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Ex-diplomat's son convicted in US seeks freedom

Ex-diplomat's son convicted in US seeks freedom

A former German diplomat's son who is serving life in prison for killing two people is hoping new evidence will win his parole. Meanwhile, the woman convicted of helping him kill her parents maintains they are both guilty and belong in prison.
On Monday, an attorney for Jens Soering mailed Gov. Bob McDonnell the sworn statement of a Lynchburg man who says Elizabeth Haysom and another man brought a bloody car into his transmission shop months after her parents were killed in 1985. In the documents and in an interview, Tony Buchanan says he has attempted to tell others about the visit over the years, but nothing came of it.
Buchanan's statement is the latest in a series of new evidence Soering's attorneys have produced in an attempt to win his freedom.
Last month, they sent McDonnell a 2009 DNA test on decades-old biological evidence from the scene of the fatal stabbing that excluded both Soering and Haysom as suspects. Experts have said the DNA tests are not proof of innocence.
Long out of appeals, Soering is asking McDonnell to parole him and deport him back to Germany.
He came close to returning there last year when former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine approved a request days before he left office to transfer Soering to a German prison, where he could have been free after two years. McDonnell rescinded that approval when he took office, and the federal government refused the transfer.
Soering said he understands that granting him a pardon would be politically unpopular, which is why he's asking only to be paroled and sent home. He has been eligible for parole since 2003.
"I am not trying to make any more of a nuisance of myself than I absolutely have to," said Soering, 44, in an interview at Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn. "I need to go home. I know I didn't do this. I don't need Virginia to tell me I didn't do it."
In a letter to the AP from Haysom, who has declined media interviews since being sentenced to 90 years in prison for her role in the slaying of her parents, she said Soering's claims that he is innocent are false.
"He is right to blame me. I involved him in a horrible crime," Haysom said. "The bottom line, however, is that we are equally responsible for the murder of my parents. And we both deserve incarceration."
Soering and Haysom met as honors students at the University of Virginia. Months after Derek and Nancy Haysom were stabbed and nearly decapitated in their Bedford County home, police closed in on the pair. They fled the country, traveling around Europe before being arrested in London.
Both confessed, but Soering later said he only did so because he thought he had diplomatic immunity through his father and wanted to save Haysom from the death penalty.
In prison, Soering has written books proclaiming his innocence and gathered international support for his release.
In a letter to McDonnell, Soering's attorney Gail Ball points to the new evidence and the DNA tests as grounds for his parole.
"As a former Commonwealth's Attorney, you know that no jury would have convicted Mr. Soering under these circumstances," she writes to McDonnell.


Updated : 2020-12-01 02:06 GMT+08:00