Letter to the Editor and Jens' reply
(in Richmond Times-Dispatch, May, 2017)
This letter to the editor was published on May 10, 2017 (Link):
Soering defense uses predictable tactic
Regarding the pardon request pending for Jens Soering, one should keep in mind a number things. The first thing to examine is the development of the suspect. The normal focus falls first on the spouse, significant other, or immediate family. The next focus should fall on the person who has the most to gain, followed by the last person to see the victim(s), the person who found the body, and lastly who had opportunity. Obviously witnesses are a real bonus, but most murderers prefer to act without an audience.
The second thing to consider is the confession. The innocent person should absolutely, repeatedly deny involvement for numerous hours. In the case of a false confession, the alleged suspect is normally threatened with an extreme sentence and fed information by the investigator when the suspects gives details that do not add up.
The third thing to consider is the direction taken by the defense. In this case, the direction seems to be to throw as much mud in as many directions as possible and hope that something sticks. The defense first seems to want us to believe that Soering was not present at the murders, then believe that the evidence has been contaminated and that the investigation was sloppy or inept, and the pressure so great that the entire department could be involved in a conspiracy. These tactics are normally deployed by all defense attorneys; it is, after all, their job.
It appears that this is another case of “let’s do something to make some people feel good that we are looking for true justice.” You be the judge.
Gregory E. Will.
This reply by Jens was published on May 18, 2017 (Link):
Sheriff’s report was independent
In his letter, “Soering defense uses predictable tactic,” Gregory F. Will gets almost everything wrong.
Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding is not a member of my defense, as Will suggests. The sheriff is an independent expert, working without pay, who began his investigation with the assumption that I was probably guilty.
Harding’s 19-page report on my case, concluding that I am most likely innocent, is anything but “predictable,” as Will claims. This is the first time in Virginia history that a sheriff has written such a document and publicly supported a pardon.
Finally, Will avoids mentioning the DNA evidence upon which Harding relies — the Type 0 blood at the crime scene, long believed to be mine, is definitely not mine. It was left by another man with the same blood type but a different genetic profile. There is also strong DNA evidence that another man with type AB blood was injured at the scene.
These facts are not tactics, as Will asserts, but scientific findings that, if my case had not been so politicized in years past, would have already led to my release. But don’t believe me, read Sheriff Harding’s report yourself. It’s available online.
February 4, 2019