Did a Fatal Attraction Lead to a Wrongful Conviction? The Story of Jens Soering

    • Season 8
  • 01:07:43
  • 04 February, 2019
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  • Jens Soering is serving two consecutive life terms for a case of double homicide, the murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom in 1985–a crime he says he did not commit. On June 8, 1986, Jens Soering, the son of a former German diplomat Jens Soering falsely confessed to killing Haysoms. He also told police he cut his hand in the process. Soering "took the rap" for his girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, to save her from the death penalty for killing her parents.

    At Soering's trial, prosecutor Jim Updike told the jury that Soering's confession was corroborated by several drops of type O blood at the crime scene. Soering had type O, none of the other people involved in the crime did, so the blood had to be his. Updike repeated this claim 26 times. A comparison of lab reports showed that DNA tests had eliminated Jens Soering as a possible source of the type O blood at the scene. The same blood that in 1990 suggested his guilt now proved his innocence. He could not have cut his hand while killing the Haysoms, as he had "confessed" in 1986, because the type O blood had a different genetic profile than his. Another (unknown) man had cut himself and bled at the scene. In 2017 two independent DNA scientists confirmed these findings: Dr. Moses Schanfield of George Washington University and Dr. Thomas McClintock of Liberty University. They also found DNA evidence showing the presence of a second unknown man with type AB blood.

    The crime remains unsolved and Jens Soering has remained behind bars for over 32 years.

    In this gripping interview with Jens Soering, Jason Flom is joined by novelist John Grisham and Sheriff J.E. "Chip” Harding of Albemarle County, Va, both of whom have advocated on Soering’s behalf. 

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