Die Geschichte von Jens Söring und Elizabeth Haysom

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1985 bis 2006 Englisch • 2007 bis heute English/Deutsch

30. März 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

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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 parents´ 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

 

 

OKTOBER 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. JULI 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. Januar 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. JUNI 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 - Verurteilung nach Irrtum?

The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, VA, 21. Januar 1996 von Ian Zack (Übersetzung)

Jemand hatte so oft auf Derek Haysom eingestochen, dass sein Kopf nur noch in Fleischfetzen  von seinem  Hals herabhing. Seine Frau starb durch mindestens zwei mit einem Messer zugefügte Wunden an Brust und Hals. Soweit sind sich alle einig. Aber war es Jens Söring, ein weltfremder Neuling an der Universität von Virginia und gebürtiger Deutscher, der das Messer geführt hat, mit dem das Ehepaar aus der Gegend von Lynchburg vor fast 11 Jahren getötet wurde? Oder liess er sich bloss hineinziehen, um deren Tochter, Elizabeth Haysom, seine charismatische und belastete Freundin, zu decken? Wenigstens eine prominente Rechtsanwältin aus Virginia ist von Sörings Unschuld überzeugt. Gail Starling Marshall, außerordentliche Professorin an der Universität von Virginia und ehemalige stellvertretende Staatsanwältin, ist der Ansicht, dass Söring zu Unrecht die am 30. März 1985 begangenen Morde zur Last gelegt werden, die Morde, die eine gesamte ländliche Region und darüber hinaus viele Einwohner Virginias nicht zur Ruhe kommen

Gail Starling Marshall, ehemalige stellvertretende Generalstaatsanwältin

"Ich hege nicht die geringsten Zweifel daran,
dass er die Morde nicht begangen hat"

Gail Marshall über Jens Söring

ließen und ihnen ein sechs Jahre dauerndes und Aufsehen erregendes Justizdrama boten. Marshall, die erst kürzlich als Kandidatin für einen Posten bei der Bundesanwaltschaft aufgestellt wurde, ist sich der Unschuld Sörings so sicher, dass sie dazu bereit ist, ihren beachtlichen Ruf dafür aufs Spiel zu setzen. "Ich hege nicht die geringsten Zweifel daran, dass er die Morde nicht begangen hat", sagt Marshall über Söring, der - inzwischen 29 Jahre alt - im Keen Mountain Zuchthaus im Südwesten Virginias zweimal lebenslänglich absitzt. Marshall glaubt, dass die Beweise Sörings Geschichte erhärten, so wie er sie im Verlauf seines sensationsheischenden, 1990 über das Fernsehen ausgestrahlten Prozesses dargelegt und auch seither bekräftigt hat: Elizabeth Haysom, wahrscheinlich mit Hilfe eines Komplizen, habe ihre Eltern in deren Haus in Boonsboro ohne Sörings Mitwisserschaft ermordet. Söring sei nur insofern schuldig, als er versucht habe,  Haysom vor dem elektrischen Stuhl zu bewahren. Weiter lesen

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

Munich

Vergessen hinter Gittern - Die US-Justiz und der Fall Jens Söring

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 5. Januar 2007 / online 19. Mai 2010 von Karin Steinberger

Eine Liebe, zwei Morde und viele offene Fragen - seit 20 Jahren kämpft ein Deutscher für seine Haftentlassung, doch das System kennt keine Gnade.

Da sitzt er, Häftling 179212. Der Besucherraum im Brunswick Correctional Center ist drei mal drei Meter groß und umrahmt von lachsfarbenen Gitterstäben, in der Mitte ein Tisch. Im Arm hält Nummer 179212 drei Bücher. Wenn man ihn fragt, wie lange er im Gefängnis sitzt, sagt er: "Ich wurde in England um fünf Uhr nachmittags verhaftet. Das sind also 20 Jahre, 7 Monate, 4 Tage, 19 Stunden, äh, 21 Stunden. Ohne Zeitverschiebung." Dann lächelt Nummer 179212. Seine Mitgefangenen finden es lustig, dass der Deutsche immer noch mitzählt. In dem Gebäude, in dem er mittlerweile wohnt, ist er eine Art Frischling. Im Honour Building sind die Alten, die nicht mehr viel anstellen, wenig Schlägereien, wenig Vergewaltigungen, wenig Fluchtversuche.

Die guten Bösen. Früher wären das die ersten gewesen, die für eine Haftentlassung in Frage gekommen wären. Aber was nützt das noch. Hier gibt es Männer, die seit 36 Jahren im Gefängnis sind. Sie haben es sich eingerichtet in einem Leben ohne Zukunft. Nur Nummer 179212 hört das Zählen nicht auf. Jens Söring, den sie hier the German nigga nennen. Deutsch und weiß, der doppelte Außenseiter. Er zählt noch die Stunden, vielleicht, weil er das Hoffen nie aufgegeben hat. Für einen, der zweimal Lebenslang hat, ist das relativ naiv.

Jens Söring kennt die Zahlen und die Fakten, er hat sie mühsam zusammengetragen in einem Leben ohne Computer. Er hat sie sich schicken lassen in Briefen, pro Umschlag vier Blatt. Zeitungsartikel, Studien, zerschnitten, aufgeklebt, kopiert. Recherche als Überlebenshilfe.

130.000 Lebenslange

Er weiß, dass Gefängnisse in den USA ein gigantisches Geschäft sind, oft privatisiert und hochrentabel. 60 Milliarden Dollar im Jahr gibt der Staat für 2,2 Millionen Häftlinge aus. Kein anderes Land hat so viele seiner eigenen Bürger eingesperrt. 130.000 Lebenslange. "130 000 Menschen, die im Gewahrsam des Staates sterben werden", sagt Söring. Es ist schon lange her, dass in Virginia ein Lebenslanger von einem Bewährungsausschuss entlassen wurde. Söring sagt, das war zum Ende der Amtszeit von Gouverneur Jim Gilmore 2002. Der demokratische Nachfolger hat ihm das im Wahlkampf vorgeworfen. Es kommt nicht gut an, Mörder rauszulassen.


Es gab also wenig Chancen, als Jens Sörings Fall im August 2006 nach drei Jahren wieder vor das Parole Board von Virginia kam. "Wir wissen alle, dass wir keine Chance haben. Wir hoffen trotzdem - vielleicht schafft man es, einer der zwei Prozent zu sein. Mit dieser winzigen Hoffnung halten sie 7000 Insassen unter Kontrolle", sagt Söring.

Häftling 179212: Jens Söring (Foto: Karin Steinberger)

Und so hat sie ihn wieder überrannt, die verfluchte Hoffnung. Er konnte der Vorstellung nicht widerstehen, dass der Bewährungsausschuss diesmal die Verfahrensfehler durchschauen und seine Unschuldsbeteuerungen glauben würde. Er träumte davon, einmal das Grab seiner Mutter in Bremen zu sehen. Mehr wagte er nicht zu hoffen.

20 Jahre, 7 Monate, 4 Tage, 21 Stunden. Er fand, es war an der Zeit, ihm noch einmal eine Chance zu geben. Am 9. August traf sich ein Mitglied des Parole Boards mit den zwei Fürsprechern in seiner Sache in einem roten Backsteinbau in Richmond. Eine davon war Gail Marshall, die ehemalige Stellvertretende Generalstaatsanwältin des Staates Virginia.
Weiter lesen

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

ZDF: Der Fall Jens Söring

Johannes B. Kerner, SAT1, 26. September 2007

Kommisar Kerner, bitte übernehmen Sie

Die Welt, 27. September 2007 von Frederic Spohr Jens Söring ist seit 21 Jahren in amerikanischer Haft. Jetzt besuchte ihn Johannes B. Kerner. Über Schuld und Unschuld wollte der Talkmaster eigentlich nicht reden. Die Frage wurde trotzdem zum Hauptthema seiner Runde – und das machte die Sendung erst richtig spannend. Es ist ein hoch interessanter Fall, den Johannes B. Kerner gestern Abend bearbeitete. Jens Söring, ein deutscher Diplomaten-Sohn, sitzt seit 21 Jahren in amerikanischen Gefängnissen. Die Richter haben ihn zu lebenslanger Haft verurteilt. Der Vorwurf: Er soll die Eltern seiner Freundin kaltblütig erstochen haben. Doch Söring beteuert seine Unschuld. Nun ist Kommissar Kerner ein etwas eigenartiger Kriminalist. Er gibt nämlich gar nicht zu, dass er überhaupt ermittelt. "Heute Abend kann es nicht um Schuld oder Unschuld gehen", sagte er gleich dreimal an diesem Abend. Vielmehr solle es um den Menschen Söring gehen. Weiter lesen

2008

München

Mein Leben

 

Brunswick, Virginia, USA: Unser Autor hat die Häftlingsnummer 179212. Und hier beschreibt er einen ganz normalen Tag im Knast

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 7. September 2008 von Jens Söring

Seit 1986 sitzt der Deutsche Jens Söring im Gefängnis, mehr als die Hälfte seines Lebens. Möglicherweise unschuldig. Er soll die Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin Elisabeth Haysom 1985 in Lynchburg erstochen haben. 19 Jahre war er alt, er war verliebt, hörig. Ein paar Monate davor hatte er Elisabeth an der University of Virginia kennengelernt, er denkt, es ist die große Liebe. Als sie verdächtigt werden, fliehen sie zusammen. 1986 werden sie in London gefasst, beide gestehen, dann widerrufen sie. Er glaubt, der Diplomatenstatus des Vaters schützt ihn – also schützt er Elisabeth. Vor dem Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte kann er vor seiner Auslieferung in die USA das Todesurteil verhindern. Es ist ein Fall ohne Augenzeugen, Fingerabdrücke und DNS. Aber Elisabeth sagt gegen ihn aus. Er bekommt zweimal lebenslänglich. Und das, obwohl vieles für seine Unschuld spricht. Es gibt Ungereimtheiten und Verfahrensfehler, doch Begnadigung und Repatriierung nach Deutschland werden abgelehnt. 2001 fängt er an zu schreiben. Es sei, sagt Söring, „eine Alternative zum Selbstmord”. Der folgende Text ist ein redaktionell bearbeiteter Auszug aus Sörings Buch „Ein Tag im Leben des 179212”. Es erscheint am 15. September im Gütersloher Verlagshaus.

Brunswick Correctional Center

4.20 Uhr – Jeden Morgen um 20 nach vier weckt mich das Klo. Knastklos spülen stark und daher laut, weil Häftlinge alles Mögliche hineinwerfen: Abfall, Essensreste, zerrissene Bettlaken, Drogen, Plastiktüten, in denen sie Alkohol brauen, und so weiter. Damit das alles verschwindet, stellen die Wärter den Wasserdruck so hoch es geht. Problemlose Entsorgung ist das Wichtigste im Strafvollzug. Nachdem der Mann, mit dem ich die Zelle teile, runtergespült hat, geht er zum Gemeinschaftssaal, um fernzusehen. Ich klettere vom Etagenbett herunter, mache mein Bett, wasche mein Gesicht, putze mir die Zähne und pinkle – alles im Dunkeln. Licht brauche ich nicht, denn ich wohne seit Jahren in dieser Zelle und kenne jeden Millimeter. Dreieinhalb Meter lang ist meine Zelle, von der Tür bis zum vergitterten Fenster. Auf der einen Seite ist sie zwei Meter breit, auf der anderen, wegen des Luft-und Wasserrohrschachts, nur eineinhalb. Ein Etagenbett, ein Klapptisch, ein grauer Plastikstuhl, vier kleine Metallschränke, zwei Regalborde, ein Waschbecken und ein Klo stehen dort drin. Wenn mein Zellenmitbewohner und ich in der Zelle sind, wird es so eng, dass ich mich gegen die Wand drücken muss. Weiter lesen

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

US-Gouverneur will Überstellung stoppen

Stern, 22. Januar 2010 – Seit mehr als 20 Jahren sitzt Jens Söring in Virginia im Gefängis - verurteilt wegen des Doppelmordes an den Eltern seiner Freundin. Eigentlich sollte der Deutsche demnächst nach Deutschland überstellt werden, doch der neue Gouverneur des US-Bundesstaates stellt sich quer. Der neue Gouverneur des US-Bundesstaates Virginia will die Überstellung des seit über zwei Jahrzehnten wegen Doppelmordes inhaftierten Jens Söring nach Deutschland stoppen. Der Republikaner Bob McDonnell habe in einem Brief an US-Justizminister Eric Holder erklärt, der Schritt entspreche "nicht mehr der offiziellen Position" Virginias, berichtete die Zeitung "Roanoke Times". "Es ist zwingend, dass Söring seine Strafe in Virginia verbüßt", zitierte das Blatt aus dem Schreiben. Die Überstellung des 43-Jährigen hatte noch McDonnells Vorgänger Tim Kaine, ein enger Vertrauter von Präsident Barack Obama, in die Wege geleitet. Weiter lesen

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


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 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


Lebend begraben – Film über in den USA inhaftierten Deutschen

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 7. Mai 2010 von Karin Steinberger

Er ist Deutscher und sitzt seit 21 Jahren wegen Mordes in den USA in Haft. Unschuldig, wie er sagt. Der Fernsehfilm "37 Grad: Lebend begraben - Diplomatensohn hinter Gittern" zeigt sein Schicksal.

(...) Es war eine SZ-Reportage, die die Filmemacher Katharina Gugel und Ulf Eberle auf Söring aufmerksam gemacht hat. Und so haben sie die Bruchstücke seines verpfuschten Lebens zusammengetragen. Sie haben die Gerichtsfilme aus dem Jahr 1990 gesichtet. Sie haben Menschen gefunden, die den Gedanken nicht ertragen können, dass der Deutsche in seine Heimat abgeschoben werden könnte, wo er frei wäre. Sie haben aber auch mit der ehemaligen stellvertretenden Generalstaatsanwältin Gail Marshall gesprochen, die davon überzeugt ist, dass der Falsche verurteilt wurde. Sie haben Sörings deutsche Anwälte und den deutschen Botschafter in den USA interviewt, lauter Menschen, die sich für ihn einsetzen. Bislang ohne Erfolg. Vorzeitige Haftentlassung, Begnadigung, Wiederaufnahme des Verfahrens. Alles wurde versucht, alles wurde abgeschmettert. Söring weiß, dass die Sache schwierig wird. Gefängnisse sind in den USA ein gigantisches Geschäft, oft privatisiert und hochrentabel. 60 Milliarden Dollar jährlich für 2,2 Millionen Häftlinge. Den ganzen Artikel lesen

ZDF 37 Grad, 17. Mai 2010

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

Bedford County

Lebenslang im Gefängnis: "Wut, es ist einfach Wut"

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 23. Januar 2011, Interview von Karin Steinberger

Jens Söring wurde zu zweimal lebenslänglich verurteilt: Es ist ein Fall ohne Augenzeugen, ohne Fingerabdrücke, es gibt Ungereimtheiten, Verfahrensfehler, befangene Richter. (Foto: Karin Steinberger)

Jens Söring soll 1985 die Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin getötet haben. Mehr als die Hälfte seines Lebens sitzt er deswegen in den USA im Gefängnis. Ein Gespräch über seine letzte Hoffnung und panische Angst. Mitten im Nichts steht das Buckingham-Correctional Center, 1038 Insassen, hohe Mauern, Stacheldraht, sehr angsteinflößend. Walkie-Talkies krächzen, Vollzugsbeamte tasten, Gittertüren gehen auf und fallen scheppernd zu. Jens Söring sieht blass aus, zerbrechlich, seine Hand ist trocken, das Gesicht alterslos. Er soll 1985 in Lynchburg die Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin getötet haben. Mehr als die Hälfte seines Lebens sitzt er deswegen im Gefängnis. Er sagt, er war es nicht. Und zählt die Tage. (...)

"2010 war das zweitschlimmste Jahr meines Lebens. Das schlimmste war vom 30. März 1985, das war der Tag, an dem die Haysoms ermordet wurden, bis zum 30. April 1986, als wir verhaftet wurden. Damals habe ich den furchtbarsten Fehler meines Lebens gemacht. Ich hätte irgendjemanden um Hilfe bitten müssen, das habe ich nicht getan. Für diesen Fehler bin ich jetzt fast 25 Jahre im Gefängnis. An dem Tag, an dem dieses Interview veröffentlicht wird, werden es 24 Jahre, acht Monate und 22 Tage sein. Ich zähle jeden Tag. Durch die DNS-Beweise ist ja auch alles wieder akut geworden."


Lesen Sie das ganze Interview

Zwischen Politik, Recht und Hoffnung: der Fall Jens Söring

Hoffnungen wurden wieder und wieder enttäuscht, immer neue Zweifel an seiner Schuld tauchten auf: Jens Söring sitzt seit 25 Jahren in den USA im Gefängnis. Ein Gespräch mit seinem Anwalt.

detector.fm 24. Januar 2011 von Marcus Engert

Es gibt Geschichten, von denen hört man und man kann sie einfach nicht vergessen. Die Geschichte von Jens Söring ist so eine. Jens Söring wird 1966 als Sohn eines deutschen Diplomaten in Thailand geboren und sitzt seit mehr als 24 Jahren in den USA im Gefängnis. Ihm wird vorgeworfen am 30. März 1985 die Eltern seiner amerikanischen Freundin Elizabeth Haysom ermordet zu haben. Die Polizei in Virginia hatte zwei Verdächtige Jens Söring und die angeblich von den Eltern missbrauchte Tochter Elizabeth. Am 30. April 1986 werden die beiden dann in London verhaftet. Söring glaubt, dass er durch den Vater diplomatische Immunität genießt und gesteht – angeblich, um Elizabeth vor dem elektrischen Stuhl zu retten. Später widerruft er. Vor dem Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte kann er vor seiner Auslieferung in die USA das Todesurteil noch verhindern.

Doch das neue Urteil kommt einem Todesurteil auf Raten gleich: Söring wird zu zweimal lebenslänglich verurteilt. Es gibt keine Augenzeugen, keine Fingerabdrücke. Im vergangenen Jahr hoffte Söring auf eine Überstellung nach Deutschland. Doch dann wechselte der Gouverneur von Virginia und der neue Gouverneur McDonnel nahm den Gnadenakt seines Vorgängers wieder zurück. Ein schier unglaublicher Rückschlag – und wie ein Mensch das aushält, kann man sich kaum vorstellen. Jens Söring beteuert seine Unschuld – seit beinahe einem viertel Jahrhundert. Wie sich der Sachverhalt juristisch darstellt, welche Optionen es für Jens Söring noch gibt und ob überhaupt noch Hoffnung besteht, darüber haben wir mit dem Anwalt von Jens Söring gesprochen: Christian Mensching von der Kanzlei „Redeker Sellner Dahs“. Zum Interview

Der Blick auf die Welt durch Gitterstäbe separiert sich. / © Peter Reinäcker pixelio.de

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.

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

“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


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

ZDF Auslandsjournal, 6. April 2011 – Reportage über Jens Söring

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

Verzweifelter Kampf eines deutschen Diplomatensohns

Die Welt, 7. Juli 2011 von Antje Raupach Er wurde schuldig gesprochen, obwohl es weder Zeugen noch Spuren von ihm am Tatort gab. Lediglich ein Sockenabdruck, der viel zu klein ist, um ihn Söring zuordnen zu können. In der Asservatenkammer wühlt der Reporter in Kartons voll mit blutdurchtränkter Kleidung der Ermordeten. Das alte Blut ist jetzt Sörings neue Hoffnung, heißt es aus dem Off. DNS hat schließlich kein Verfallsdatum. Das Ergebnis aus dem Labor: 42 Spuren vom Tatort, aber keine konnte man im Labor Söring zuordnen. Doch der stellvertretende Sheriff des Ortes, Ricky Gardner, zeigt sich davon völlig unbeeindruckt, als Röller ihn mit den veränderten Fakten konfrontiert. Er ist von seiner Schuld bis heute überzeugt. Es war sein erster Fall. Der junge Polizist stand damals enorm unter Druck. "Die DNA-Beweise beweisen doch überhaupt nichts", schmettert Gardner dem Reporter seine Überzeugung entgegen. Es wäre ein Unrecht, wenn Söring jetzt rauskäme." Zweifel lässt er nicht zu. Er ist offenbar zu seiner Lebensaufgabe geworden, die Schuld von Söring immer aufs Neue zu beweisen. Kennt das amerikanische Rechtssystem keine Gnade? Weiter lesen

ARD Tagesthemen vom 12. April 2011 – Reportage über Jens Söring

Keine Gnade für Häftling Nr. 1161655

Frankfurter Neue Presse, 3. August 2011 von Karlheinz Niess – Seit 25 Jahren kämpft ein Deutscher in einem amerikanischen Gefängnis um seine Freilassung. Wegen Doppelmordes wurde er verurteilt – ein Justizirrtum sei das, heißt es, er sei unschuldig. Auf Gnade aber hofft der Mann wohl vergebens.

Dillwyn, Virginia – Er war 19, als er ins Gefängnis kam. Jetzt ist er 44 – und sitzt immer noch. Und selbst, wenn weitere 25 Jahre vergehen und er 69 Jahre alt werden sollte, wird er wohl immer noch eingesperrt sein. Denn sie wollen ihn nie, nie wieder freilassen. Zweimal lebenslänglich, lautete das Urteil. Jens Söring, Sohn eines deutschen Diplomaten, jetzt Häftling Nr. 1161655 im Buckingham Correctional Center, ist seit 25 Jahren Gefangener im US-Bundesstaat Virginia. Er wurde verurteilt für zwei Morde, die er mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit gar nicht begangen hat. Es gab damals keine Zeugen, keine Beweise, keine DNA-Spuren. Es gab nur ein Geständnis, das Jens Söring abgelegt hatte, weil er seine Freundin vor der Todesstrafe retten wollte. Er hat es widerrufen, damals, sofort, und seither unablässig seine Unschuld beteuert, jetzt schon seit 25 Jahren. Vergebens.

Die Geschichte des Jens Söring ist eine dieser furchtbaren Geschichten der amerikanischen Justiz, die den Eindruck vermitteln, sie lasse sich nicht lenken von Recht und Gesetz, sie sei vielmehr beherrscht von Willkür, von Rachegedanken und, ja auch, von politischem Kalkül. Gefängnisse in den USA sind zudem, auch das muss man wissen, ein Riesengeschäft: Viele sind privatisiert, auf Rentabilität getrimmt – jeder Gefangene mehr lässt die Kasse von Investoren klingeln. Der Staat zahlt 60 Milliarden Dollar pro Jahr für 2,2 Millionen Häftlinge.
Weiter lesen

WDR Lokalzeit vom 21.04.2016, Reportage über Jens Söring

Unschuldig verurteilt? Sörings letzte Chance

Hamburger Abendblatt, 4. August 2011 von Lars-Marten Nagel – "Mein ganzes Leben ist ein Witz, nur ein kranker, idiotischer Witz auf meine Kosten", sagt der Gefangene Nummer 179212 im US-Fernsehen. "Ich bin der Typ, der es geschafft hat, zweimal lebenslänglich zu bekommen, ohne das Verbrechen begangen zu haben." Der Gefangene mit der Nummer 179212 ist Jens Söring, einer von 1000 im Buckingham Correctional Center, Virginia, USA. Seine Mithäftlinge nennen ihn "German Nigga", aber sie respektieren ihn, den Deutschen. Längst gehört er zu den alten Hasen, die den Aufsehern keinen Ärger mehr machen. Diesen Sommer wird Jens Söring 45 Jahre alt. Mehr als die Hälfte seines Lebens hat er hinter Gittern verbracht, verurteilt wegen Doppelmordes: zweimal lebenslänglich, ohne Chance auf Entlassung. Sörings wohl letzte Hoffnung, jemals in die Freiheit zurückkehren zu können, hängt an 42 Blutspuren und einem neuen DNA-Abgleich. Es ist einer dieser Fälle, die durch DNA-Tests eine dramatische Wendung nehmen könnten. Vor 25 Jahren gab es diese Analysen noch nicht. "Mit den entlastenden DNA-Beweisen wäre es die einzige gerechte Entscheidung, diesen Justizirrtum zu beenden", sagt Söring den Fernsehreportern. Äußerlich hat er sich kaum verändert. Nur das Haar trägt er inzwischen kürzer, aber er ist immer noch derselbe jungenhafte Strebertyp von damals, als man ihn festnahm. Er bemüht sich, kämpferisch zu wirken. Weiter lesen

2012

Germany

Ich will, dass ihr mich versteht

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 1. März 2012 von Karin Steinberger

Amerika? Wunderbar. Und furchtbar. Seit 26 Jahren sitzt der Deutsche Jens Söring in Haft. Für eine Tat, die er womöglich nicht begangen hat. Was, bitte, tut Deutschland für ihn?

Am 23. Februar 2012 ist er endlich fertig. Hundertfünfzig Seiten hat er in vier Tagen geschrieben, per Hand, wie ein Besessener. Auf den letzten Seiten verschwimmen die Buchstaben ineinander, manche brechen ganz weg, er schreibt Tränendüse statt Tränendrüse. Man sieht es der Schrift an, dass er voller Wut ist, und wie im Wahn. Als ginge es um sein Leben. Darum geht es ja auch. Um Jens Sörings beschissenes Leben. Es gibt eine Skizze, die er an eine Freundin geschickt hat. Darauf hat er seine Lebenslinien gezeichnet, mit dem Lineal, eine Tür, ein Fenster, einen Metallschrank, ein Etagenbett, ein Waschbecken, eine Toilette, einen Stuhl, zwei Plastikboxen. Was nicht zu sehen ist: der Zellennachbar, die Machtkämpfe, die Angst, das beschämte Wegschauen, wenn der andere auf dem Klo hockt. Das ist sein Leben. Weiter lesen

Brunswick Correctional Center 2012

Fall Jens Söring – Die Sache mit dem Sockenabdruck

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 25. März 2012 von Milos Vec

Ist er das „German Monster“? Jens Söring, ein wegen Doppelmordes verurteilter Diplomatensohn, erzählt von seinem Begehren, hadert mit der amerikanischen Justiz und erfleht eine zweite Chance.

Wenn Jens Sörings Kriminalgeschichte die Vorlage zu einem Drehbuch wäre, würden sich für die Regie zwei Regisseure empfehlen. Seine fatale Begegnung mit Elizabeth Roxanne Haysom - attraktiv, klug, zerstörerisch - sowie den späteren Doppelmord an ihren Eltern und die Kriminalodyssee bis zum Urteilsspruch kann man sich von Quentin Tarantino verfilmt vorstellen. Der junge Diplomatensohn, der sich selbst als intelligent, aber unattraktiv und unerfahren gegenüber Mädchen beschreibt, gerät 1984 an der Universität von Virginia an die zwei Jahre ältere, nicht nur ihn faszinierende Studentin aus der Lokalaristokratie. (...) die Verurteilung, gegen die er seit mehr als zwei Jahrzehnten ankämpft, ist unter juristisch und ermittlungstechnisch fragwürdigen Umständen erfolgt. Kriminalistisch gesprochen, fokussierte man auf das dünne Geständnis und blendete die Sachbeweise weitgehend aus: die fehlenden Zeugen, die fehlenden Fingerabdrücke, die fehlenden Haare und fehlenden Schuhabdrücke am Tatort. „Die Sache mit diesem Sockenabdruck“, ein fragwürdiger Tatortfund mit zwei Schuhgrößen Differenz, bringt am Ende die schwankende Jury dazu, an die Schuld Sörings zu glauben. Den ganzen Artikel lesen

ZDF ZOOM, 7. Juni 2011 – Seit 25 Jahren unschuldig in US-Gefängnis?

Das „German Monster“ will die Freiheit 

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 23. Juni 2012 von Christiane Heil – Wenn Jens Sörings Fall am Dienstag ein weiteres Mal vor einem amerikanischen Gericht verhandelt wird, geht es zumindest vordergründig nicht um die Schuld oder Unschuld des wegen Doppelmordes verurteilten Deutschen. Der Diplomatensohn kämpft nach 22 Jahren in den Gefängnissen des Bundesstaates Virginia vielmehr um die Rückkehr nach Deutschland, die im Januar 2010 zum Greifen nah schien. Damals hatte Virginias scheidender Gouverneur Timothy Kaine einem Transfer des Fünfundvierzigjährigen aus dem Buckingham Correctional Center in ein deutsches Gefängnis unerwartet zugestimmt, bevor sein Nachfolger Robert McDonnell die Entscheidung wenige Tage nach Amtsantritt ebenso überraschend revidierte. „Virginias Justizminister sowie die Staatsanwaltschaft und der Sheriff des Bezirks Bedford sind sich einig darin, dass der Bundesstaat die Haftüberstellung verwehren sollte“, schrieb McDonnell dem amerikanischen Justizminister Eric Holder nach Washington, bevor er Virginias Zustimmung zurücknahm. Obwohl nach Sörings Einspruch nun vor dem Bezirksgericht in Richmond über juristische Feinheiten zu den Befugnissen des Gouverneurs und die gesetzlichen Voraussetzungen einer Haftüberstellung gestritten wird, schwingt auch die Erinnerung an die „Haysom-Morde“ mit.
Weiter lesen

Rechtsprechung ohne Gerechtigkeit

Deutschlandradio Kultur, 13. Juli 2012, Christian Mensching im Gespräch mit Andreas Müller – Seit 22 Jahren sitzt Jens Söring in den USA wegen Mordes hinter Gittern - womöglich zu Unrecht. Obwohl ihn DNA-Spuren entlasten, wird ihm nicht einmal die Überstellung nach Deutschland gewährt. Söring sei auf die Hilfe der Politik angewiesen, meint sein Anwalt Christian Mensching.


Im April 1985 soll der deutsche Jens Söring - damals 19 Jahre alt - die Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin, das Ehepaar Haysom, in deren Haus in einem Vorort von Lynchburg im US-Bundesstaat Virginia ermordet haben. Beweise gibt es dafür nicht, und Söring beteuert seine Unschuld, aber rechtskräftig verurteilt wurde er trotzdem. Das Urteil lautete auf zweimal lebenslange Haft.

Diverse Anträge auf vorzeitige Haftentlassung auf Bewährung wurden abgelehnt, sämtliche Versuche, ihn in ein deutsches Gefängnis zu überstellen, scheiterten - zuletzt gab es gestern die Nachricht, dass eine Gesuch abgelehnt wurde. Jens Söring wird zurzeit von drei Anwälten vertreten, einer ist Dr. Christian Mensching.

Wie ist denn jetzt der ganz aktuelle Stand der Dinge? Zum Interview

Deutscher in US-Knast: Jens Söring scheitert mit Antrag auf Haftüberstellung

Spiegel Online, 13. Juli 2012 – Seit 22 Jahren sitzt Jens Söring in den USA im Gefängnis, er beteuert seine Unschuld. Nun hat der Diplomatensohn eine weitere juristische Niederlage erlitten: Eine Richterin wies den Antrag auf Haftüberstellung nach Deutschland ab. Jens Söring kämpft dafür, den Rest seiner Strafe in einem deutschen Gefängnis verbüßen zu können, doch dieser Wunsch ist ein weiteres mal unerfüllt geblieben. Eine Richterin im Bundesstaat Virginia wies den Antrag auf Haftüberstellung nach Deutschland ab. Vorausgegangen war ein politisches hin und her. Der frühere demokratische Gouverneur Tim Kaine hatte eine Überstellung Sörings nach Deutschland erst abgelehnt, dann Anfang 2010 mit einer seiner letzten Amtshandlungen doch noch genehmigt. Sein republikanischer Nachfolger Bob McDonnell widerrief die Anordnung jedoch sofort an seinem ersten Tag im Amt. Diesen Rückzieher kritisierte Sörings Verteidigung als rechtswidrig. Die zuständige Richterin Beverly Snukals entschied jedoch, McDonnell sei befugt gewesen, die Entscheidung seines Vorgängers rückgängig zu machen. Weiter lesen

Verurteilter Deutscher in US-Gefängnis: Weinen? Geht nicht

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 17. Juli 2012, Interview von Karin Steinberger

Jens Söring wurde am 1. August 1966 als Sohn eines deutschen Diplomaten geboren. Am 30. April 1986 wurde er zusammen mit seiner Freundin Elisabeth Haysom in London verhaftet, am 12. Januar 1990 wurde er an die USA ausgeliefert und am 21. Juni 1990 wegen Doppelmordes an den Eltern von Elisabeth verurteilt. Zwei Mal lebenslänglich. Es ist ein Fall ohne Augenzeugen, ohne Fingerabdrücke, es gab Ungereimtheiten, Verfahrensfehler, befangene Richter. Jens Söring sagt, er war es nicht. 26 Jahre ist er jetzt im Gefängnis. Momentan sitzt er im Buckingham Correctional Center, Dylwin, Virginia. Eine Entlassung auf Bewährung wurde siebenmal abgelehnt. Im Januar 2010 stimmte der demokratische Gouverneur von Virginia, Timothy M. Kaine, einer Haftüberstellung Sörings nach Deutschland zu. Wenige Tage später nahm sein republikanischer Nachfolger Robert F. McDonnell diese Entscheidung zurück. Söring klagte, um die Haftüberstellung nach Deutschland juristisch doch noch durchzusetzen. Der Antrag wurde Ende letzter Woche abgewiesen.

Söring: Na, wie geht's?
SZ: Das wollte ich eigentlich Sie fragen? Sie haben gerade erfahren, dass Sie Ihren Prozess verloren haben.
Söring: Klar, ich bin enttäuscht. Überrascht bin ich nicht, ich habe in den 22 Jahren, die ich jetzt im virginianischen Strafvollzug verbracht habe, kein einziges Mal vor Gericht gewonnen. Im März wurde eine Studie veröffentlicht, da bekam Virginia die Note "f" für failure. Es wird ausdrücklich erwähnt, dass das Justizsystem in Virginia nicht unabhängig ist, weil die Richter von den Politikern ernannt werden. Sie fühlen sich verpflichtet, den so genannten Willen des Volkes auszuführen. Und der angebliche Wille hier ist, dass man mich nie frei lässt.
SZ: Es sah doch ganz gut aus, oder?
Söring: Mein Anwalt hatte ein gutes Gefühl bei der Gerichtsanhörung. Am Urteil ist vieles ungewöhnlich. Wir werden auf jeden Fall in Berufung gehen. Mein Anwalt glaubt, dass der Virginia Supreme Court den Fall zulassen wird, weil er so kontrovers ist. Dann gäbe es im Januar 2013 die mündliche Verhandlung. Und im März dann das Urteil.

SZ: Wie haben Sie es denn erfahren?
Söring: Nach dem Frühstück, um 7.30 Uhr. Ich saß auf dem Klo, da hat das elektronische Schloss an meiner Zellentür geschnurrt. Damit lassen sie uns wissen, dass man zum Kontrollraum kommen soll. Das Schloss hat also geschnurrt und dann kam über die Ansage: Söring - 204 - zum Kontrollraum.
SZ: 204?
Söring: Das ist meine Zellennummer. Ich habe mir also mein Hemd angezogen und meine Stiefel und bin sofort zur Kommandozentrale gegangen, watch office heißt das hier. Ich bin in ein Zimmer gebracht worden und da haben sie mir dann gesagt, dass der Fall abgelehnt worden sei. Sie haben gefragt, ob ich in Ordnung sei, oder ob ich obsessed bin. Wie sagt man das auf Deutsch.
SZ: Ob Sie besessen sind?
Söring: Naja, die machen sich Sorgen, dass man durchdreht und alles kaputt schlägt. Ich habe gesagt: Alles in Ordnung. Weiter lesen

Oktober 2012

Deutscher Doppelmörder Jens Söring bleibt in USA in Haft

WAZ, 12. Oktober 2012 von Dirk Hautkapp – Washington. Jens Söring sitzt in den USA wegen Doppelmordes in Haft. Der Deutsche sagt seit über 20 Jahren, dass er unschuldig sei. Er scheitert auch bei der achten Anhörung vor dem Begnadigungsausschuss in Virginia. Die Entscheidung stand schon seit Wochen fest, wie aus Brief von US-Offiziellen an Deutschen Bundestag hervorgeht. Der im US-Bundesstaat Virginia wegen Doppelmordes seit über 20 Jahren einsitzende Deutsche Jens Söring hat im Kampf um eine Haftverlegung in die Heimat eine weitere Niederlage erlitten. Wie der zuständige Begnadigungsausschuss in Richmond gestern mitteilte, kommt eine vorzeitige Entlassung und Überstellung des 45-Jährigen „wegen der Schwere der Tat“ bis auf weiteres nicht in Betracht. Söring verbüßt seit 1990 im Gefängnis von Buckingham eine zweimal lebenslange Haftstrafe. Er gilt als Bilderbuch-Häftling.Der Diplomatensohn war in einem Indizien-Prozess für schuldig befunden worden, 1985 mit seiner damaligen amerikanischen Lebensgefährtin Elizabeth deren Eltern auf bestialische Weise umgebracht zu haben. Söring war erst geständig – er wollte nach eigenen Angaben seine Freundin schützen, die die wahre Täterin gewesen sei. Später zog er seine Aussage und erklärte sich für unschuldig.

Bei der achten Anhörung vor dem „Virginia Parole Board“ (Begnadigungsausschuss) am 10. September hatten mehrere hochkarätige Ermittler, darunter zwei ehemalige Generalstaatsanwälte des Bundesstaates, die seinerzeit an dem Fall beteiligt waren, ausgesagt, dass Söring unschuldig sei. David Watson, bekannter, inzwischen pensionierter Mord-Kommissar aus Virginia, berichtete dem Gremium, dass eine erneute Begutachtung aller damals bekannten Indizien nur den Schluss zulasse, dass Söring fälschlicherweise verurteilt worden ist. Weiter lesen

Deutsche Politiker hoffen weiter auf Entlassung von Jens Söring

Tagesspiegel, 27. Oktober 2012 von Mathias Meisner – Eine Entlassung des verurteilten Deutschen Jens Söring in den USA ist trotz Ablehnung noch möglich. Diese Hoffnung jedenfalls haben Bundestagsabgeordnete, die sich seit Jahren für ihn einsetzen. Menschenrechtspolitiker im Bundestag geben die Hoffnung nicht auf, dass der seit mehr als 25 Jahren in den USA inhaftierte Deutsche Jens Söring noch in absehbarer Zeit frei kommt. Der Begnadigungsausschuss von Virginia hatte Söring Mitte Oktober informiert, dass sein Antrag auf Entlassung auf Bewährung erneut abgelehnt worden sei. Der SPD-Bundestagsabgeordnete Christoph Strässer, treibende Kraft einer deutschen Parlamentariergruppe, sagte dem Tagesspiegel, er verstehe, dass in der Öffentlichkeit Virginias eine Haftüberstellung von Söring nach Deutschland „sicher unpopulär“ sei. „Aber der Bewährungsausschuss als unabhängiges Gremium muss den Mut haben, auch unpopuläre Entscheidungen zu treffen.“ (…)

Strässer, Sprecher der Arbeitsgruppe Menschenrechte der SPD-Bundestagsfraktion, hat inzwischen die neue Ablehnung der Berufung genau analysiert, Söring, der seit 2003 Anträge auf Entlassung stellen darf, war bei der inzwischen schon achten Anhörung gescheitert. Irritiert zeigt sich Strässer, dass die ablehnende Haltung im jüngsten Fall offenbar schon vor der Entlassung festgestanden habe – er kann das belegen durch einen Schriftwechsel mit dem Vorsitzenden des Bewährungsausschusses. Strässer hatte ihm im August geschrieben und schon nach wenigen Tagen die Antwort erhalten, dass trotz unstreitig guter Führung Sörings nicht die Möglichkeit einer Entlassung bestehe – wegen der Schwere des Verbrechens. Weiter lesen

Post aus Amerika – Der Deutsche Jens Söring bleibt in US-Haft

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 29. Oktober 2012 von Karin Steinberger

Die Initiative eines Bundestagsabgeordneten wird ignoriert. Der negative Bescheid kommt schnell, nur wenige Tage vor einer wichtigen Anhörung.

Der Brief war von schneidender Freundlichkeit. Und er war klar und deutlich. Nummer 1161655 sei ein williger Häftling, der an vielen Programmen teilgenommen habe. Aber das erwarte man von allen Häftlingen. Jedenfalls gleiche das nicht die Schwere der Tat und die verhängte Strafe aus, schrieb William Muse, Vorsitzender des Parole Boards im US-Bundesstaat Virginia. Also: keine Überstellung nach Deutschland. "Very truly yours." Klar ist, die Antwort kam schnell. Vielleicht ein bisschen zu schnell. Der Bundestagsabgeordnete Christoph Strässer hatte am 22. August 2012 an William Muse einen Brief geschrieben, in dem er um die Überstellung des Deutschen Jens Söring in sein Heimatland bat.

Strässer ist Sprecher der Arbeitsgruppe Menschenrechte der SPD-Bundestagsfraktion, er kennt den Fall, er kämpft seit Langem für die Überstellung des Deutschen, er sagt: "Nach meinem Verständnis von Strafrecht hat jeder Mensch das Anrecht auf eine zweite Chance."
Der Diplomatensohn Söring war 1990 in den USA zu zweimal lebenslänglich verurteilt worden wegen des Mordes an den Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin. Söring gestand, widerrief. Seitdem sagt er, er war es nicht. Klar ist: Es war ein Fall ohne Augenzeugen, mit zahllosen Verfahrensfehlern, unterschlagenen Beweisen, sich widersprechenden Geständnissen, befangenen Richtern.

Strässer schrieb in seinem Brief, Jens Söring habe sich in all den Jahren im Gefängnis vorbildlich verhalten, er sei in der Lage, sich in die deutsche Gesellschaft wieder zu integrieren. Seine Überstellung wäre ein Gnadenakt nach mehr als einem Vierteljahrhundert Gefängnis - "ein Symbol des Vertrauens und der andauernden Freundschaft zwischen Deutschland und den Vereinigten Staaten". Schon im Sommer hatte Strässer in einem Brief an den Gouverneur von Virginia, Robert F. McDonnell, um die Überstellung von Söring gebeten. 53 Abgeordnete unterstützten ihn dabei. Die Antwort aus Amerika kam am 31. August, elf Tage bevor das Parole Board tagte, um zum achten Mal über eine Bewährung Sörings zu entscheiden. Weiter lesen

2013

Virginia

Nach 27 Jahren US-Knast holt die Kanzlerin Jens Söring heim?

Bonner Express, 4. Juni 2013 von Iris Klingelhöfer, Bonn/Berlin/Bedford County – Holt Bundeskanzlerin Merkel ihn zurück in seine Heimat? Wieder Hoffnung für Jens Söring (46). Sein Freundeskreis organisiert im Vorfeld des Obama-Besuchs in Berlin eine Protest-Aktion: „Yes, we can – Freiheit für Jens!“ Der Diplomatensohn, der in Bonn aufwuchs, schmort seit 27 Jahren wegen Doppelmordes in Virginia (USA) im Knast. Unschuldig, wie Jens Söring immer wieder beteuert. All seine Bewährungs- und Begnadigungsversuche sowie Haftüberstellungsanträge wurde in den USA regelmäßig ablehnt. Jetzt soll Angela Merkel helfen, dass er in ein deutsches Gefängnis überstellt wird. Dafür gibt es die Aktion. Sie findet am 5. Juni direkt vor Merkels „Haustür“ statt: auf dem Forum des Bundeskanzleramtes. Zwischen 10 und 11 Uhr versammeln sich dort Freunde und Unterstützer Sörings. „Wir möchten Frau Merkel eine Petition übergeben, in der wir sie bitten, sich im Gespräch mit US-Präsident Barack Obama für den deutschen Staatsbürger Jens Söring einzusetzen“, erklärt Organisator Dr. Wolfgang Welsch. Die Chancen stünden gut, so der 69-Jährige. Dürfte Söring nach Deutschland, hätte sein Leben im Knast ein absehbares Ende. Anders in Virginia, wo „lebenslänglich“ das auch heißt: Bis zum Tod. Weiter lesen

Häftling bittet Merkel und Obama um Hilfe

Frankfurter Rundschau, 14. Juni 2013 – Jens Söring hat schon oft gehofft, dass er aus dem Gefängnis kommt. Genauer gesagt: 27 Jahre lang. Er beteuert seine Unschuld, bestreitet, 1985 die Eltern seiner Freundin umgebracht zu haben. Nun setzt er auf die mächtigste Frau und den mächtigsten Mann der Welt. Er hofft, dass Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel bei ihrem Treffen mit US-Präsident Barack Obama in der nächsten Woche in Berlin seinen Fall zur Sprache bringen wird. Auf seiner Homepage hat er im Mai einen Brief veröffentlicht. Darin schreibt der 46-Jährige: „Auch wende ich mich an Berlin und bitte, nein, flehe und schreie um Hilfe: Wenn US-Präsident Barack Obama im Juni nach Berlin kommt (...) Holen Sie mich bitte heim!“ Ein US-Anwalt hat an Obama geschrieben, Sörings Freundeskreis um den Publizisten Wolfgang Welsch eine Petition an Merkel verfasst. Doch aus Sicht der Bundesregierung ist Obama hier machtlos. „Der amerikanische Präsident und die amerikanische Bundesregierung haben keinen Einfluss auf diesen Fall – weder politisch noch rechtlich. Insofern macht es wenig Sinn, es mit ihm direkt abzusprechen“, sagt der Menschenrechtsbeauftragte der Regierung, Markus Löning (FDP). Die Bundesregierung bemühe sich aber seit langem bei den Behörden des US-Bundesstaates Virginia um Söring. Dort sitzt er seit 1990 in der Haftanstalt Buckingham Correctional Center von Dillwyn und verbüßt eine zweimal lebenslange Haftstrafe wegen Doppelmordes an den Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin Elizabeth Haysom im Jahr 1985. Weiter lesen

Keine Gnade für Häftling 179212?

Jens Söring hofft seit 27 Jahren auf seine Freilassung

ZDF ZOOM, 27. Juni 2013

Jens Söring ist wohl der berühmteste Deutsche in einem amerikanischen Gefängnis. Er weigert sich, die letzten 28 Jahre zu akzeptieren. Noch immer sieht er aus wie damals im Gerichtssaal als 19-Jähriger - mit Hornbrille und dicken Gläsern. Seit 1986 ist er Häftling 179212. Ein US-Gericht in Virginia hat ihn zu zweimal lebenslänglich verurteilt, für einen Doppelmord, den er nicht begangen haben will. Jens Söring soll die Eltern seiner Freundin Elisabeth Hayson ermordet haben. Erst gestand er die Tat, weil er, wie er sagt, seine Freundin vor dem elektrischen Stuhl retten wollte. Sörings Vater war Diplomat, und Jens glaubte, dass ihn das schützen würde. Später widerruft er sein Geständnis. Zu spät - er wird verurteilt. Sein Fall strotzt vor Verfahrensfehlern. Es gibt neue Zeugen, neue Beweise, die ihn entlasten. Das alte Blut am Tatort hat man einer DNA-Analyse unterzogen, 42 Spuren wurden gefunden, keine passte zu Jens Söring. Doch auch nach fast 30 Jahren hassen ihn die Menschen in Virginia, wollen den Fall nicht wieder aufrollen. Söring, die deutsche Bestie, wie sie ihn nennen, bleibt weggesperrt. Söring kämpft jeden Tag um seine Freilassung, hat bisher 9 Bücher geschrieben - auch über das amerikanische Rechtssystem, das nur Rache und keine Gnade kennt. Der Film begibt sich auf Spurensuche und geht auch der Frage nach, wie gerecht das US-Rechtssystem ist. Ulf-Jensen Röller redet mit neuen Zeugen, deckt neue Beweise auf und konfrontiert den damals ermittelnden Sheriff mit den neuen Fakten.

ZDF ZOOM, 27. Juni 2013 – Keine Gnade für Häftling 179212?

Seit 28 Jahren sagt Söring, er sei unschuldig. Er zählt jeden Tag seiner Gefangenschaft. Nur so könne er überleben. "Lasst nicht zu, dass die hier in Virginia einfach den Schlüssel wegschmeißen", sagt er. Nur, wenn die Menschen ihn nicht vergessen würden, habe er eine Chance, nicht im Knast zu sterben.

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

Detective Gardner 2013.

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

2014

Germany

Jens Söring sitzt seit 28 Jahren wegen eines Mordfalls in US-Haft

Schwäbisches Tagesblatt, 14. April 2014 von Peter De Thier – Ist der Deutsche Jens Söring ein blutrünstiger Mörder oder Opfer eines Justizirrtums? Seit 28 Jahren sitzt er in den USA hinter Gittern, bis heute beteuert er seine Unschuld. Unser USA-Korrespondent hat ihn besucht.

Auf den ersten Blick könnte man glauben, er sei ein gebrochener Mann. Jens Söring wirkt müde, geschafft. Seine Augen, verborgen hinter einer Hornrandbrille, liegen tief in ihren Höhlen. Das freundliche und etwas verlegene Lächeln zur Begrüßung verrät zugleich die Verzweiflung eines noch relativ jungen Menschen, der weiß, dass er die Justizvollzugsanstalt in diesem entlegenen und heruntergekommen Dorf im ländlichen Virginia wohl niemals verlassen wird. In Wirklichkeit ist Jens Söring, 47, aber alles andere als fertig mit seinem Leben. Wird er auf den 30. März 1985 angesprochen, jenem schicksalsträchtigen Tag, der seine Zukunft besiegelte, dann blüht er auf. Sörings Augen leuchten. Er redet ohne Punkt und Komma und wiederholt, was er seit fast drei Jahrzehnten beteuert: "Ich war es nicht. Ich bin unschuldig, und ich habe keine Wahl, als für meine Freiheit weiterzukämpfen."
Weiter lesen

Im US-Gefängnis - Die erste Liebe brachte ihm lebenslang

Die Welt, 16. Juni 2014 von Susanne Zolke – Er sehnt sich nach seiner Heimat, nach dem Bonn der 80er-Jahre. Zu dieser Zeit war Jens Söring das letzte Mal an dem Ort, den er als seine Heimatstadt bezeichnet, hier hat er als Sohn eines viel reisenden Diplomaten vier Jahre am Stück verbracht. Wenn alles so kommt, wie es das Bezirksgericht Bedford County in Virginia, USA, am 21. Juni 1990 entschieden hat, wird er jedoch in seinem Leben weder Bonn sehen noch irgendetwas anderes als Gefängnismauern. An diesem Tag wurde er wegen Doppelmordes zu einer lebenslangen Haftstrafe verurteilt. In den USA bedeutet das wortwörtlich: bis zum Ende des Lebens. Jens Söring sagt, er sei unschuldig.Doch nun ist Bewegung in seinen Fall gekommen. Seit Januar dieses Jahres hat Virginia wieder einen demokratischen Gouverneur, Terry McAuliffe. Die Demokraten stehen traditionell eher für einen milderen Kurs als die Republikaner. Für Christoph Strässer (SPD), Menschenrechtsbeauftragter der Bundesregierung, ist diese aktuelle politische Ausgangslage ein Grund zur Hoffnung. "Nach allem, was wir wissen, haben wir in diesem Jahr ein Zeitfenster für eine Überstellung. Je näher wir dem nächsten Wahltermin kommen, desto schwieriger wird es, mit dem Thema kann man in Virginia keine Wahlen gewinnen. Ich fürchte fast, jetzt ist seine letzte Chance."
Weiter lesen

2015

Bonn

Doppelmörder – Fall des Bonner Diplomatensohns kommt ins Kino

Bonner Express, 26. März 2015 von Iris Klingelhöfer

„Sie schlitzten ihm den Hals auf?“, wird der damals 18-jährige Jens Söring im Prozess in Virginia (USA) gefragt. „Ja, das sagte ich“, bestätigt er. Und, dass er danach Mrs. Haysom ebenso tötete… Fast 30 Jahre ist diese Szene her. Kurz darauf wurde der Bonner Diplomatensohn zu zweimal lebenslänglich verurteilt. Jetzt kommt Jens Sörings Schicksal unter dem Titel „Das Versprechen“ ins Kino!

Produzent Marcus Vetter (47) und sein Team wühlten sich dafür durch 200 Stunden Prozessaufzeichnungen, 100 Interviewstunden und sichteten Fotos der blutüberströmten Leichen. Sie sprachen mit ehemaligen Ermittlern, besuchten den Richter – und interviewten den „Hauptdarsteller“ im Mörder-Gefängnis in Dillwyn, Virginia. Dort schmort Jens Söring (48) seit fast 30 Jahren – unschuldig, wie er behauptet. Er will den Doppelmord nur gestanden haben, um seine damalige Freundin Elisabeth Haysom vor der Todesstrafe zu schützen. Sie soll die tatsächliche Mörderin ihrer eigenen Eltern sein. „Wir haben drei Stunden mit Jens gesprochen“, erzählt Vetter. „Auf dem Rückweg nach New York hat keiner aus dem Team ein Wort gesagt – so stark standen alle unter dem Eindruck des Gehörten. Es konnte sich einfach keiner vorstellen, wie es ist, so lange unschuldig hinter Gitter zu sitzen. Dazu kam, wie Söring sich all diesen Fragen wieder gestellt hat. Er musste ja erstmal eine Liebesgeschichte erzählen…“ Weiter lesen

Interview mit Jens Söring im Buckingham Correctional Center in Virginia 2013.

Neuer Film über verurteilten Bonner – US-Ermittler von Jens Sörings Unschuld überzeugt

Bonner Express, 15. Mai 2015 von Iris Klingelhöfer

Ehemaliger Ermitller am Bedford County Sheriif´s Department Chuck Reid.

Jens Söring (48) schmort seit rund 30 Jahren wegen Doppelmordes im US-Knast in Dillwyn. Unschuldig, wie der Bonner Diplomaten-Sohn beteuert. Ende 2015/Anfang 2016 kommt ein Doku-Film über sein Schicksal in die Kinos. Doch schon jetzt sorgt der Trailer für Wirbel! Darin kommt auch der ehemalige führende Mordermittler zu Wort. Chuck Reid, inzwischen ergraut. Was er sagt, ist wie ein Paukenschlag (...):

 

„Nie und nimmer hätte dieser kleine Junge jemandem so viel Schaden zu fügen können“, erklärt jetzt Chuck Reid vor laufender Kamera. „Er war wie ein rotwangiges 18 Jahre altes Kindchen.“


Ein öffentlicher Zweifel an Sörings Schuld von einem amerikanischen Chef-Ermittler! Was bewirkt die Aussage, wenn der Film mit dem Titel „Das Versprechen“ neben Europa auch in den USA in die Kinos kommt und Reid groß über die Leinwand flimmert? „Es gibt mir Hoffnung, dass viele Menschen nun die Hauptfiguren in dieser Tragödie selber sehen und hören werden können“, schreibt Jens Söring. Schließlich sei jemand wie Reid von Anfang an dabei gewesen. „Wenn der es nicht weiß, wer sonst?“ Er habe die Hoffnung, dass die Wahrheit endlich ans Licht kommt. Weiter lesen

Bonner Jens Söring: Seit 30 Jahren im US-Knast – Zerbricht er an seinem Kampf?

Bonner Express, 29. September 2015 von Iris Klinkelhöfer

Bonn/Dillwyn (Virginia) - Große Sorge um Jens Söring! Der Bonner Diplomatensohn sitzt seit rund 30 Jahren wegen Doppelmordes im US-Knast in Dillwyn. All die Jahre kämpfte der inzwischen 48-Jährige wie ein Löwe um einen Freispruch und hatte – trotz vieler Rückschläge – immer noch Hoffnung. Doch jetzt scheint er an dem langen Kampf zu zerbrechen. Sein letztes Schreiben aus dem Gefängnis lässt bei seinen Freunden und Unterstützern die Alarmglocken schrillen.

„Eigentlich hatte ich vor, mich in diesem Newsletter von Euch allen zu verabschieden“, schreibt Jens. Denn, so erklärt er resigniert, es bestünde nun fast keine Möglichkeit mehr, dass er vor dem Ende der Amtszeit des gegenwärtigen Gouverneurs von Virginia noch befreit werden könne. Höchstens im Sommer 2017 – also in knapp zwei Jahren. „Aber ich glaube nicht, dass ich so lange aushalten kann“, schreibt Jens. „Ich schaffe es jetzt schon kaum noch, mich von Tag zu Tag durchzuhangeln.“

1985. Jens Söring, der als Diplomatensohn in Bonn aufwuchs, verknallte sich während des Studiums an der Uni Virginias Hals über Kopf in Elizabeth Haysom. Als am 30. März 1985 deren Eltern in ihrem Haus bestialisch ermordet wurden, gab er die Tat zu. Angeblich, um Elizabeth vor der Todesstrafe zu retten. Jens, damals 18, glaubte naiv, als Diplomatensohn vor Strafverfolgung geschützt zu sein. Weiter lesen

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

“I thought he was my soul mate, my life partner, my creative partner,” Elizabeth Haysom says of Jens Soering. (Photographs: AP; Illustration by Oliver Munday)

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.

Jens Soering speaks during an interview at the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, Va., in 2011. (Steve Helber/Associated Press)

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

Kann Jens Söring nach Deutschland zurückkehren?

Frankfurter Allgemeine, 17. Dezember 2015, von Christiane Heil

Seit 1990 sitzt der deutsche Diplomatensohn Jens Söring wegen Doppelmordes in Virginia im Gefängnis. Er ist jetzt 49 Jahre alt und will in sein Heimatland überstellt werden. Doch sein Gesuch erregt den Zorn der Republikaner. Zumindest für Rob Bell ist die Causa Söring längst geklärt.

„Sie hätte in fünf Sekunden entschieden werden sollen. Gouverneur McAuliffe hätte einfach ablehnen können“, tönte der Abgeordnete jetzt aus dem amerikanischen Bundesstaat Virginia, wo der wegen Doppelmordes verurteilte Jens Söring ein weiteres Mal die Haftüberstellung nach Deutschland beantragte. Bell und 17 weitere Republikaner der „Mother of States“ waren vor einigen Wochen auf Sörings Antrag aufmerksam geworden. Das Magazin „The New Yorker“, bekannt für lange Reportagen und bissige Kommentare, hatte in einem Artikel über die Haysom-Morde auch das Gesuch des Neunundvierzigjährigen erwähnt – und einen Sturm der Entrüstung hervorgerufen.

„Mr. Söring hat im Jahr 1985 Derek und Nancy Haysom getötet. Der Mord an den beiden Bewohnern Virginias gehört zu den grausamsten Verbrechen der vergangenen 30 Jahre. Mr. Sörings Entlassung nach Deutschland würde das Ansehen von Virginias Strafjustiz beschädigen“, schrieb Bell nach der Lektüre an Gouverneur Terry McAuliffe. Der Demokrat hatte zuvor bestätigt, er werde Sörings Antrag auf Haftüberstellung prüfen lassen.

„Wir widmen dem Gesuch dieselbe Aufmerksamkeit wie allen anderen“, sagte ein Sprecher McAuliffes. Dass sich der Fall des deutschen Diplomatensohns Söring anders als alle anderen entwickelt, ließen schon die Umstände der „Haysom murders“ ahnen. Nach dem grausamen Mord an den Eltern seiner früheren Freundin Elizabeth Haysom Anfang April 1985 war der damals Achtzehnjährige von Bedford County nach London geflüchtet. Weiter lesen

Jens Söring während eines Interviews im Jahr 2011 (Archiv-Foto © Picture-Alliance).

Va. governor denies convicted killer Jens Soering’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. Read more

Bonner bleibt in amerikanischer Haft

Bonner Rundschau, 28. Dezember 2015 von Dieter Brockschnieder – Der Bonner Jens Söring sitzt seit fast 30 Jahren in den USA im Gefängnis. Verurteilt für einen Doppelmord, den er bis heute leugnet. Nun wurde ein neuer Antrag auf Haftüberstellung abgelehnt. Der wegen Doppelmordes in den USA zu zweimal lebenslänglicher Haft verurteilte Bonner Jens Söring wird nicht in ein deutsches Gefängnis verlegt. Der Gouverneur des US-Bundesstaats Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, hat am 23. Dezember einen Antrag des 49-Jährigen auf Haftüberstellung abgelehnt. Das berichten amerikanische Medien und wird von Söring in einem am Montag veröffentlichten Brief an seine deutschen Unterstützer bestätigt.

„Ich muss Euch sagen, dass diese jüngste Entscheidung gegen mich es fast unmöglich für mich macht, jemals entlassen zu werden“, schreibt resigniert der Gefangene, der seit fast 30 Jahren in einem Gefängnis sitzt (…)

Und Söring selbst? Es ist nicht das erste Mal, dass er mit einem solchen Antrag gescheitert ist. So hat er sich 2012 auf ein Gutachten eines ehemaligen Polizeiermittlers gestützt, der nach Befragungen und Akteneinsicht zu der Überzeugung gelangt war, dass die damals dem Gericht präsentierten Beweise nicht ausreichend gewesen seien, um den Angeklagten schuldig zu sprechen. Jetzt hofft Söring, dass der im März startende Film „The Promise/Das Versprechen“ „vielleicht irgendwie die Dinge aufwühlt“. Abgesehen davon könne er nur versuchen, „noch mehr Beweise für meine Unschuld zu finden“. Sehen Sie auf der nächsten Seite den Trailer zum Film und ein Interview mit dem Filmemacher Markus Vetter, der den Fall neu aufgerollt hat. Weiter lesen

2016

Deutschland

Eure Feigheit kotzt mich an

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 12. Februar 2016 von Karin Steinberger

Der Deutsche Jens Söring sitzt wegen Mordes seit fast 30 Jahren im Gefängnis. Er sagt: Ich war es nicht. Aus seiner Zelle in den USA schreibt er Briefe, jeden Tag, unzählige, wie besessen. Seit zehn Jahren auch an die SZ. Als könnte er sich durch Worte befreien. Die Geschichte eines Mannes, der auch an seiner Heimat verzweifelt.

Wir kennen uns schon lange. Seit 2006. Da fing er an, mir zu schreiben, in einem wilden, kurios gespreizten Deutsch. Er entschuldigte sich, er sei zwar Deutscher, dürfe aber seit 1996 keine deutschen Zeitungen mehr lesen. Die Gefängnisleitung habe Angst vor allem, was sie nicht verstehen könne. Da saß er seit 20 Jahren im Gefängnis, erst in England, seit 1990 in den USA. Er schrieb über seine "elende Geschichte". Er platzte vor Wut. Jens Söring: Im Archiv war nichts über ihn zu finden. Ein Deutscher, den die Deutschen nicht kannten. Am 8. August 2006 saß ich ihm im Besucherraum des Brunswick Correctional Center, Virginia, gegenüber, ein blasser Mann, fast zerbrechlich. Der erste Gedanke: Wie hat der hier überlebt? Er hatte drei Bücher im Arm, von ihm geschrieben. Er glühte vor Stolz. Mehr als die Hälfte seines Lebens saß er da schon im Gefängnis, Jens Söring, geboren 1966 als ältester Sohn eines deutschen Diplomaten in Thailand, Hochbegabten-Stipendium an der University of Virginia, verurteilt zu zweimal lebenslang wegen Mordes an Nancy und Derek Haysom.

Zwei Stunden Besuchszeit, es war nicht viel für dieses grandios verpfuschte Leben. Ich bin unschuldig, sagte er schon damals. Danach fing er an, mir zu schreiben, wie ein Getriebener, seine Briefe landeten in großer Verlässlichkeit auf meinem Schreibtisch. Immer mit Gefängnis-Stempel: Dieser Brief wurde weder zensiert noch untersucht. In diesen elf Jahren hat Jens Söring sich x-mal gehäutet, um sich selbst gedreht. Alles, was er tat und dachte, spiegelte sich in seinen Briefen. Er bettelte um Aufmerksamkeit, sprühte vor Zorn, verbot Besuche, nahm alles wieder zurück. Er fand Gott, verlor ihn, er hasste sich selbst, dann das amerikanische Justizsystem, dann die feige deutsche Regierung. Es gab Zeiten, in denen er nicht mehr Radio hörte, die Geräusche des Lebens da draußen taten ihm weh, dann fing er an, sich Filme anzusehen, selbstquälerisch, über Justizirrtümer, er hörte Musik, von damals, als er die schöne, verkorkste Elizabeth Haysom kennenlernte, seine einzige, tödliche Liebe. Ihre Eltern wurden am 30. März 1985 brutal ermordet, für diesen Mord büßt er. Er hat sich gehäutet, um sich selbst gedreht, aber in all den Jahren hat er eines immer wieder gesagt, geschworen und geschrieben: Ich bin unschuldig. Er sagt, er habe die Tat gestanden, weil er Elizabeth vor dem elektrischen Stuhl retten wollte, er rechnete mit Jugendhaft in Deutschland. Er glaubte, er sei unfehlbar. Der Prozess in den USA war ein TV-Spektakel. Jens Söring schreibt: Ist meine Schuld erwiesen, ohne jeden Zweifel? Weiter lesen

Seit fast 30 Jahren sitzt der Deutsche Jens Söring in den USA im Gefängnis, verurteilt als Doppelmörder. Er beteuert seine Unschuld. Foto: Freundeskreis Jens Söring (Foto: picture alliance / dpa)

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?

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

Das Versprechen – Weltpremiere

"Das Versprechen" Eröffnet die Reihe "Neues Deutsches Kino" auf dem 34. Filmfest München

34. Filmfest München – Weltpremiere am 24. Juni 2016

Emotionsgeladen: Neues Deutsches Kino

Filmfest München, 1. Juni 2016 Liebe, Hass, Verrat: Zwischen Zuneigung und Gewalt pendeln die Filme in der diesjährigen Auswahl der Reihe Neues Deutsches Kino, die vom Liebesmelodram über die True-Crime-Dokumentation bis zur rabenschwarzen Komödie und dem Road-Movie reichen. Die Reihe zeigt Filme junger Regisseure genauso wie die neuesten Werke bekannter Namen. „Das Filmfest München ist eine der wichtigsten Plattformen für innovatives deutsches Kino“, sagt Festival-Leiterin Diana Iljine. „Filme wie OH BOY, LOVE STEAKS, DAS ZIMMERMÄDCHEN LYNN oder DER NACHTMAHR wurden hier entdeckt. Das Festival zeigt, wie neugierig und entschieden deutsche Filmemacher neue Wege suchen.

“Wie nah große Liebe und Verbrechen beieinander liegen können, zeigt der Dokumentarfilm DAS VERSPRECHEN. Er rollt den brutalen Doppelmord an dem Ehepaar Nancy und Derek Haysom im Jahr 1985 auf, für den Jens Söring, der deutsche Freund ihrer Tochter Elisabeth, verurteilt wurde. Als Sprecher sind Imogen Poots und Daniel Brühl zu hören. Weiter lesen

Filmtipp zum Münchner Filmfest, Bayrischer Rundfunk Kultursendung Corso vom 23.06.2016

Naiver Freund oder eiskalter Mörder?

RTL Next, 06.06.2016 von Rebekka Kaiser – Es klingt wie eine düster-romantische Kriminalgeschichte, die ein Drehbuchautor nach ein paar Whiskeys zu viel niedergeschrieben hat. So beinhaltet dieser Fall alle Zutaten, nach denen ein erfolgssüchtiger Hollywood-Produzent lechzen dürfte: Einen hochintelligenten und verschrobenen Studenten, eine schöne Frau, Sex, Drogen und einen brutalen Doppelmord. Seit fast 30 Jahren schmort der Bonner Diplomatensohn Jens Söring (49) im US-Gefängnis, weil er die Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin umgebracht haben soll. Er beteuert seine Unschuld und sagt, dass er von seiner ersten großen Liebe hereingelegt worden sei. Um den Fall zu verstehen, ist eine Reise ins Jahr 1984 unerlässlich: Der gerade einmal 18-jährige Jens Söring trifft an der University of Virginia Elizabeth Haysom, die Tochter eines Stahlbarons. Er ist ein schlaksiger Nerd mit riesiger Hornbrille, spielt in Garagenbands und gewinnt Kunstpreise. Sie ist das beliebteste Mädchen auf dem Campus, wie Söring in seinem Buch 'Nicht schuldig' berichtet. Ihre Kommilitonen fasziniert die 20-jährige mit ihren Geschichten über eine wilde Internatszeit in Europa. Dann passiert ein kleines Wunder: Die Campus-Prinzessin wählt sich ausgerechnet den unscheinbaren Nerd als Freund aus. Weiter lesen

Der Dokumentarfilm "Das Versprechen"

Karin Steinberger und Marcus Vetter im Corso-Gespräch mit Anja Buchmann – Deutschlandfunk vom 24.06.2016 – Es könnte ein Gerichts-Krimi sein, mit einem sehr komplexen Drehbuch – zumindest was die Hintergründe, die Beweislage und die Psychologie der Protagonisten anbetrifft. Aber es ist eine wahre Geschichte.

Der Dokumentarfilm "Das Versprechen" handelt von Jens Söring, der in jungen Jahren die Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin Elisabeth in Virginia umgebracht haben soll. Zwei Menschen, unter denen Elisabeth wohl sehr gelitten hat – es geht um große Kontrolle, um Macht und Beherrschen, möglicherweise um Missbrauch.Jedenfalls: Jens Söring wollte zu Beginn seine Elisabeth retten, die – so sagt er – die Eltern selbst umgebracht hat und nahm die Schuld auf sich. Dann ist er zurück gerudert, beteuert seit Jahrzehnten seine Unschuld. Die Beweislage ist sehr zweifelhaft, dennoch sitzt er seit 30 Jahren im Knast. Elisabeth übrigens auch. So die ganz groben Hintergründe zur Dokumentarfilm "Das Versprechen" von der SZ-Journalistin Karin Steinberger und dem Filmemacher Marcus Vetter. Jetzt anhören

Zweimal lebenslänglich

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 29.06.2016 von Karin Steinberger: Der Dokumentarfilm "Das Versprechen", nach SZ-Recherchen zum Fall Jens Söring, beschäftigt sich mit einem Justizskandal. Seit 30 Jahren, zwei Monaten und zwei Tagen sitzt der Deutsche Jens Söring im Gefängnis, erst in England, mittlerweile in den USA. Sein Urteil: Zweimal lebenslänglich für den Doppelmord am Ehepaar Nancy und Derek Haysom, die er im Frühjahr 1985 in einem Blutrausch in ihrem Haus in Lynchberg erstochen haben soll. Im Jahr 2006 besuchte die SZ-Redakteurin Karin Steinberger den Häftling Jens Söring zum ersten Mal, denn es mehrten sich die Hinweise, dass die US-Behörden im Prozess gegen ihn eklatante Fehler gemacht haben könnten. Sörings Fall war zu diesem Zeitpunkt fast in Vergessenheit geraten: nur ein paar juristische Fachzeitschriften hatten sich zuletzt noch damit beschäftigt. Die Recherchen der Journalistin lösten ein großes Medienecho aus, genauso wie die weiteren Reportagen und Interviews, die sie in dieser Angelegenheit veröffentlichte. Aus dieser Vorarbeit des letzten Jahrzehnts ist nun der Dokumentarfilm "Das Versprechen" entstanden, den Steinberger gemeinsam mit dem Filmemacher Marcus Vetter gedreht hat - ihre dritte Zusammenarbeit. Weiter lesen

Fall Söring: Neben der Spur

Seit mehr als 30 Jahren sitzt Jens Söring im Gefängnis, er soll zwei Menschen ermordet haben. Er sagt, er war es nicht, aber keiner glaubt ihm. Bis zu dem Tag, an dem klar wird: Es muss ein anderer Mann am Tatort gewesen sein.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 23. August 2016 von Karin Steinberger

Er kennt diesen Deutschen nicht, er hat nur gesehen, was dieser Deutsche angerichtet haben soll, zwei Tote, von Messerstichen durchbohrt, die Kehlen durchschnitten, ein See von Blut. Andy Griffiths hat angefangen, in der Sache Jens Söring zu recherchieren, weil ihn ein amerikanischer Anwalt darum gebeten hat. Er macht das mit großer Hingabe, wenn es angefordert wird, alte Fälle noch mal neu durchforsten, die Fakten mit den Aussagen vergleichen, den Tatort mit dem Geständnis, neutraler Blick. Es ist erstaunlich, was dabei herauskommen kann.

Andy Griffiths sitzt in seinem Garten, Burgess Hill, England, wenn sich der verdammte neue Sonnenschirm nicht ständig im Kreis drehen würde, könnte er erzählen. Weil, ganz ehrlich, er hat schon viel gesehen, aber selten derart brachial durchtrennte Kehlen. Sonne, Schatten, Sonne, Schatten, der Schirm tanzt, Andy Griffiths steht auf, ruckelt am Gestänge herum, während er erzählt, wie schwierig es ist, jemanden derart zu verletzen, er hat das mit Kollegen besprochen, es ist harte Arbeit, man muss wissen, was man tut. Und dann das vom Blut verschmierte, rutschige Messer. Griffiths ist ein kleiner Mann, der jetzt mit einem großen Schirm kämpft, dann setzt er sich wieder hin und sagt: "Ich habe mir alles angeschaut, alle Fakten, und dachte mir, das ist extrem unwahrscheinlich."

(Foto: Stefan Dimitrov/Süddeutsche Zeitung)

Andy Griffiths ist ungefähr so lange im Polizeidienst wie Jens Söring im Gefängnis. 30 Jahre, drei Monate und 25 Tage sind es bei Söring. Griffiths fing 1984 bei der Polizei an, da lernte Jens Söring gerade Elizabeth Haysom an der University of Virginia kennen. Damals gab es noch keinen Tatort, kein Geständnis, keine blutdurchtränkten Kleider. Die Welt lag vor ihm. Söring, der Hochbegabtenstipendiat, Sohn eines deutschen Diplomaten, sehr altklug, sehr unerfahren, sehr unbelehrbar, war hingerissen von diesem Mädchen, das irre Geschichten erzählte von Vergewaltigungen und lesbischen Freundinnen und von der Mutter, die sie missbrauchte. Eine Stimme wie Samt, britischer Akzent, den sie aus den englischen Boarding Schools mitgebracht hatte und mit großer Geste zelebrierte. Es gibt natürlich Menschen, die eine Tat gestehen, die sie nicht begangen haben. Er kennt einige. Was interessierten ihn die Warnungen der Eltern, die nicht fassen konnten, dass der Sohn diese Lügen nicht durchschaute. Er war verliebt, er glaubte jedes Wort. So fing sie an, die Geschichte von Jens Söring und Elizabeth Haysom, von der Söring mittlerweile selber nicht mehr glaubt, dass es je eine Liebesgeschichte war. Ein paar Monate waren sie zusammen, dann lagen ihre Eltern im Blut: Nancy und Derek Haysom, ermordet in ihrem Haus in Lynchburg, Virginia. Das war am 30. März 1985. Da war Jens Söring 18. Weiter lesen

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

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. Bedford County Sheriff’s Office investigator Ricky Gardner was assigned to this case. Read more

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

WDBJ7 August 24, 2016 CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The man convicted of carrying out a high-profile murder in Bedford County is asking the Governor for a pardon. Speaking in front of reporters at a Charlottesville event space, attorney Steven Rosenfield said Wednesday that his client Jens Soering did not get a fair trial in Bedford County in 1990. "There is a killer still at large," Rosenfield said. In laying out his case for Soering's release, Rosenfield told reporters the evidence originally used to convict his client has been "reevaluated." "This is not so much new information as it is a new analysis," Rosenfield explained. 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

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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 Söring und Elizabeth Haysom

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.

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

Neueste

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.”

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) announces his criminal justice revisions legislative package in Richmond. At left is Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran. (Joe Mahoney/Times-Dispatch/AP)

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

Fall Jens Söring Deutscher im US-Gefängnis: Doppelmörder oder Justizirrtum?

Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, 12. Januar 2017 von Petra Pluwatsch

Köln - Wie viele Briefe in den vergangenen Wochen ihren Weg von Deutschland nach Virginia gefunden haben – Bernadette Faber weiß es nicht. „Es mögen tausende sein.“ Seit November läuft die mittlerweile achte Briefwelle des „Freundeskreises Jens Söring“, dessen Mitglied sie ist. Das Ende der Aktion ist offen, das Ziel indes glasklar: Den in den USA inhaftierten deutschen Staatsbürger Jens Söring endlich freizubekommen. Seit mehr als 30 Jahren sitzt Söring in amerikanischen Gefängnissen – verurteilt zu zweimal lebenslänglich wegen Doppelmords. Am 30. März 1985 soll der damals 18-jährige Diplomatensohn im Städtchen Bedford County in Virginia die Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin Elizabeth mit Dutzenden Messerstichen ermordet haben. Doch inzwischen gibt es berechtigte Zweifel an Sörings Schuld. Nicht seine, sondern die DNA zweier bislang unbekannter Männer wurde 1985 am Tatort gefunden. Das ergab im August 2016 eine Untersuchung des gerichtsmedizinischen Instituts von Virginia. Anfang Dezember 2016 fand in Richmond vor dem „Parole Board“, dem Bewährungsausschuss, eine Anhörung statt, in der die neuen Untersuchungsergebnisse präsentiert wurden und Söring dringlich um „Entlassung auf Bewährung“ bat. Es war sein nunmehr zwölfter Antrag seit 2003.

Bundestagspräsident Norbert Lammert und 97 Bundestagsabgeordnete schickten zeitgleich zwei Schreiben an den Gouverneur von Virginia, Terence R. McAuliffe, in denen sie „ihre Sorge um die fortgesetzte Inhaftierung von Jens Söring“ zum Ausdruck brachten und die jüngsten Ermittlungsergebnisse ansprachen. Diese stärkten „die Glaubwürdigkeit von Jens Sörings Unschuldsbeteuerung“. Die Politiker verwiesen zudem auf den Dokumentarfilm „Das Versprechen“ von Marcus Vetter und Karin Steinberger, der im Herbst 2016 in die Kinos kam und zahlreiche Fehler bei den Ermittlungen aufdeckt. Seitdem seien viele Menschen in Deutschland in Sorge, dass hier ein Fehlurteil vorliege, so die Politiker. Man vertraue „auf eine faire und unvoreingenommene Neubewertung des Falls“. Chuck Read, einer der damaligen Ermittler, hat sich inzwischen ebenfalls in die auch in den USA lebhaft geführte Debatte um Sörings mögliche Unschuld eingemischt. Er habe von Anfang Zweifel an der Täterschaft dieses „18 Jahre alten Kids“ gehabt, gab er in einem Interview für den Nachrichtenkanal NBC zu. Heute sei er davon überzeugt, dass Söring in der fraglichen Nacht gar nicht am Tatort gewesen sei. Verändert hat all das gar nichts. Häftling 1161655 sitzt nach wie vor im „Buckingham Correctional Center“ von Dillwyn in Virginia. Weiter lesen

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.”

Jens Soering, a German national who was convicted of killing his girlfriend's parents in 1985, insists the police and jury didn't get the case right. (Claritza Jimenez, Laura Vozzella, Julio Negron/The Washington Post)

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

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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

Jens Söring: 31 Jahre Haft – und kein Ende

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2. April 2017 von Karin Steinberger

"Der Staat hat mir entsetzliches Leid angetan", sagt der wegen Mordes in den USA verurteilte Jens Söring. "Er hat mir mein Leben und meine Freiheit geraubt." (Foto: Karin Steinberger)
Brisant von 05.04.2017

Obwohl neue Fakten vorliegen, lehnt die zuständige Kommission die Bewährung des deutschen Häftlings Jens Söring erneut ab. Der betont weiterhin seine Unschuld.

Es ist erst ein paar Tage her, er war aufgekratzt, traurig, er war nachdenklich und dann euphorisch, er sprang von einem Aggregatzustand in den nächsten. Er war anders als bei den Besuchen in den Jahren davor. Vielleicht war es das: Er war auf eine vorsichtige Art glücklich. Durch das kleine Fenster im Besucherraum zog der Geruch der Kantine, ab halb vier gibt es im Buckingham Correctional Center Abendessen - für erwachsene Männer. Jens Söring, Gefangener Nummer 1161655, verurteilt zu zweimal lebenslang für den Mord an Nancy und Derek Haysom, schien das alles gar nicht mehr wahrzunehmen. Man versöhnt sich mit Orten, wenn man glaubt, sie bald verlassen zu dürfen. Selbst mit diesem Koloss aus Beton, 1349 Correctional Center Road, Dillwyn, Virginia, USA. Die Adresse, dachte er immer, wird einmal sein Grab. Aber diesmal erzählte er von dem kleinen Säckchen, das er gepackt hat. Zahnpasta, Zahnbürste, Seife, Deo und eine Liste mit Adressen. Das Säckchen steht seit einiger Zeit in seiner Zelle. Er ist bereit, Tag und Nacht. Er hat sich auch eine Levi's Blue Jeans gekauft, ein Markenhemd, Schuhe, das erste Mal in all den Jahren, damit er wie ein Mensch aussieht, wenn er wieder unter freie Menschen kommt. Er nestelte an seinem hellblauen Gefängnishemd herum, an seiner blauen Gefängnisjeans, hinten ein Gummizug. Er lachte kurz und bitter. Keine Sekunde würde er irgendwas davon da draußen anlassen. Mehr als 100 Dollar hat er ausgegeben, um gut auszusehen, wenn er nach fast 31 Jahren ins Leben zurückgeht. "Damit ich nicht splitterfasernackt über den Atlantik fliege." Weiter lesen


BRISANT: Jens Söring: Mehr als 30 Jahre Haft und kein Ende

ARD Brisant vom 05.04.2017 – Ein Mann legt für seine große Liebe ein falsches Geständnis ab und sitzt seit fast 31 Jahren im Gefängnis. So könnte man beschreiben, was dem Deutschen Jens Söring passiert ist. Jetzt ansehen

Aus Liebe im Gefängnis: Warum Jens Söring trotz neuer Beweise nicht freikommt

Stern TV, 26. April 2017

Jens Söring wurde als junger Mann in den USA zu zweimal lebenslänglich verurteilt, weil er die Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin ermordet haben soll. Söring beteuert bis heute seine Unschuld. Er habe das anfängliche Geständnis nur abgelegt, um seine große Liebe zu schützen - als Diplomatensohn glaubte er an Immunität. Der Fall ist und bleibt kompliziert. Jens Söring sitzt seit 30 Jahren und 11 Monaten in Haft. Ist er schuldig – oder unschuldig? Diese Frage stellten sich unzählige Menschen im Laufe der Jahre: Richter, Anwälte, Filmemacher, Journalisten, Freunde der Familie. Vieles deutet inzwischen darauf hin, dass Söring damals dumm und naiv – einfach aus Liebe – handelte, als er einen brutalen Doppelmord gestand, den er womöglich gar nicht begangen hatte. Söring ist hochintelligent. In den 80er Jahren war er als Stipendiat an der Universität von Virginia. Der Sohn eines deutschen Diplomaten war 1990 von einem US-Gericht zu zweimal lebenslänglich verurteilt worden, weil der damals 19-Jährige die Eltern seiner Freundin Elizabeth Haysom getötet haben soll. Elizabeth Haysom war seine erste große – und bis heute einzige – Liebe. Weiter lesen

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

Justiz in den USA Republikanischer Sheriff fordert Freiheit für Jens Söring

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 4. Mai 2017 von Karin Steinberger

Als Sheriff Chip Harding, ein Mann mit eisig blauen Augen, zuständig im County of Albemarle, am 2. Mai seinen Brief an den Gouverneur von Virginia schickte, wusste er, was kommen würde. In seinem Brief fordert er die Freilassung des Gefangenen 1161655. Jens Söring, der 1985 die Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin Elizabeth Haysom ermordet haben soll, sei fälschlicherweise verurteilt worden, schreibt der Sheriff. Seitdem ist nicht nur bei ihm im Büro die Hölle los.

Wer Harding am Telefon erreicht, hat Glück oder eine Verabredung, er hat gerade wenig Zeit. Am Tag der Veröffentlichung seines Briefes allein kamen sieben Fernsehstationen für ein Interview. Und es geht weiter. Er hatte noch gar keine Zeit, sich die Hasskommentare durchzulesen, die sich im Internet sammeln. Sein Sohn hat ihm davon erzählt: Was zum Teufel macht dieser Sheriff? Der Sheriff lacht.

Beteuert seit mehr als 30 Jahren seine Unschuld: Häftling Jens Söring. (Foto: Das Versprechen)

Ob er mit diesem Hass gerechnet hat? Natürlich, sagt Harding. Als er das letzte Mal beweisen konnte, dass ein Mann unschuldig verurteilt wurde, rief ihn ein anderer Sheriff an und fragte ihn: Was zum Teufel machst du da, Mann. Als wäre es wichtiger, recht zu behalten, als Recht zu sprechen.

Dass Jens Söring selber seit mehr als 30 Jahren sagt, er sei unschuldig, kennen sie in Virgina mittlerweile. Auch, dass es immer wieder neue Unterstützer gibt, neue Erkenntnisse - geschenkt. Aber dass sich jetzt nach einem der damaligen Ermittler auch ein amtierender Sheriff, noch dazu ein Republikaner, für den Deutschen einsetzt, der zu zwei Mal lebenslänglich verurteilt wurde, das ist dann doch eine Sensation.

Chip Harding sagt, dass er über den Fall nicht viel mehr wusste als das, was man in der Presse darüber in all den Jahren lesen konnte. Als der republikanische Gouverneur Bob McDonnell 2010 die Haftüberstellung Sörings nach Deutschland blockierte, fand er das richtig. Als ihn Sörings Anwalt Steve Rosenfield bat, sich die Akten mal anzusehen, dachte er, warum nicht. "Aber sobald ich anfing zu lesen, konnte ich das nicht so auf sich sitzen lassen. Ich wusste, das ist Unrecht." Weiter lesen

Fall Jens Söring "Ich bin ganz klar der Meinung, dass er rausgelassen werden sollte"

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 5. Mai 2017 Interview von Karin Steinberger

Jens Söring, der in den USA zu lebenslanger Haft verurteilt wurde, beteuert seit 30 Jahren seine Unschuld. Ausgerechnet ein republikanischer Sheriff wird jetzt zu seinem wichtigsten Fürsprecher.

Die Tat, derentwegen Jens Söring in den USA im Gefängnis sitzt, liegt 30 Jahre zurück. Damals war Söring, in Thailand als Sohn eines deutschen Diplomaten geboren, 19 Jahre alt und Student an der University of Virginia. Am 30. März 1985 soll er die Eltern seiner damaligen Freundin Elizabeth Haysom in deren Wohnung auf brutale Weise ermordet haben. Söring und Haysom wurden ein Jahr danach in London verhaftet, später wurde er an die USA ausgeliefert. Er gestand, widerrief das Geständnis, sagte später, er habe sich selbst der Tat bezichtigt, um seine Freundin vor dem elektrischen Stuhl zu retten.

Chip Harding, Sheriff im US-Bundesstaat Virginia, setzt sich für den zu lebenslänglicher Haft verurteiliten Deutschen Jens Söring ein. (Foto: Privat)

Immer wieder gab es seitdem Bemühungen, den Deutschen aus dem Gefängnis zu holen. Doch dass sich jetzt ein amtierender Sheriff, noch dazu ein Republikaner, für Söring einsetzt, ist eine überraschende Wende.

Chip Harding hat Akten geprüft, Beweisanträge gelesen und DNA-Analysen studiert. Er hat den damals leitenden Ermittler interviewt und Söring selbst. Sein Ergebnis nach 200 Stunden Arbeit: Der Deutsche sitzt zu Unrecht im Gefängnis. Also schrieb er Anfang dieser Woche einen langen Brief an den Gouverneur und forderte die Freilassung des Gefangenen. Im Interview erklärt er, warum ihm Fehlurteile früher egal waren und wie er jetzt auf der Suche nach Gerechtigkeit angefeindet wird.

Süddeutsche Zeitung
: Sheriff Harding, es ist ja gerade einiges los bei Ihnen.

Chip Harding: Ich war darauf vorbereitet. Es ist ja auch gut, dass die Geschichte bekannter wird. Es ist gut, dass der Staat Virginia sieht: Es gibt immer zwei Seiten. Der Fall liegt einfach nicht so, wie es in all den Jahren dargestellt wurde. Weiter lesen

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Neue Beweise für Unschuld des Diplomaten-Sohns?

Die Welt, 05. Mai 2017 von Michael Remke – Wegen Doppelmordes sitzt Jens Söring seit 30 Jahren in US-Haft. Der Sohn eines deutschen Diplomaten beteuert seine Unschuld. Ein Sonderermittler will neue Beweise gefunden haben, die ihn entlasten.

Es ist allein die Hoffnung, die Jens Söring geblieben ist. Vielleicht ist sie das Einzige, was ihn am Leben hält. Seit mittlerweile 30 Jahren sitzt der gebürtige Deutsche in einem Gefängnis im US-Bundesstaat Virginia. Einen Doppelmord soll er begangen haben, eine Tat, von der nicht nur der Verurteilte sagt, er habe damit nichts zu tun. Auch mehrere private Ermittler haben in den vergangenen Jahren mit neuen DNA-Beweise und Indizien immer wieder Zweifel an der Schuld des Beschuldigten geäußert. Bisher allerdings wurden alle Versuche der Verteidigung, den Fall neu aufzurollen, von den nächst höheren Instanzen abgelehnt. Auch Gnadengesuche, den Inhaftierten nach Deutschland auszuliefern, lehnten gleich mehrere Gouverneure des Bundesstaates bis heute ab.

Jetzt gibt es neue Hoffnung für den mittlerweile 50 Jahre alten Diplomatensohn. Sheriff J. E. „Chip“ Harding, der den Fall im Auftrag der Verteidigung erneut untersucht hat, kommt zu dem Schluss, dass Jens Söring tatsächlich unschuldig sein könnte und die Geschworenen in dem Prozess von 1990 „zu einem Fehlurteil“ gekommen seien. Harding empfiehlt dem demokratischen Gouverneur Terry McAuliffe deshalb, Söring zu begnadigen. Weiter lesen

30 Jahre im US-Gefängnis: Jens Söring hofft auf Freilassung

Hannoverische Allgemeine, 05. Mai 2017 – Seit 30 Jahren sitzt Jens Söring in den USA in Haft, weil er einen Doppelmord begangen haben soll – was er stets bestritten hat. Jetzt kommt Bewegung in den Fall.

Buckingham – Es könnte einer der spektakulärsten Fälle in der amerikanischen Justizgeschichte werden: 30 Jahre nach seiner Verurteilung wegen Doppelmordes hat Jens Söring gute Chancen auf einen neuen Prozess. Anwälte und Unterstützerkreise fordern schon seit Jahren die Freilassung des Deutschen. Nun aber wendet sich sogar der Sheriff an den Gouverneur von Virginia: Nach heutigen Erkenntnissen wäre der 50-Jährige wohl niemals angeklagt worden, sagt der Beamte.

Söring zählt zu den bekanntesten Häftlingen in den Vereinigten Staaten. 1985 soll er die Eltern seiner früheren Freundin Elizabeth Haysom mit einem Messer brutal getötet haben. Söring flüchtete mit seiner Freundin aus den USA und wurde am 30. April 1986 in London wegen Scheckbetrugs festgenommen. Zunächst gestanden sie den Mord, später jedoch zogen sie ihre Aussagen wieder zurück. Der Sohn eines deutschen Diplomaten, der sich damals mit einem Studienstipendium für Hochbegabte in Amerika aufhielt, bestreitet die Tat bis heute. Seine Freundin wurde ebenfalls verurteilt. Zu 90 Jahren wegen Anstiftung zum Mord. Tatsächlich sieht es ganz danach aus, als ob nun, nach all den Jahren, wieder Bewegung in den Fall kommt: Dank neuer DNA-Testergebnisse grübeln selbst hartgesottene Kriminologen, ob bei den Ermittlungen alles mit rechten Dingen zugegangen ist. Weiter lesen


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

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