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.
At the beginning, Reid says Jens Soering, who was dating the Haysom's daughter Elizabeth, was not considered a suspect. In fact, Reid says an FBI profile suggested the suspect was a woman, and suspicion fell on a former girlfriend of the Haysom's son.
In October 1985, Reid says Soering was called into the Bedford Sheriff's office for questioning.
"When he walked in the office, to be honest with you, I was very much surprised and kind of shocked. This little 18-year-old kid, I couldn't see doing this kind of damage," said Reid.
Less than a week later, Soering and Elizabeth Haysom fled the country. By the time they were apprehended in London in 1986, Reid was no longer with the Sheriff's office.
When questioned, Soering confessed to killing the Haysoms, but later recanted.
Reid says he has questions about the confession he would have liked to ask Soering, saying details described by Soering didn't match what was found at the crime scene.
"Where was Mrs.Haysom while you were doing all this stabbing, and doing this to Mr. Haysom? Where was she? Was she running out the door trying to get out?," said Reid.
He also points to a bloody sock print he said was initially considered to be too small to belong to Soering, and DNA testing of blood at the scene, as other evidence Soering wasn't there.
Type O blood found in the Haysom's home was a centerpiece of the Commonwealth's case against Soering, who has type O blood. Both Soering's lawyer and Reid say 2009 tests show the DNA profile of that blood does not match Soerings.
"If DNA would have been available in 1985, we wouldn't be discussing this today. Not with Jens Soering anyway. He would have been cleared," said Reid.
Soering's previous appeals have been denied, but in August, his attorney requested a full pardon from the Governor. They are still waiting to hear back. It's a move Reid supports.
"Seeing things over the years that's come up, that just really put questions in my head an as investigator that's taken from the point of having my doubts, to the point where I don't think Jens Soering was at the house bottom line," said Reid.
Elizabeth Haysom plead guilty to orchestrating her parent's murders, and is currently serving a 90-year prison sentence. A German documentary called "The Promise" about the Soering case will premiere at the Virginia Film Festival on Nov. 5.
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