RICHMOND, Va. – The two people responsible for the murder of a Bedford County couple in 1985 have been granted parole, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom, both convicted for the murder of Elizabeth’s parents, Derek and Nancy, were granted parole on Monday.
The Times-Dispatch reports that Soering will be deported to Germany and Haysom to Canada.
Soering was serving two consecutive life sentences for the murders and had tried for decades to be granted parole.
Gov. Ralph Northam’s office released this statement on Monday:
Governor Northam has rejected Jens Soering’s request for an absolute pardon, after thoroughly reviewing the case and the Parole Board’s investigation. This decision is in line with the Parole Board’s recommendation. The Governor was also made aware that the Parole Board voted to release Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom to ICE, after which they will be permanently removed from the United States and unable to return. Governor Northam respects the Parole Board’s expertise and appreciates their work on this and all other cases.
Since the slayings, some law enforcement officials have looked to reopen the case, believing that Soering is innocent.
Soering, an ex-German exchange student at the University of Virginia, was dating Haysom at the time of the murders.
Haysom pleaded guilty as an accessory to the murders and testified against Soering, who initially confessed but later recanted, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
U.S. Rep. Ben Cline released this statement:
“I am shocked and appalled by the Virginia State Parole Board’s decision to grant parole to Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom, who are imprisoned for their roles in the gruesome 1985 double murder of Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County,” Cline said. “The impact of the Haysoms’ murder is still felt by the Bedford community today. This decision, based not on any remorse by the murderers for their crimes, but instead on some supposed cost-benefit to Virginia, is an insult to the families of the victims and to the principles of justice and the rule of law.”