Experts advocate for Jens Soering's innocence in 1985 Haysom murders
(by Noreen Turyn & Catherine Doss, abc13, October 28, 2017, Link)
The University of Richmond's Institute for Actual Innocence joined the effort to convince the state to grant Soering an absolute pardon in the 1985 murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom. That's the Virginia chapter of the Innocence Project.
At a press conference in Charlottesville Friday, more experts detailed the science and evidence that has them convinced, as they urge the state to grant Soering an absolute pardon.
The Innocence Project has now come on board in the effort to convince the state that Jens Soering is not the killer of his girlfriend's parents back in 1985.
They don't take cases they don't feel have merit.
At a press conference in Charlottesville today, more experts detailed the science and evidence that has them convinced, as they urge the state to grant Soering an absolute pardon.They gave a presentation in Charlottesville Friday morning.
An international police expert weighed in via Skype, saying Soering's confession is unreliable.
Another blood analysis expert also spoke about certain blood that was used at trial to convict Soering, was absolutely not his.
DNA and blood science expert Dr. Moses Schanfield says the DNA evidence found two unidentifed males were at the crime scene, and not Jens Soering. "Two other group O and group A and B indivuduals who are not Jens, who are males who were in that house because they left documented evidence," says Schanfield.
Soering did confess to the crime, but soon after, he recanted. He says he only confessed to save his girlfriend's life, assuming he'd be sent back to Germany. "Jens' confessions contains some significant errors, says International expert in police interrogation techniques Dr Andrew Griffiths. He spoke from the U.K. via Skype. His analysis finds Soering's confession is not valid. He cites numerous errors that didn't match the facts, like saying Mrs. Haysom was wearing jeans. "However we know conclusively from crime scene photos and post mortem reports that Mrs. Haysom was wearing a neck to ankle floral housecoat with a very large design on the front, "Griffiths says.
Other mistakes he points to--Soering incorrectly described where the killing happened, and drew an incorrect sketch of where the bodies ended up.
"Jens said about Mr. Haysom that when the argument around the dinner table a became physical, he says he stepped up from seating place, walked behind Mr Haysom, and cut his throat with a steak knife that he'd taken from his place setting. There are a number of problems with that. First of all, there is no place setting at the table in the crime scene photographs where Jens said he was sitting. And yet again no clairifcation sought. Secondly, there was very little blood where he said he inflicted what was a horrendous wound on Mr. Haysom," says Griffith. Inaccuracies he says the young detective interrogating, Ricky Gardner, shouldn't have ignored. "Ricky Gardner did not in any way clarify probe or check back on that fact. He merely accepted the answer that Jens gave him.
Soering's attorney, Steven Rosenfield is calling on Bedford County to reopen the investigation. He says there could be two killers on the loose, and points to evidence that he says shows Elizabeth Haysom was there that night too. "In an interview prior to Soering's trial she says that and I'll quote her exactly she says 'I did it. I got off on it.' That was powerful admission but neither the prosecutor nor investigators bothered to pursue it, they didn't take it seriously," says Rosenfield. He also points to a footprint the same size as Elizabeth's shoes. "There's a footprint found in the blood for which the jury did not hear because defense counsel did not call the deputy that photographed the shoeprint, took it to experts, found the size of the shoeprint, and matched it to the same size as Elizabeth Haysom. The jury never heard that."
Rosenfield also points out that Soering's trial attorney, Richard Neaton, later got disbarred, and the paperwork shows Neaton admitted he had a drug problem at the time he was working on Soering's case.
Rosenfield has asked Bedford County authorities to take a look at all the newinformation in the case, but says they won't. "Justice is important that we get it right and it's tragic and sad when anybody with any official power doesn't follow that same kind of approach," he says. Major Ricky Gardner, who is still with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office, tells ABC 13 he is firm in his belief that Soering is the killer, but he won't answer specific questions about the evidence and information Soering's supporters are bringing forward.
As far as Soering's request for an absolute pardon, ABC 13 spoke directly with the chairman of the parole board, Adrianne Bennett, as to why, more than a year after it was filed, the investigation hasn't started. She explained that they have to take the cases in the order in which they're received, but as soon as the investigator asisgned to Soering's case finishes the one she's working on, Soering's is next.
Soering was given two life sentences for the murders in 1990, and has been fighting for parole since 2002.