bedford County home.  To this day, Soering insists he is innocent, but he’s been turned down for parole nearly a dozen times.  Today, his lawyer filed a petition asking for a full pardon - citing new evidence that Soering is not guilty. Jens Soering recently turned 50. He’s spent more than half his life behind bars for killing Derek and Nancy Haysom, the parents of his first love - Elizabeth, also an honors student at UVA. “Mr. Haysom was stabbed 36 times.  His throat was cut.” Ricky Gardner was the lead investigator in that case. “All the major structures of his neck were severed - carotid, jugular, wind pipe, and Mrs. Haysom the same.” Gardner was convinced that Soering acted alone, but before the rookie detective took charge, the case was assigned to a seasoned officer named Chuck Reid. “Chuck Reid does not think that Jens Soering committed the crime.  He thinks that Elizabeth was at the house along with one or more other people.” Listen now

Additional Evidence Driving Force Behind Jens Soering's Pardon Request

August 25, 2016 – Yesterday, in a story exclusive to WVTF and the Washington Post, reporter Sandy Hausman revealed new evidence in the case of a former UVA honors student, convicted in 1990 in the bloody murder of his girlfriend’s parents.  DNA analysis now appears to confirm what Jens Soering has been saying all along - that another man committed the crime.  Today, we look at additional evidence supporting Soering’s request for a pardon from the governor. German journalist Karin Steinberger and filmmaker Marcus Vetter spent years making this documentary about their countryman, Jens Soering, a brilliant young man who fell in love with a troubled young woman at the University of Virginia.  Their film, called The Promise, shares letters in which Elizabeth Haysom details hatred for her parents.  She says she’s using her mental powers to do them in. “It seems my concentration on their death is causing them problems. My father nearly drove over a cliff, and my mother fell into a fire.  I think I shall seriously take up black magic.” Listen now

Attorney presents evidence to dispute guilt in double murder

The Daily Progress, August 24, 2016 by Lauren Berg – Thirty-one years ago, a Bedford County couple was brutally stabbed to death in their home, subsequently setting off a five-year investigation and two sensational trials. This week, Jens Soering, the German national convicted of killing his former girlfriend’s parents when he and Elizabeth Haysom were students at the University of Virginia, asked for a full pardon from Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Soering has maintained his innocence since his conviction in 1990 and has since been denied parole 11 times. On March 30, 1985, Derek and Nancy Haysom were killed in their Bedford County home. Watch now

Former U.Va. student petitions for pardon in 1985 murder case

The Cavalier Daily, August 25, 2016 by Alexis Gravely – Jens Soering, a former University student, is petitioning Gov. Terry McAuliffe to grant him an absolute pardon in light of new DNA evidence he says he believes proves his innocence. Soering is currently serving two life sentences for the 1985 murders of his ex-girlfriend’s parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom. Soering originally confessed to the murders, but later recanted his confession and claimed innocence. According to Soering, his then-girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, who was also a University student, murdered her parents and told him after the fact. Soering’s conviction resulted from the prosecutor’s argument stating Soering’s Type O blood was found at the crime scene. However, in 2009, then-Gov. Tim Kaine’s administration created a post-conviction DNA review for those convicted when DNA testing was unavailable and who still had evidence that could be tested. Soering was eligible for the review. Soering’s attorney, Steven D. Rosenfield, said the DNA review did not test all of the evidence available due to aging. Read more

McAuliffe responds convicted killer’s request for pardon

WSLS 10 August 26, 2016 RICHMOND – Governor McAuliffe responded to a convicted killer’s request for an absolute pardon based on new evidence. Jens Soering is currently serving two life-sentences for the 1985 murders of his then ex-girlfriend’s parents in Bedford County. McAuliffe said he did not agree with former governor Tim Kaine’s reasoning of sending Soering back to Germany. McAuliffe said, “I don’t believe we should just send him back for the sake of sending him back, and then he could be released after committing heinous crimes here in Virginia. But if there’s new evidence that comes out that exonerates him, then I’ll look at that.” Watch now

Interview with Steven Rosenfield on the Coy Barefoot Program

ABC16, August 28, 2016 Interview by Coy Barefood – Award-winning journalist Coy Barefoot hosts an exclusive, extended conversation with Charlottesville-based attorney Steven Rosenfield, whose client, Jens Soering recently appealed directly to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe for clemency. His case is now under review. Convicted for the 1985 double murder of his girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom's parents, Soering has been in prison for over 30 years. DNA research and legal experts have lately called his conviction into question. Rosenfield explains the case and the highly circumstantial evidence on which the conviction was based. A new documentary, "The Promise," which suggests Soering is innocent, is due to be released in America this fall. Watch now

Femme fatale: Literary allusions in the Haysom homicides

C-Ville, August 31, 2016 by Lisa Provence – The tale of UVA students Elizabeth Haysom and Jens Soering, who were convicted in the 1985 double murders of Haysom’s parents, has long riveted central Virginia, and a new documentary reveals how the two saw themselves as tragic characters out of Shakespeare and Dickens. Initially Soering confessed to the murders, he says, to protect his beloved from the electric chair, but he almost immediately recanted, and 30 years later, still maintains his innocence. Soering’s attorney, Steve Rosenfield, filed a petition for absolute pardon with Governor Terry McAuliffe last week. Earlier this year, German filmmakers Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger screened their documentary, The Promise, at the Munich Film Festival. Germany, too, has long been fascinated with the case involving one of its citizens, who has garnered support from the entire Bundestag and Chancellor Angela Merkel. The real-life film noir, screened for reporters August 24, opens with lonely highways and dark country roads to Loose Chippings, the genteel Bedford home of Derek and Nancy Haysom, and then slams the viewers with gruesome murder scene photos that one investigator described as “like stepping in a slaughterhouse.”
Read more

Haysom: Soering killed her parents because mom sexually abused her

Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sep 10, 2016 by Frank Green

TROY — Jens Soering’s new DNA-based bid for freedom is nonsense, says Elizabeth Haysom, his former girlfriend and the daughter of the couple they were convicted of murdering 31 years ago. Haysom, who instigated the slayings of Derek and Nancy Haysom, has long maintained it was Soering who stabbed and cut the throats of the couple in their Bedford County home, Loose Chippings, in 1985. Last month, in the latest chapter of an inexplicably savage crime that continues to draw international attention, Soering’s lawyers announced they have forensic evidence that proves someone else did the killing. In an interview Thursday at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, Haysom told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that she felt she needed to respond. “I am profoundly ashamed of my crime. It’s a horrific crime. I don’t like to talk about it. I don’t like being public entertainment. So I have been [mostly] silent,” she said.

Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom

<p class="align-left">But Haysom said she is frustrated by the efforts of Soering and his supporters over the decades claiming his innocence and muddying the waters.“I feel like there’s this juggernaut of propaganda ... and things are getting further away from the truth,” said Haysom, 52, the same age as her mother when she died.</p>

Haysom said she is loath to continue perpetrating “the whole he-said/she-said thing.” However, she complained, “I feel like he is playing the system. That’s bad for people who really are innocent.” She said Soering murdered her parents and, despite the 1990 jury verdict convicting him, she feels he has yet to be properly confronted and exposed. The “new” evidence cannot possibly prove his innocence, she argues. “He was there because he was angry, and because of me,” Haysom said. There is no escaping, however, the he-said/she-said element at the bottom of things. Soering, reached by telephone Thursday at the Buckingham Correctional Center, said Haysom is the liar. “Her only chance of making parole, you see, is to maintain she was not at the crime scene,” he contends. And Haysom admitted Thursday that she lied when testifying at Soering’s trial about whether her mother had sexually abused her. Read more

Latest

Investigator wants governor to re-investigate Jens Soering murder case


NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News, October 12, 2016 by Colleen Quigley
BEDFORD, VA (WWBT) -Thirty years after the brutal murder of a Bedford couple, one of the original investigators thinks the wrong man may be behind bars for the crime.In 1990, Jens Soering was found guilty of murdering Nancy and Derek Haysom. He’s currently serving two life sentences. Chuck Reid, a former criminal investigator with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, was one of the original investigators on the case. Reid says he's always had doubts about Soering's guilt. Now he is convinced Soering was never in the Haysom's home the night they were killed. "The first thing when I stepped in the door, it was a shock," said Reid. Reid still vividly remembers the crime scene from April 1985. Derek and Nancy Haysom were brutally stabbed to death in their home. Both of their throats were cut, and Reid says Mr. Haysom had been stabbed 36 times, indicating the crime was personal. "It was so outrageous. It was obvious it was a hate crime," Reid says. Watch now

Criminal Investigator Says Soering Is Innocent

WVTF Radio Oct 11 by Sandy Hausmann - It’s been six weeks since convicted killer Jens Soering asked Virginia’s governor for a pardon based on new evidence.  Soering has been behind bars for more than 30 years in connection with the bloody murders of his girlfriend’s parents. Now, in a story exclusive to RadioIQ and NBC 12 in Richmond, a former detective who spent six months on the case says he’s convinced Soering is innocent. Detective Chuck Reid was called to the home of a prominent Bedford County couple, Derrick and Nancy Haysom in April of 1985.

“The Sunday prior to that I was watching the movie Helter Skelter," Reid says. "Then three days later I walk into the Haysom house.” And what he found at the Haysom’s made him think of the bloody Manson murders depicted in Helter Skelter.  Inside the front door, he found Mr. Haysom, all but decapitated.

“The whole floor was just smeared with blood, and then as you step into the kitchen Mrs. Haysom was lying there on the floor,”
says Reid. Police called in a respected criminal profiler, Ed Sulzbach, who died recently in Northern Virginia.  Reid says Sulzbach concluded the murderer was female, and was looking at the daughter. Listen now

Parole Board Member Hears New Evidence on Soering

WVTF Radio by Sandy Hausman, Dec 2, 2016 – Virginia’s parole board held hearing number twelve yesterday for Jens Soering, a former UVA honors student from Germany who was convicted of killing his girlfriend’s parents in 1985.  Soering’s conviction was based in part on a finding of type O blood at the crime scene, but DNA testing now shows the type O blood came from another man, and Soering’s lawyer shared the new genetic evidence with the parole board. Virginia’s five-person  parole board does not hear cases as a group.  Instead, one member hears from crime victims and advocates for the prisoner.  This year, it was Adrienne Bennet who listened as Soering’s lawyer, Steve Rosenfield, presented a long list of reasons why he thinks his client is innocent.  He shared a DNA report proving type O blood at the scene came not from Soering but from some other man, and – for the first time – he announced two samples of type AB blood had not come from one of the victims – Nancy Haysom – as originally claimed by prosecutors. “The 2009 DNA test proved that the AB was contributed by a male, because a Y chromosome was found, so now we know for the first time that there were two male participants at the crime scene, neither of which was Jens Soering.” Listen Now

Jens Soering Claims His Innocence After New Blood Analysis

WVTF Radio by Sandy Hausman, Dec 18, 2016 – It’s been more than 30 years since police arrested Jens Soering, an honors student from the University of Virginia, and charged him with the brutal murder of his girlfriend’s parents in their Bedford County home.  To this day, Soering insists he is innocent, but he’s been turned down for parole nearly a dozen times.  Today, his lawyer filed a petition asking for a full pardon - citing new evidence that Soering is not guilty. Jens Soering recently turned 50. He’s spent more than half his life behind bars for killing Derek and Nancy Haysom, the parents of his first love - Elizabeth, also an honors student at UVA. “Mr. Haysom was stabbed 36 times.  His throat was cut.” Ricky Gardner was the lead investigator in that case. “All the major structures of his neck were severed - carotid, jugular, wind pipe, and Mrs. Haysom the same.”  Gardner was convinced that Soering acted alone, but before the rookie detective took charge, the case was assigned to a seasoned officer named Chuck Reid. “Chuck Reid does not think that Jens Soering committed the crime. He thinks that Elizabeth was at the house along with one or more other people.” Listen now

Soering attorney sends evidence to parole board

CBS 19, Dec. 12, 2016 by Courtney Stuart

CBS 19, Dec. 12, 2016 by Courtney Stuart – CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- The fate of a former University of Virginia student convicted of a double murder in 1985 is once again in the hands of the Virginia Parole Board and Governor Terry McAuliffe. CBS19 has obtained 40 pages of evidence submitted to the parole board and McAuliffe following the Dec. 1 parole hearing for Jens Soering. Included is DNA evidence that suggests two men other than Soering were involved in the crime. "All of this completely upsets the Commonwealth's theory that Jens Soering went down from Washington, D.C. and committed this crime by himself," said Soering's attorney Steve Rosenfield. Soering and his then-girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom were convicted of murdering her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom. Soering confessed, but has since maintained that he is innocent and that he did so to spare Haysom. Earlier this year, Rosenfield revealed that DNA testing showed that Type O blood at the scene previously believed to be Soering's was not his. Rosenfield said additional evidence now shows that type AB blood found at the scene of the murder and originally believed to belong to Nancy Haysom actually came from another unidentified male. Watch now

2017

2017

Virginia

McAuliffe proposes criminal justice reforms

The Washington Post, January 3, 2017 by Laura Vozella and Justin Jouvenal

RICHMOND — If new DNA evidence turns up after trial, some convicted felons can ask a court to review it and declare them innocent. But not all; those who pleaded guilty are barred from later petitioning for a writ of actual innocence. On Tuesday, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) proposed a bill that would make any felon eligible to petition the court based on new DNA evidence, regardless of how he or she originally pleaded. The measure is an acknowledgment that some plead guilty to crimes they did not commit, said McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy. “If you pleaded guilty [falsely], which happens at times, state law says even if new evidence arises, you are barred [from seeking a writ of actual innocence],” Coy said. “A judge would not consider it. It’s kind of an arbitrary prohibition.”

McAuliffe announced the bill as part of a package of criminal justice reforms proposed for the General Assembly session that begins Jan. 11. Another bill would raise the felony larceny threshold to $500 — up from the current $200, set in 1980, which McAuliffe said was the lowest in the country. Two others are aimed at ending the practice of suspending driver’s licenses because of a driver’s inability to pay outstanding court fees — something that is the subject of a pending class-action lawsuit. “Throughout my administration, I have worked with Virginia’s public safety officials, the legislature, and the courts to assure that we have a criminal justice system that is fair and seeks true justice,” McAuliffe said in a written statement. Read more

In 1985, a gruesome double murder rocked Virginia. Was the wrong man convicted?

The Washington Post, March 9, 2017 by Laura Vozella

Early one morning in October, Chuck Reid stood inside a little office at Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, Va., waiting for the door to open. A retired county jailer and sheriff’s deputy, Reid was not in the habit of visiting men he had once investigated for murder. But in this case, he had been summoned. And he obliged because 30 years after Jens Soering went off to prison, their lives were entwined once again in a way neither could have anticipated. Soering’s lawyer Steven Rosenfield stood with the former deputy. He’d assured Reid that Soering wanted only to thank him. Soering was serving two life sentences for the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend’s parents in 1985. Reid thought back to the first time he had laid eyes on Soering. Reid had called him in for an interview at the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. He wanted to know more about what Soering and the victims’ daughter, Elizabeth Haysom, were doing the weekend of the murder. One look at the baby-faced University of Virginia honors student, Reid recalled later, told him the brutal stabbings were the work of someone else. “This little 17-year-old kid walked in,” he said. “I doubted seriously he’d ever been in a fight in his life, much less taken down two people and nearly beheaded them.”

Soering, a German citizen and diplomat’s son, said he had an alibi. He and Haysom had gone on a weekend jaunt to Washington. They had movie ticket stubs and hotel receipts to prove it. Then, a week later, Soering gave Reid reason to reconsider: The couple fled to Europe. “Once they skipped out on us, I said, ‘Well, apparently they’re guilty. They’re guilty of something,’ ” Reid said. After that, the two men’s paths diverged. Reid left the force to try to earn more money, then returned, but without a role in the case. From a British jail cell, Soering fought extradition to Virginia for several years. In the end, he was convicted of the murders and Haysom pleaded guilty to being an accessory before the fact. She is serving a 90-year sentence at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women near Charlottesville.

 

 

Over the years, Reid occasionally agreed to be interviewed about the case, which continues to fascinate the public. It was his participation in a recent documentary that led him to take his long-standing doubts about the outcome more seriously. Then evidence emerged last summer that convinced him of Soering’s innocence. His conversion put him in the company of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a former Virginia deputy attorney general, a Catholic deacon in Richmond, the actor Martin Sheen and a German schoolteacher — all of whom have worked toward obtaining a pardon for Soering so he can return to Germany. Even though Reid had come around to believing in Soering’s innocence, he was not quite sure what to expect from their encounter at Buckingham.

 

 

After a few minutes, the door to the office swung open and Soering stepped inside. Reid looked into the face of the now graying 51-year-old, comparing it to the adolescent version in his memory. Soering, smiling, reached out to shake Reid’s hand. “It’s been a long time,” he said. “It’s good to see you.” Reid was fueling up his blue Plymouth Fury patrol car late in the afternoon of April 3, 1985, when a call crackling over his radio sent him flying over 10 miles of rural road. He was one of the first to arrive at the stately home in the Boonsboro section of Lynchburg. Reid had already worked two or three homicides, but nothing prepared him for what was inside: two bodies sprawled on the floor in pools of blood, throats cut nearly to the backbone. Read more

 

 

No parole for Jens Soering, German diplomat’s son convicted in 1985 double murder in Virginia

The Washington Post, March 31, 2017 by Laura Vozella

RICHMOND — Jens Soering, a convicted double murderer whose innocence claims have drawn support from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a detective who investigated the case more than 30 years ago, has lost another round with the Virginia Parole Board. The board rejected Soering’s request for parole, the prisoner learned Friday. In addition to parole, Soering has been seeking a full pardon from Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). The pardon request is still under consideration, said Brian Moran, McAuliffe’s secretary of public safety and homeland security. “His claim of innocence is still being processed and investigated by [the] parole board,” Moran said by text message. The board alone decides on requests for parole, but it makes recommendations to the governor on pardon petitions.

In this 2011 photo, Jens Soering speaks during an interview at the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, Va. (Steve Helber/AP)

This was Soering’s 12th go-round with the board but the first to follow two developments that he and supporters thought would boost his chances for release. One was a German documentary last year that raised new questions about his conviction. The other was a new analysis of evidence indicating that Soering was not the source of type-O blood found at the scene, as prosecutors had contended at his 1990 trial. “Obviously I’m extremely disappointed and very surprised,” Soering said in a telephone interview from Buckingham Correctional Center in central Virginia. “I’m not giving up the fight. I’m innocent. The state has done me a great, great harm for 31 years, and today’s decision is just another one in an enormously long line of horrible injustices.” Read more

Va. sheriff calls on McAuliffe to free Jens Soering

The Washington Post, May 3, 2017 by Laura Vozzella

RICHMOND — A central Virginia sheriff called on Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) this week to pardon convicted double murderer Jens Soering after reviewing the case and concluding that jurors reached the wrong verdict in the German national’s 1990 trial. “Based on my training and experience, almost every piece of evidence raised by the prosecution is subject to inaccuracies, unreliabilities, and scientific contradictions,” Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding wrote this week in a 19-page letter to McAuliffe. A German diplomat’s son, Soering is serving two life sentences for the 1985 slayings of his girlfriend’s parents in central Virginia. At the time of the murders, he and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, had been honors students at the University of Virginia.

Soering initially confessed to the crime but later said he was only trying to protect Haysom from the electric chair under the mistaken belief that he had diplomatic immunity because of his father’s position. He was convicted in a sensational 1990 trial that drew international media and gavel-to-gavel coverage on local cable television. Haysom pleaded guilty to being an accessory before the fact, contending that she helped plan the murders but did not physically take part. She is serving a 90-year sentence at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women near Charlottesville. Soering’s supporters have raised questions about the case for decades, noting that Soering got some details of the crime scene wrong and dismissing as “junk science” a bloody sock print that prosecutors said tied him to the case.

Over the years, as Soering gained attention for writing a string of books behind bars, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pressed for his release. At the urging of the German Embassy and Richmond’s Catholic bishop, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) agreed when he was governor in 2010 to transfer Soering to a German prison. But his Republican successor, Robert F. McDonnell, stopped the transfer because Soering could have been released after two years. The push to release Soering picked up steam in the past year, with the release of a German documentary, “The Promise,” that suggested Haysom committed the murders, perhaps with help from a drug dealer or two. A new blood analysis performed last summer indicated that a man other than Soering was the source of the type O blood found at the home of Derek and Nancy Haysom. Read more

Albemarle sheriff believes Soering was wrongly convicted

The Daily Progress, May 3, 2017 by Lauren Berg

Jens Soering, the German national convicted of the brutal homicide of his girlfriend’s Bedford County parents in 1985, has a new ally in his corner. In a letter to Gov. Terry McAuliffe dated Tuesday, Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding expressed his opinion that Soering was wrongfully convicted of the murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom. Soering has maintained his innocence since his conviction in 1990 and has since been denied parole 11 times. After spending more than 200 hours reviewing the 32-year-old case, in his letter Harding stated, “Soering would not be convicted today on the evidence that has since surfaced or was improperly submitted or omitted from the jury … and the evidence appears to support a case for his innocence.”

Soering’s attorney, Steven Rosenfield, will submit the letter to the governor’s office as part of the second supplement to his petition for pardon, which also will include new information about blood stains collected at the scene of the crime. A new review of the DNA and serology (forensic testing used prior to DNA testing) of the blood suggests there may have been two unidentified males present at the time of the killings. “All of this is to aid the governor with his determination,” said Rosenfield. 

Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding

The Haysoms were killed in their Bedford County home on March 30, 1985, when their daughter and Soering were students at the University of Virginia. The Haysoms were found with dozens of stab wounds and their throats cut from ear to ear. Their daughter, Elizabeth Haysom, pleaded guilty to first degree murder as an accessory before the fact. She currently is serving a 90-year sentence, but will receive mandatory parole in 2032, when she is 68 years old. Rosenfield approached Harding a couple of months ago and asked him to review the details of the case. Citing Harding’s extensive law enforcement career, Rosenfield said he believes this is the first time a sheriff has written a letter of this kind in support of a petition for pardon. “He is probably the most experienced law enforcement investigator I have ever known,” Rosenfield said. For his part, Harding took on the case because he said investigation work has always been an important part of his job. Harding served almost 30 years with the Charlottesville Police Department, most of which was in investigations. After reading John Grisham’s book “The Innocent Man,” Harding said it opened his eyes to mistakes made within the criminal justice system. “It made me realize everything we’re doing in law enforcement isn’t right all the time,” Harding said. Read more

Albemarle Co. Sheriff Harding Seeks Release of Jens Soering

NBC29.com May 3, 2017

Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. "Chip" Harding is asking the governor to release Jens Soering, a former University of Virginia exchange student convicted of murder.Soering is serving a life sentence for the 1985 murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County, the parents of his then-girlfriend Elizabeth. He admitted to the crimes, but has since claimed his confession was false."This is my fault. I should have told the truth," said Soering during a 2011 interview with NBC29. He now believes Elizabeth took part in the murder of her parents with two other men. Attorney Steven Rosenfield, who now represents Soering, said his client, "misidentified where the bodies were murdered, and there is really no physical evidence tying him to the crime scene."Sheriff Harding believes, based on his own investigation, that the German national should be pardoned. Harding wrote to Governor Terry McAuliffe, “Soering would not be convicted today on the evidence that has since surfaced or was improperly submitted or omitted from the jury,” and that, “the evidence appears to support a case for his innocence.” Read more

Albemarle sheriff supports freedom bid for Soering, convicted of 1985 double murder

The Ranoke Times, May 3, 2017 by Frank Green

Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding is supporting a bid for freedom for Jens Soering, a German national convicted of the 1985 murders of his girlfriend’s parents in Bedford County. And a new report from an expert requested by Soering’s lawyer questions the work done by the Virginia Department of Forensic Science in 2009, which subjected evidence recovered from the bloody crime scene to DNA testing not available at the time of the murders. In a case that has generated national and international attention for decades — recently a German film and an American book — Soering has a pardon request pending before Gov. Terry McAuliffe based in part on the DNA test results. Reached by telephone Tuesday, Harding said, “I would hope [McAuliffe] would at least consider a conditional pardon and let him go back to Germany.” In his 19-page letter to McAuliffe, Harding said that after spending 200 hours as a volunteer looking into the case he concluded, “In my opinion, Jens Soering would not be convicted if the case were tried today, and the evidence appears to support a case for innocence.” Read more

Albemarle sheriff asks McAuliffe to pardon convicted murder Jens Soering

NBC12, May 3, 2017 by Colleen Quigley

ALBEMARLE, VA (WWBT) - A man who has spent more than 30 years behind bars for the murder of a Bedford County couple is getting new support for his release. Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding sent a 19-page letter to Gov. Terry McAuliffe asking for him to pardon Jens Soering. Soering is currently serving a life sentence for the brutal 1985 murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom, the parents of his then-girlfriend Elizabeth. Soering, who is from Germany, was an 18-year-old University of Virginia student when the Haysoms were killed. Harding was asked to look at the case by Soering's attorney, Steve Rosenfield. Harding spent more than 200 hours reviewing evidence, transcripts from Soering’s trial, and interviewing Soering himself. "The more I got into it, it just, 'Boom, kind of took me over,'" said Harding. In the letter, Harding admits for years he assumed Soering was guilty. However, once he took a closer look at Soering’s case, Harding says "the evidence appears to support a case for his innocence." "Soering would not be convicted today on the evidence that has since surfaced or was improperly submitted or omitted from the jury," wrote Harding in the letter. Read more

Sheriff Advocates for Jens Soering's Innocence in New Letter

WVTFRadio, May 3, 2017 by Sandy Hausman

A man who’s spent more than 30 years behind bars for a double murder he says he did not commit has a powerful new ally today.  Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding says he’s spent more than 200 hours studying the case, and he believes Soering is innocent.  He’s explained his thinking in a 19-page letter to Governor Terry McAuliffe who, to date, has refused to pardon Soering. When Sheriff Chip Harding heard about the brutal murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom in 1985 he was busy – investigating a big cocaine case in Charlottesville. He knew only what he heard from the media. The Haysoms’ daughter, Elizabeth, and her boyfriend Jens Soering were honors students at the University of Virginia, but when they became suspects in the case, they left the country.  Nine months later, they were arrested for check fraud in England and confessed to the murders. Harding says Elizabeth later withdrew her claim. “She said, ‘I did it.  I got off on it,’ and the interrogator stopped and said, ‘Don’t be silly,’ and went on into – ‘tell me more about Jens.’  I thought, ‘Really, that happened?’”

Soering, whose dad worked at the German consulate in Detroit, said he thought he had diplomatic immunity and confessed to save his first love from execution.  Harding didn’t believe it, but this year Soering’s lawyer asked the sheriff of Albemarle County to take a closer look at the case. Harding spent more than 200 hours talking with experts, meeting Soering in prison, reading books, trial transcripts, forensic and police reports. “My wife thinks I’ve lost my mind, because I was bringing everything home, putting it on the dining room table, on weekends and in the evenings working on it.” The prosecution insisted Soering acted alone, and type O blood found at the crime scene was his, but scientists now say that blood did not come from either of the victims or from Jens Soering. In fact, they say, two blood samples came from two men not previously identified. An FBI profiler had originally suspected Elizabeth.  In letters to Jens, she said she despised her parents and wished them dead.  Harding weighed the options. Listen now

Exclusive interview: Albemarle County Sheriff seeks release of Jens Soering

WSLS10, May 03, 2017

ALBEMARLE COUNTY - A Virginia sheriff writes to Governor McAuliffe, supporting the release of a man convicted of a Bedford County double murder. The 19-page letter written by Albermarle County Sheriff, J.E. "Chip" Harding is set to be included in the second supplement to the pardon petition for Germany native, Jens Soering. The sheriff has been looking over the case for the past three months, spending between 200 to 250 hours pouring over the investigation and the trial from the 1985 murders of Bedford County residents Derek and Nancy Haysom. In a WSLS 10 exclusive, we spoke with the sheriff over the phone less than ten minutes ago-- and he says this is a case he feels strongly about. "As I started to look at the evidence presented at trial and what the true evidence really is, I started feeling like we had an injustice going on here," said Harding. "I feel very strongly that if he was given a new trial today, the jury wouldn't even come close to finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and if the governor agrees with me he should at least look at a pardon and let him go back to Germany." This is believed to be the first time in Virginia's history that an active sheriff has written such a letter to support a pardon request. Watch now

Sheriff explains why he’s seeking pardon for convicted killer Jens Soering

WRIC / ABC8, May 3, 2017 by Mark Tenia

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — It was a case that rocked a small community: Two University of Virginia students were arrested for gruesome murders. Jens Soering, the son of a German diplomat, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, the daughter of a wealthy couple, were both convicted of planning and brutally murdering Haysom’s parents in Lynchburg in 1985. For decades, Soering has claimed his innocence saying he made a false confession. “In 1985 when this was going down I was a full-time narcotics officer,” Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding recalled. For more than 30 years, Harding worked to put people behind bars as a police officer, but in the past few years the sheriff has put his investigation skills toward trying to free the innocent. “A wrongful conviction is like horrendous,” Harding said. Harding says Soering’s attorney, who has been working for years to get him pardoned, asked him a few months ago to take a look at the case. “You know I hadn’t really planned on spending much time on this because I thought he was guilty,” said Harding. Watch now

Soering supporter: Sheriff Chip Harding says evidence points to his innocence

Cville, May 10, 2017 by Lisa Provence

Former UVA student Jens Soering has insisted for decades he’s innocent of the notorious double homicide for which he’s been imprisoned for 31 years. He was an international sensation even before then-Governor Tim Kaine agreed to ship Soering back to his native Germany, a decision rescinded by his successor Bob McDonnell immediately upon taking office in 2010. That didn’t slow the drumbeat that Soering, 50, was wrongfully convicted of the 1985 murders of his girlfriend’s parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom. Now, along with the German Bundestag and Chancellor Angela Merkel calling for his release, Soering has another heavy hitter proclaiming his innocence. No one would call Albemarle Sheriff Chip Harding soft on crime. He’s spent a career going after the bad guys, most of it with the Charlottesville Police Department, relentlessly investigating crimes and lobbying the General Assembly to fund Virginia’s moribund DNA databank back in the late 1990s and turn it into a national model.So when Soering’s pro bono attorney, Steve Rosenfield, asked Harding to take a look at the investigation and trial, Harding says he knew little of the case, thought Soering was probably guilty and that “McDonnell did the right thing” in nixing the reparation.

Two hundred hours of investigating hefty case files later, in a 19-page letter to Governor Terry McAuliffe, Harding says, “In my opinion, Jens Soering would not be convicted if the case were tried today, and the evidence appears to support a case for his innocence.”  Even more disturbing: Recent DNA results from the crime scene indicate “not only was Soering not a contributor of blood found at the crime scene, but two men left blood at the scene.” Harding’s theory is that the dead couple’s daughter, Elizabeth, whose uncommon type B blood was found at the scene and who has claimed her mother sexually abused her, had the motive for the savage slayings and used either an emotional or a drug connection to entice the unknown accomplices. “I totally understand why the jury found him guilty,” Harding says. But multiple factors convinced him that the jury had been misled and that Soering had an inadequate defense, including a lead attorney who “was mentally ill and later disbarred,” he writes the governor. “If I had to pick one thing,” he says, “it was the DNA.”The DNA databank was established in 1989, the year before Soering’s trial. “There was a lot of blood available at that crime scene,” says Harding. “Why it wasn’t tested, I don’t know.” Read more

Soering's attorney says DNA evidence should set him free

WFXR Virginia First, May 17, 2017  by Alexan Balekian

ROANOKE, Va - The murder trial that rocked Bedford County more than three decades ago is once again making national headlines. In our exclusive interview with Jens Soering's attorney, he says his client should be set free with new DNA testing from the crime scene. Soering and his girlfriend at the time, Elizabeth Haysom were convicted of brutally killing her parents in 1985. Soering confessed to the murder in 1985, but is now gaining support that he is innocent. Soering's attorney Steven Rosenfield joined Alexan Balekian live on Good Day Virginia. Watch now

Albemarle Sheriff to hold press conference regarding Jens Soering

CBS19, September 26, 2017

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) – Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding will hold a press conference Wednesday and is expected to outline new information, in regards to Jen Soering's murder conviction and pending pardon request. Soering was a University of Virginia student who was convicted of a double murder in 1985. Sheriff Harding believes Soering is innocent based on evidence. Harding wrote a 19 page letter to McAuliffe, supporting Soering's release and deportation back to Germany, which Harding will address during the press conference. Soering is currently serving two life sentences after being found guilty of murdering Nancy and Derek Haysom . The conference starts at 1:15 p.m. CBS19 will have a reporter and bring you the updates both on-air and online. Watch video

New support for Jens Soering pardon

CBS19, September 27, 2017

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A second law enforcement veteran is joining Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding in urging Governor Terry McAuliffe to release a former UVA student convicted in a 1985 double murder. "I will tell you right now that I do not believe based on all the work I did on this case and all the discussions and conversations and reports that we reviewed and worked with that Jens Soering participated in the homicide of Derek and Nancy Haysom," said Richard Hudson, a retired Charlottesville Police detective, at a Wednesday press conference in downtown Charlottesville. Soering and his then-girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom were convicted of murdering her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom, in Bedford County in 1985. Soering confessed but has since maintained his innocence and said he admitted to the crime to spare Haysom. Watch video

Virginia sheriff is pushing governor to pardon convicted killer

ABC8News, September 27, 2017 by Mark Tenia

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Virginia sheriff held a press conference today to discuss his push to pardon a convicted killer who he says is innocent. Jens Soering was convicted of killing his girlfriend’s parents in a highly publicized case back in 1985. In 1985, it was a shocking story. Two UVA students – Jens Soering, the son of a German Diplomat, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, the daughter of a wealthy couple – were convicted of planning and brutally murdering Haysom’s parents in Lynchburg. For decades, Soering has claimed his innocence, saying he made a false confession, and after reviewing the case on a whim, Sheriff Chip Harding believes he’s telling the truth.  “There’s way beyond reasonable doubt in this case,” Harding said. “This case isn’t even close.” Watch video

Ex-detective, DNA expert join Soering’s bid for freedom

The Daily Progress, September 28, 2017  by Lauren berg

A retired Charlottesville police detective and a second DNA expert have joined Jens Soering’s corner as he fights for a pardon from the governor.Soering, the German national convicted of killing his then-girlfriend’s parents when the two were students at the University of Virginia, has maintained his innocence since his conviction in 1990. He has been denied parole 12 times, and he is up for a 13th parole hearing on Oct. 10.On March 30, 1985, Derek and Nancy Haysom were killed in their Bedford County home. They were found with dozens of stab wounds, and their throats were cut from ear to ear. Their daughter, Elizabeth, then 20, eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder as an accessory before the fact.Haysom is currently serving a 90-year prison sentence, but she will receive mandatory parole in 2032, when she will be 68.

In August 2016, local attorney Steven Rosenfield put together a petition for pardon on Soering’s behalf, which gained the support of Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding. Using new DNA testing and after consulting with two separate DNA experts, Rosenfield asserts that the case against Soering was based on faulty science.In 1985, blood found at the crime scene was analyzed. Five bloodstains were found to be type O — the same type as Soering’s blood. Prosecutor Jim Updike told the jury that the finding meant that Soering must have been injured in a knife fight at the scene.In 2009, as part of a post-conviction review, new DNA testing was done on some of the items collected at the crime scene, Rosenfield said. Of the 43 items with blood samples, just 11 were stable enough to test.

“Of those 11 items, two were found with type O blood, and a DNA scientist reported that Jens Soering was eliminated as a contributor of that blood,” Rosenfield said.Two DNA experts now have concluded that Soering must be excluded as a contributor of biological material at the scene. New findings by J. Thomas McClintock align with those of Moses Schanfield, who previously was consulted by Rosenfield. The experts also identified blood from two unknown men.Though Soering initially confessed to the crime after he was arrested in London, he eventually recanted his statement and said he lied to protect Haysom. Although his confession was still used against him in court, investigators on Wednesday said the details he provided about the crime don’t make sense when paired with the physical evidence. Read more

Science and other evidence shows Jens Soering is innocent

WSET13, September 28th 2017, by Noreen Turyn

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WSET) – The Albemarle County Sheriff and two experts held a press conference about their belief that Jens Soering is innocent. They said if he were tried today, the verdict would be not guilty. Sheriff Chip Harding has spent more than 400 hours searching through the evidence and the case files, which has led him to believe that Soering has been wrongly imprisoned for all these years. Derek and Nancy Haysom were brutally murdered in their Bedford County home in 1985 and in 1990, Soering was sentenced to two life sentences for their murder. He has been been fighting for his freedom since 2002, which is when he was first eligible for parole. Harding is urging those who can do something about it to sit up and take notice. Watch video

Central Va. Investigators Urging Gov. to Pardon Soering After DNA Evidence, Hold Presser

NBC29, September 28, 2017

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR)Investigators in central Virginia are putting pressure on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to pardon a former University of Virginia student convicted of killing his girlfriend's parents more than 30 years ago. They argue new expert examinations of DNA evidence prove his innocence. The Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office and a former Charlottesville police detective sent letters to the governor this month describing their review of this double murder. They want him to pardon Jens Soering and force investigators in Bedford to reopen the case. “This is an injustice,” Sheriff Chip Harding said. Stacks of crime scene photos, police reports, and trial transcripts lead Harding to one conclusion in the double-murder conviction of Soering. “The standard in America is supposed to be, convict you beyond a reasonable doubt. There's way beyond reasonable doubt in this case. This case isn't even close,” Harding said. Watch video

UPDATE: Bedford County deputy responds to new calls for Soering case reexamination

WDBJ7, September 28, 2017

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- UPDATE: Jens Soering in 1990 (WDBJ7) Major Ricky Gardner of the Bedford County Sheriff's Office is responding to new calls for the pardoning of convicted murderer Jens Soering. Soering was found guilty in 1990 of killing his girlfriend's parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom, at their Boonsboro home in 1985. In a statement, Major Gardner, who worked on the original case, said he remains confident that "Mr. Soering and Ms. Haysom are the only two people who benefited from the murders of Mr. and Mrs. Haysom and are the only two people responsible for their deaths." Major Gardner also said he is cooperating fully with the investigator who is looking into Soering petition with Governor McAuliffe and his parole board. You can read the full statement here

Pressure to pardon: New experts weight in on Soering case

Cville, September 28, 2017  by Samantha Baars

A nationally recognized DNA expert says his conclusions provide further evidence that convicted murderer and former UVA student Jens Soering, who was charged with the 1985 murders of his girlfriend’s parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom, could be innocent—and that two killers who were involved are still at large. Forensic scientist Thomas McClintock, who is a Liberty University professor and founder of DNA Diagnostics Inc., reviewed DNA test results done in September 2009. Such testing was not available in 1990, when Soering went to trial. McClintock focused primarily on three blood-spattered samples—a piece of formica kitchen countertop, the front door and its threshold—from the Bedford County residence where Soering is accused of repeatedly stabbing the Haysoms and slitting their throats. “Does Jens Soerings’ DNA profile match any of those?” McClintock said to a room full of local and national reporters at City Space on the Downtown Mall September 27. “They absolutely do not.” In a report dated September 21, he stated that the blood came from at least one male contributor doesn’t match Soering or Derek Haysom’s genetic makeup. Read more

New experts are in Jens Soering’s corner. He’s pictured here in 2003. Photo: Clement Mayes

German ambassador, former president seek release of convicted killer Jens Soering

ABC8News, October 10, 2017  by Mark Tenia

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The push to free convicted killer Jens Soering continued as the Virginia Parole Board held a hearing for him Tuesday. Germany’s ambassador Peter Wittig and its former president Christian Wulff were among those asking the board to let Soering return to Germany. For decades Soering has claimed his innocence after being convicted of brutally murdering his girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom’s parents in Lynchburg in 1985. Soering, the son of a German diplomat, says he made a false confession. Authorities maintain they have the right man, but in the past few months, independent investigations by former police officers, detectives, and DNA experts have claimed Soering is innocent. “I think the case today is so strong that with the evidence that we have Jens Soering would never have even been charged with murders, let alone been tried, let alone been convicted,” said Soering’s attorney Steven Rosenfield. Read more

Could 13 Be Lucky for Jens Soering?

WVTFRadio, October 13, 2017  by Sandy Hausmann

Jens Soering is hoping the number 13 proves lucky for him.  The former UVA honors student has been turned down for parole a dozen times and has spent more than 30 years behind bars for a crime he claims he did not commit.  Sandy Hausman spoke with Governor Terry McAuliffe about the case and filed this report. In 1990, Jens Soering was convicted in the bloody murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom, but he still maintains his innocence.  His girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, had said she hated her parents and wanted them dead, but in court she blamed Soering for the crime. 

German ambassador Peter Wittig appeared before Virginia's parole board, asking that convicted killer Jens Soering be released. The former president of Germany, Christian Wulff, joined in that request.

This year, three experienced law enforcement officers who devoted hundreds of hours to the case concluded Soering could not be convicted today given new evidence. Two national experts on DNA confirmed the blood of two men was found at the scene – blood that did not match that of victim Derek Haysom or Jens Soering.  More than a year ago, Soering asked for a full pardon, based on those and other findings, but Governor Terry McAuliffe is taking his time in making a decision. Listen now

For German diplomat’s son jailed in 1985 double murder, a powerful new advocate

The Washington Post, October 27, 2017  by Laura Vozzella

RICHMOND — Jens Soering, a German diplomat’s son convicted decades ago of a brutal double murder, has gained a notable ally in his long quest for freedom. Mary Kelly Tate, founding director of the University of Richmond’s Institute for Actual Innocence, announced Friday that she has written a letter to Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) asking that he grant Soering a pardon. Her request is based, in part, on a DNA analysis that concludes Soering, who has type-O blood, was not the source of at least some of the type-O blood found at the scene. “I think the new DNA evidence is quite, quite compelling, and I think it’s clear that Jens Soering would not be convicted today,” Tate said. “I believe it’s appropriate for him to get an absolute pardon or a conditional pardon.”

Tate, whose institute works to identify and exonerate people who have been wrongfully convicted in Virginia, has not taken over the case. It remains in the hands of a private Charlottesville lawyer, Steven Rosenfield, who has worked on it pro bono for years. But Tate hopes her letter, written after “a deep and close review of the documents and the factual and evidentiary underpinnings in this case,” will add credibility to Soering’s claims of innocence. “I don’t do this casually, in terms of choosing to write a letter,” Tate said. “I do that sparingly. And I feel confident in my decision to do so.” Soering is serving two life sentences for the 1985 slayings of his girlfriend’s parents at their home in central Virginia.

At the time of the murders, he and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, were honor students at the University of Virginia. Soering initially confessed to killing Derek and Nancy Haysom. But he eventually recanted, saying he was only trying to protect Elizabeth Haysom from the electric chair under the mistaken belief that he had diplomatic immunity because of his father’s position. He was convicted in a sensational 1990 trial that drew international media and gavel-to-gavel coverage on local cable television.Haysom pleaded guilty to being an accessory before the fact, contending that she helped plan the murders but did not physically take part. She is serving a 90-year sentence at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women near Charlottesville. She has maintained over the years that Soering alone did the killing. Read more

Institute for Actual Innocence Believes Soering Not Guilty of Haysom Murders

NBC29, October 27, 2017  by John Early

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - More people are joining the effort to free a former University of Virginia student who has so far spent more than 30 in prison. Governor Terry McAuliffe is still reviewing DNA evidence in the double murder case against Jens Soering as part of his pardon request. Former Deputy Attorney General of Virginia Gail Starling Marshall hosted a press conference at CitySpace Friday, October 27, where she was joined by Soering's attorney Steven Rosenfield. They, along with the Institute for Actual Innocence and others, believe there is proof Soering should be out of prison. Derek and Nancy Haysom, the parents of Soering's then-girlfriend Elizabeth, were found dead inside their Bedford County home back in March 1985.A forensic science expert said on Friday that DNA evidence at the murder scene points to two unidentified males, who may have committed the crime with Haysom. Watch now

Interrogation expert: Soering confession ‘unreliable’

the Daily Progress, October 27, 2017  by Lauren Berg

An expert in police interrogation techniques believes Jens Soering should never have been convicted of the 1985 double murder of a Bedford County couple because his confession was full of factual errors. At a news conference Friday, Andrew Griffiths, a retired detective superintendent from Sussex, England, said inconsistencies in the confession and the fact that Soering quickly recanted it, should have rendered it useless in court. Soering, the German national convicted of killing his then-girlfriend’s parents when the two were students at the University of Virginia, has maintained his innocence since his conviction in 1990. Griffiths, who also examined the coerced confession of Robert Davis — who recently was pardoned by Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a 2003 double murder in Crozet — said Soering’s confession was different, in that he volunteered the information he gave to police.“I looked at the consistency of what he said compared to other evidence at the crime scene, based on the fact he had recanted his confession almost as soon as he had made it, really,” Griffith said. In the confession, Soering said Nancy Haysom, mother of Soering’s then-girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom, was wearing jeans when she was killed, but according to the evidence and a post-mortem examination, she was wearing a neck-to-ankle floral housecoat, Griffiths said. Griffiths also said Soering was completely wrong about where Nancy Haysom’s husband, Derek Haysom, was killed. “When the argument became a physical row, Jens said he got up and went behind him to cut his throat with a steak knife from his place setting at the dining room table,” Griffiths said. “There were no place settings at the table in the crime scene photos.” Read more

Jens Soering speaks during a 2011 interview at the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn. (Photo: Steve Helber)

Experts advocate for Jens Soering's innocence in 1985 Haysom murders

ABC13WSET, October 31, 2017  by Noreen Turyn & Catherine Doss

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WSET) - More experts are advocating for Jens Soering's release.?
The University of Richmond's Institute for Actual Innocence joined the effort to convince the state to grant Soering an absolute pardon in the 1985 murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom.
At a press conference in Charlottesville Friday, more experts detailed the science and evidence that has them convinced, as they urge the state to grant Soering an absolute pardon. The Innocence Project has now come on board in the effort to convince the state that Jens Soering is not the killer of his girlfriend's parents back in 1985. They don't take cases they don't feel have merit. At a press conference in Charlottesville today, more experts detailed the science and evidence that has them convinced, as they urge the state to grant Soering an absolute pardon.They gave a presentation in Charlottesville Friday morning. An international police expert weighed in via Skype, saying Soering's confession is unreliable. Another blood analysis expert also spoke about certain blood that was used at trial to convict Soering, was absolutely not his.? Watch now

Imprint The Promise Movie News Archive

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