APRIL 3rd, 1985 – Derek and Nancy Haysom are reported dead to the local police of Bedford County in the state of Virginia. They were found in their family home – Derek in a doorway and Nancy in the bedroom – were they had been slashed and stabbed to the point of almost decapitation. A break-in was quickly made out of the question as the Haysom’s house did not bare signs of a forced entry suggesting the Haysoms knew their killer and had in fact invited them in. At first their murder was a mystery as the couple were well regarded in the local area and well respected by many people in the neighbourhood; it seemed completely out of character for the couple to be so brutally murdered. Six months after the murder, their daughter Elizabeth Haysom and her boyfriend Jens Söring were arrested in the UK for cheque fraud charges where when questioned by police they admitted to committing the murder. Their flee and the lack of damage to the house lead to suspicion surrounding their daughter Elizabeth being the main perpetrator.
Elizabeth had had a rough childhood and a rocky relationship with her parents. To Jens and then later in court she admitted to her mother sexually mistreating her and forcing their own wishes on her career path. Elizabeth travelled to Europe and went on a binge of sex and drugs until she ran out of money and was forced to return to her parents. Her parents were dismissive over her lifestyle and attempted to get Elizabeth to give up the drugs which only infuriated Elizabeth further. She kept a diary where she detailed how much she despised her parents and her desire to get rid of them. Her intelligence and experience attracted the attention of German student Jens Söring who studied at the University of Virginia. Jens quickly fell for Elizabeth becoming completely and utterly in love with her. Elizabeth often told Jens through letters that she hated her parents, Jens agreed along with Elizabeth which led to many how followed the case to believe that Jens hated her parents and believe they were stopping Elizabeth from being with him.
Jens Söring was born in Bangkok, Thailand as the son of a German Diplomat, Klaus Söring. He moved around lot as a child meaning as he often was torn away from friendships. As he grew older he became less sociable and introverted. He moved to the US in 1977 and met Elizabeth when he went to university. His relationship with Elizabeth was something very different to his life leading up to university as he suddenly had someone he was extremely close to, that wasn’t his family. This lack of sustainable friendships was another reason that many how followed the case believed he may have gone to some extreme lengths to protect his and Elizabeth’s relationship – like murdering her parents.
LATE MARCH, 1985 – Jens and Elizabeth travel to Washington D.C for a mini-holiday. According to Jens, Elizabeth told him that she anted to give up drugs but had an outstanding payment she needed to make to her dealer. To cover up her interaction with the dealer Elizabeth asked Jens to buy two cinema tickets and go to see the film whilst Elizabeth met the dealer so that he would know what happened in the film so if her parents asked what they did they could recall the details of the film. Elizabeth returned to their hotel room in the early morning and told Jens she had murdered her parents and she needed him to be her alibi. In a later interview, Jens explains how he suspected that their trip to Washington D.C was already part of Elizabeth’s plan to kill her parents. An old friend of Jens described him trying to be the ‘Democratic Hero’ and save her from the death penalty. This will to be the hero led to the confession of Jens Söring as being the murderer of the Haysom parents and Elizabeth escaping the death penalty and being charged only with association. As the couples trial began, the mutual affection vanished as Jens tried to contact Elizabeth but she cut him off. Elizabeth pleaded guilty and then testified against him. At Söring’s trial in Virginia he revoked his confession saying he had only admitted to committing the crime to protect Elizabeth from the death penalty. His rewritten statement was compiled of more precise details about the films shown in the cinema which shifted the attention back to Elizabeth. Jens later admitted that he had assumed he would’ve been extradited in Germany due to his father’s position where he would have been given a sentence of less than 10 years.
The most confusing aspect of the case is the involvement of evidence. Although Jens was undoubtedly involved in the murder whether it be direct participation or the alibi but 42 pieces of genetic evidence were found at the murder scene and none of them belong to Jens Söring. A shot glass and a bottle of vodka were found with finger prints that also didn’t belong to Jens. Four blood types were found at the crime scene. The blood of: Derek Haysom, Nancy Haysom, Elizabeth Haysom and an unidentified male who is not Jens Söring. The only evidence that could’ve led to the conviction of Jens Söring is a bloody footprint that matches Jens size and his revoked confession. In the documentary ‘The Parent Slashers’ the interviewee states that “the murders were overkill, and whoever committed them had a large amount of hatred for Derek and Nancy”. Returning to a previous point I brought up that Elizabeth often talked about how much she hated her parents and once expressed her desire to get rid of them. Jens’ father Klaus spoke out about his son’s behaviour and said that if Jens did commit the murder then that level of anger and aggression was “out of character” and that he had been completely innocent and law abiding up to the point of meeting Elizabeth Haysom. Whilst in Elizabeth’s case her rough childhood and brutality of the case seemed to match up according to some protesters of Jens’ innocence.
Although the evidence at the crime scene point to Elizabeth as the main culprit, Jens was given a double life sentence for first degree murder and Elizabeth was given 90 years for her association with the murder. The Virginian and Bedford county communties seemed to be in favour of sympathy towards Elizabeth considering the highly regarded nature of their family. Jens was easier to blame as he had confessed to the murder and was a complete outsider to the community. the news station WDJ7 referred to Jens Söring as a “convicted killer” whilst others believe the case is a misconduct of justice. This is a popular belief as Jens was involuntarily extradited to the US in 1990. He has also been eligible for parole since 2003 but has been denied it a dozen times. Earlier this year a 19 page report was conducted by Albemarle County Sheriff J. E. “Chip” Harding. He concluded that Jens Söring is innocent and asked Governor McAuliffe to pardon him. Elizabeth is due to be released in 2032 at age 68.
Do you think Jens is innocent?
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