CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - A man who spent more than three decades behind bars for a double murder has now been granted parole. Former University of Virginia student Jens Soering, who was convicted for killing his girlfriend’s parents back in 1985, will soon be on his way back to Germany.
On Monday, Governor Ralph Northam’s office granted Soering parole. The people who put in countless hours into Soering’s case are happy with Monday’s announcement.
After more than a dozen tries, 53-year-old Jens Soering will soon be getting out of prison. He's been locked up now for 33 years.
In 1985, Soering admitted to killing Derek and Nancy Haysom, the parents of his girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom, in their Bedford County home. Soering then recanted that statement claiming his innocence.
Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding recently led a charge to exonerate him, working with a team of investigators, including a former FBI agent. “His attorney, Steven Rosenfield, wanted me to review the pardon request to see if it could be strengthened or if I saw weaknesses in. When I started reading what he already has assembled, I realized the evidence was completely different than what I had been led to believe.”
The governor’s office says Soering and Haysom are getting parole and not a pardon. Both will be released to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which will then take them out of the United States and bar them from returning.
"Jens is aware of it and as you can imagine he is ecstatic, but also wants people to know that he still maintains he is innocent of actually participating in these murders,” Harding said.
Harding says while Soering may be getting out of prison, his work looking into the decades-old case may still continue. “We would love to continue investigating, but we have, we have spent hundreds of hours on it and you’re very limited when you’re trying to go back 33 years in time and you’re not even allowed to look at the original investigative reports and notes.”
Harding says he plans to keep in touch with Soering and is excited to see how his new life unfolds.
Statement from Congressman Ben Cline on Seoring and Haysom’s paroles:
WASHINGTON – Congressman Ben Cline (VA-06) released the following statement regarding the Virginia State Parole Board’s decision to parole Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom. These two individuals were convicted for their roles in the 1985 double murder of Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County.
“I am shocked and appalled by the Virginia State Parole Board’s decision to grant parole to Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom, who are imprisoned for their roles in the gruesome 1985 double murder of Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County,” Cline said. “The impact of the Haysoms’ murder is still felt by the Bedford community today. This decision, based not on any remorse by the murderers for their crimes, but instead on some supposed cost-benefit to Virginia, is an insult to the families of the victims and to the principles of justice and the rule of law.”
Editor’s Note: This is a developing story and will be updated later on.