RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — A man and woman convicted of killing her parents were granted parole Monday and will be released to ICE for deportation.
Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom were convicted of killing Haysom’s mother and father in their Bedford County home in 1985.
Both were University of Virginia students and in a relationship. Soering is German. Haysom is Canadian.
“After over 30 years behind bars, he needs to be out. He needs to be back in Germany,” said Chuck Reid, a former investigator with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. WFXR spoke with Reid about the case prior to the announcement regarding the parole decision.
Soering initially confessed to the crime, but later recanted his confession and has maintained his innocence over the years. Haysom pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the murders before the fact, but said she did not physically take part in the killings.
Over the years, Soering has had many supporters voice their doubts about the original investigation and his conviction.
“In this case, I have put in over 5,000 hours representing Jens Soering and I assure you I would not have spent this kind of time turning down many, many other cases if I thought Jens Soering was guilty,” said Steven Rosenfield, attorney for Soering. Rosenfield said he had not spoke with Soering after the parole decision was announced and only knew what was being reported.
Despite Soering’s initial confession, there have been lingering questions in the case.
“When I Luminol-ed the car, why didn’t I pick up any blood?” asked Reid. “So the circumstances for me just aren’t there,” said Reid.
Reid said he always had his doubts about Soering’s involvement in the case, pointing to the absence of blood found in the rental car Soering was said to have used to commit the crime. Reid also showed WFXR an FBI profile in which the killer was described as likely a female who was closely related to the victims.
“There is no physical evidence that Jens Soering was there,” said Rosenfield.
Several years ago, Soering’s attorney field a petition for a pardon with the Governor’s office.
“When we filed the petition in August 2016, it included the DNA findings, serology report, and other information, and over the course of the next 2 years, we have submitted five additional sets of records such as expert testimony from our DNA professionals,” said Rosenfield.
Bit it was also announced Monday that the request for an absolute pardon was denied.
An email from the office of Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) said he rejected Soering’s request for an absolute pardon.
“Governor Northam has rejected Jens Soering’s request for an absolute pardon, after thoroughly reviewing the case and the Parole Board’s investigation,” the statement from Northam’s office said. “This decision is in line with the Parole Board’s recommendation. The Governor was also made aware that the Parole Board voted to release Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom to ICE, after which they will be permanently removed from the United States and unable to return. Governor Northam respects the Parole Board’s expertise and appreciates their work on this and all other cases.”
But some still have doubts about Soering’s guilt.
“I don’t mind being wrong. I mean at least I know tried and out forth the effort and didn’t turn a blind eye to fair and equal justice,” said Reid.