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McDonnell talks redistricting, Jens Soering, Va. Retirement System, autism and VCU

(by Dan McDermott, McDermott Report, March 30, 2011, Link)

LYNCHBURG — Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell spoke to reporters Wed. March 30 at a ribbon cutting in Lynchburg just one day after Senate Democrats and House Republicans released their respective plans for new legislative lines in the Commonwealth.

The senate plan groups four Republicans into two senate districts. In one case, Sen. Steve Newman’s district runs two hours from Lynchburg through the Jefferson National Forest to the West Virginia state line and includes the home of Sen. Ralph Smith.

McDonnell said he hadn’t looked at the plans closely but said they must be contiguous, compact and meet the legal qualifications of the Federal Voting Rights Act.

Gov. McDonnell addressed his long-time advisor and colleague Del. Clay Athey’s decision not to seek re-election this fall. McDonnell said Athey indicated that he would most likely retire two months ago and his Warren County district has been divided among four neighboring delegates.

McDonnell said the Virginia Retirement system needs to be changed or it will run out of money and that convicted murderer Jens Soering should remain in prison and in Virginia.

McDonnell says he has made several recommendations for changes to a bill for autism insurance and that he is headed for Texas Saturday to watch the VCU game.

The specific question about Jens occurred at (8:13) and here is the transcript:

Question: Jens Soering is going to be coming up for parole soon. Any thoughts on letting him go back to Germany?

Gov. McDonnell: Well the Parole Board is completely independent. I appoint them but I don’t tell them what to do and so they’ll make their decision based on what the statutes require and whether they think he’s eligible, should be paroled. He’s clearly eligible. He’s been denied a couple times. He was convicted of an incredibly brutal and heinous murder and what I have done is to say that I don’t think that he should go back to Germany to serve his time. I revoked Gov. Kaine’s request to the Justice Department to have him sent back to parole so that he’d serve his time here in Virginia. We feel better about criminals committing crimes in Virginia serving time in Virginia prisons but the Parole Board will make what they believe is a fair and just decision. I’ve just replaced the entire Parole Board so its a new set of eyes to look at his case.

    Jens Soering is a German author who spent more than 33 years in American and British prisons for a double-murder he did not commit.

    In 2016 DNA tests revealed that blood at the crime scene, which had once been attributed to him, actually belonged to two other men.

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