New support for Jens Soering pardon

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A second law enforcement veteran is joining Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding in urging Governor Terry McAuliffe to release a former UVA student convicted in a 1985 double murder.

"I will tell you right now that I do not believe based on all the work I did on this case and all the discussions and conversations and reports that we reviewed and worked with that Jens Soering participated in the homicide of Derek and Nancy Haysom," said Richard Hudson, a retired Charlottesville Police detective, at a Wednesday press conference in downtown Charlottesville.

Soering and his then-girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom were convicted of murdering her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom, in Bedford County in 1985. Soering confessed but has since maintained his innocence and said he admitted to the crime to spare Haysom.

Soering's case has attracted international attention in recent years after Governor Tim Kaine agreed to transfer Soering to a prison in his native Germany in 2010. That decision was later reversed by Governor Bob McDonnell.

Last year, armed with the new DNA analysis, Soering's attorney Steve Rosenfield filed a request for an absolute pardon with the Governor.

Hudson joined Harding and nationally recognized DNA expert Thomas McClintock at the press conference to review recent analysis of crime scene evidence all three men agree points to Soering's innocence.

Among that evidence: testing in 2009 that revealed that Soering was not the source of Type O blood recovered at the crime scene. That testing also showed blood in the house came from two other men who have never been identified.

"There are two strangers bleeding in that crime scene," said Hudson. "That's what the blood evidence tells us."

A bloody sock print at the scene that was attributed to Soering by prosecutors at the time of a 1990 trial was several sizes smaller than Soering's foot.

Dr. Thomas McClintock also spoke at the press conference and sent a letter to McAuliffe supporting Soering's pardon request. He said he drew the same conclusions as DNA analysis that was submitted to as part of the pardon request last year: that blood from the crime scene did not belong to Soering.

In letters sent to McAuliffe earlier this month, Harding and Hudson also point out that Elizabeth Haysom made inconsistent statements including, at one point, confessing to killing her parents on her own.

They said she also told investigators she'd seen Soering wrapped in a blood-soaked sheet in a car after the crime, but testing of the car with a substance called Luminol showed no sign of blood.

Harding said he hopes the letters will convince McAuliffe to act on the pardon request.

"I wanted to get it to him, what we do have, to try to get him to make a decision before he leaves office," he said.

A spokesperson for McAuliffe declined to comment on the status of Soering's pardon request, saying only that it remains "under review."

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