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Soering cites new DNA evidence in petition for pardon

(by CBS19,  August 24, 2016, Link)

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- The attorney for a former University of Virginia student convicted of first-degree murder in the 1985 slayings of his girlfriend's parents says new DNA evidence proves his client is innocent.

Jens Soering was convicted in 1990 of killing Derek and Nancy Haysom in Bedford County five years earlier, after his former girlfriend and fellow UVA student Elizabeth Haysom accused him of the crime and pleaded guilty to being an accessory before the fact. She is serving a 90-year-sentence in the Fluvanna County Women's Prison.

In winning the conviction against Soering, prosecutors relied on Haysom's accusation, type-O blood at the scene that matched Soering's blood type, and Soering's own confession, which was given during an interrogation in England after he and Haysom were captured.

However, Soering has long claimed he is innocent and says he was manipulated by Haysom. In a new German documentary about the case, he says he confessed in a misguided attempt to save her life and their relationship.

His attorney Steve Rosenfield says new DNA testing now shows that the Type O blood found at the scene, and relied on as evidence in Soering's conviction, belongs to an unidentified man, not Soering.

"We now know that the government's belief that there was one killer who had type O blood," said Rosenfield at a Wednesday press conference at which he announced the findings and screened the documentary called The Promise.

"We now know two things," Rosenfield said. "That it was not Jens Soering, and that there's a killer still at large that the sheriff's department doesn't think is worthy of further investigation."

Rosenfield has filed a petition with Governor Terry McAuliffe asking for an absolute pardon for Soering, who is a German citizen.

In 2010, Governor Tim Kaine agreed to release Soering back to Germany under a deal that would have allowed his release within two years. The move prompted outrage, and Governor Bob McDonnell reversed the decision, ruling that Soering would serve out the remainder of his two life terms in the United States.

McAuliffe also denied Soering's request to be sent back to Germany last year. He declined to comment on the new petition for pardon.

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