Haysom murder investigator: Jens Soering needs to accept responsibility
(by Angela Hatcher, WSLS10, February 28, 2011, Link)
BEDFORD COUNTY, VA -- Ricky Gardner stood behind the defense table when the Jens Soering verdict was read in 1990.
"Seems like I'm the last person standing here," said Major Gardner Monday, at the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.
Gardner was the lead investigator of the 1985 murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom at their Boonsboro home. Gardner has now written a letter to Governor Bob McDonnell, asking McDonnell to deny Soering's petition for parole and deportation.
"He's sat in his cell for 26 years and he has convinced himself that he didn't kill the Haysoms.", says Gardner of Soering.
Whether Soering truly believes it or not, he told us during our interview inside the Buckingham Correctional Center that he's not a murderer.
"Ricky Gardner's entire career is based on this case," said Soering. "I understand why it's personally important to keep me in here forever."
Soering confessed to Gardner after being arrested with his girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom in England, back in 1986. Soering made a total of three confessions to the murders. Soering says it's something Elizabeth Haysom said after their arrest, that proves he was only covering for her.
"She told Ricky Gardner, this is Elizabeth speaking on tape, 'I did it myself,'" says Soering.
Elizabeth Haysom told investigators she was only kidding with her confession. At the time of the arrests, she'd already submitted fingerprints, blood, and foot impressions. Elizabeth Haysom had already been eliminated as a suspect, before going on the run.
Gardner says Soering received a break-up letter from Elizabeth Haysom before making his third confession.
"She said, 'I don't love you anymore.' Common sense tells you if I'm lying to protect this woman, who's breaking off the relationship, it's time for me to tell the truth," says Gardner.
Soering still swears his confessions were false. Gardner, however, wants to hear him say it one more time.
"He needs to accept the fact that he murdered the Haysoms" says Gardner.