State board denies convicted murderer’s 14th parole request

Jens Soering in 1990. (Source: WDBJ)
Jens Soering in 1990. (Source: WDBJ)
Published: Jan. 31, 2019 at 8:53 AM EST
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DILLWYN, VA (WDBJ) - A state board has once again turned down the parole request of a man convicted of carrying out an infamous murder in Bedford County.

Jens Soering is serving two consecutive life terms for the deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom in 1985. Soering initially confessed to killing the Haysoms when investigators tracked him down in England in 1986.

He later recanted his statements and said he was only trying to protect his girlfriend, Elizabeth, a daughter of the murder victims who is serving a 90-year prison sentence as an accessory to her parent’s murder.

Lawyers and members of law enforcement have made an aggressive push in recent years to get Soering out of prison.

"There is overwhelming evidence of his innocence of the murders which led to his imprisonment more than three decades ago," read a statement from Soering's attorney, Steven Rosenfield, Wednesday. "This evidence includes DNA, crime scene photographs and other forensic evidence."

This is the 14th time state officials have turned down Soering’s request for parole. Soering is serving out his sentence at the in Buckingham Correctional Center near Dillwyn.

Soering’s attorneys and supporters have also filed a petition with the Governor of Virginia, requesting a pardon. The petition was filed in 2016 when Terry McAuliffe was governor. McAuliffe declined to act on the request during his time in office. The matter is still pending before Gov. Ralph Northam.

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