Soering and his girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom were U.Va. students who in 1985 decided to murder her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom. To create an alibi, they bought two tickets to a movie and kept the stubs. Soering then drove a rental car down to Bedford. He ate dinner with the Haysoms, then stabbed Mr. Haysom 36 times and Mrs. Haysom 8 times, killing them both.
It was only extraordinary police work by Bedford Deputy Ricky Gardner that broke the case. Gardner checked the rental car odometer, which showed the distance from Washington D.C. to Bedford. When Gardner asked Soering for a blood sample, Soering stalled, and then fled the country with Elizabeth. They obtained false papers and went on an international crime spree, traveling to Yugoslavia, Bangkok, and Moscow, before finally being arrested in England for check fraud.
Soering initially confessed, but then fought extradition, and was only released to Virginia authorities after the prosecutor agreed not to seek the death penalty. Soering was ultimately sentenced by a Bedford County jury to two life sentences. During the investigation, it was revealed that Soering had plotted to kill Deputy Gardner to stop the investigation.
Soering's father was a powerful German diplomat and Soering has always had access money. Since his convictions, he has used his connections and resources to file appeal after appeal in state and federal courts. With these finally exhausted, he has turned his efforts to repatriation to Germany, where he would be assured of a prompt release. In 2009, Governor Kaine agreed to repatriation, but this was revoked by Governor McDonnell. At the time, 75 delegates – Republicans and Democrats – signed a letter to Eric Holder opposing the transfer.
Soering now seeks repatriation from Governor McAuliffe and has demanded an in-person meeting.
For 30 years the Haysom family has been without their loved ones, and Soering's request also raises issues of fundamental fairness. Soering carefully planned his crime with Elizabeth, arranged for an alibi, brutally murdered two Virginians, discussed murdering the investigator, and then fled the country. He was convicted of premeditated murder. As of 2013, there were 3,251 inmates serving time in Virginia for 1st degree or capital murder. Many were foreign nationals, and no one is suggesting they should be released early. The only reason we are even discussing Soering is because he has such powerful and wealthy friends. Given the vile and heinous nature of his crime, he should spend the rest of his life behind bars.
I hope you will contact Governor McAuliffe here and oppose Soering's release.
When President Clinton pardoned billionaire financier Marc Rich (whose wife had made huge donations to the Clinton library), McAuliffe said ''If I were president I wouldn't have done it." The premeditated murders committed by Soering are much more serious than Rich's crimes. McAuliffe now has a chance to prove he meant what he said. Please write him to do the right thing.
Delegate, 58th District