A retired Charlottesville detective and a second DNA expert have joined Jens Soering’s corner as he fights for a pardon from the governor.
Soering, the German national convicted of killing his former girlfriend’s parents when he and Elizabeth Haysom were students at the University of Virginia, has maintained his innocence since his conviction in 1990. He has been denied parole 12 times, and he is up for a 13th parole hearing on Oct. 10.
On March 30, 1985, Derek and Nancy Haysom were killed in their Bedford County home. They were found with dozens of stab wounds, and their throats were cut from ear to ear. Their daughter, 20 at the time, eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder as an accessory before the fact.
Haysom is currently serving a 90-year sentence in prison, but she will receive mandatory parole in 2032, when she is 68 years old.
In August 2016, local attorney Steven Rosenfield put together a petition for pardon on Soering’s behalf, and it gained the support of Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding. Using new DNA testing and after consulting with two separate DNA experts, Rosenfield asserts that the case against Soering was based on faulty science.
In 1985, an analysis was done on blood found at the crime scene. Five bloodstains were found to be type O — the same type as Soering. Prosecutor Jim Updike explained the finding by telling the jury that Soering must have been injured in a knife fight at the scene.
In 2009, as part of a post-conviction review, new DNA testing was done on some of the items collected at the crime scene, Rosenfield said. Of the 43 items with blood samples, just 11 were stable enough to test.
“Of those 11 items, two were found with type O blood, and a DNA scientist reported that Jens Soering was eliminated as a contributor of that blood,” Rosenfield said.
Two DNA experts have concluded that Soering must be excluded as a contributor of biological material at the scene. The new findings of J. Thomas McClintock align with those of Moses Schanfield, who was previously consulted by Rosenfield. The experts also identified blood from two unknown men.
And even though Soering initially confessed to the crime after he was arrested in London, he eventually recanted his statement and said he lied to protect Elizabeth. Though his confession was still…