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My Past

Jens Soering

Executive Resilience Coach

My Past 

I spent 33 years in prison for a crime I didn’t commit. But when I was released in 2019, I was only granted parole, not the absolute pardon I deserved. And in 2023 Netflix released a series that made it look like I might have been involved in the murders after all.

If you want to know more about the crime for which I was wrongfully convicted, please keep reading below. If you want to know more about the Netflix series, please click here. If you want to know more about my relationship with Elizabeth Haysom, please click here.

What’s the best
summary of the case?

The best summary is a feature that first appeared in the Washington Post Magazine in 2017 and was later re-published in the New Zealand Herald. It focuses on Chuck Reid, the detective who led the investigation of the Haysom murders in 1985. A follow-up article, published in the Washington Post in 2019, describes further work on the case done by Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding and Detective Sergeant Richard Hudson, together with best-selling author John Grisham and activist/producer Jason Flom.

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What’s the best
analysis of the

The best analysis is the Chuck Reid Report, published in 2023 by Gallip Verlag & Media. Senior Investigator Chuck Reid led the investigations during the entire first year of the case and knows the evidence better than anyone. The report’s publisher, Gallip Verlag & Media, and Chuck Reid himself have generously granted me permission to make it available here free of charge.

Why was I released?

I was released because of public pressure from the law enforcement, forensic and legal communities. Most important were four Virginia police officers, who held a press conference in April 2018 to ask the Governor of Virginia to grant me an absolute pardon. In the photo to the right, from that press conference, are Detective Sergeant Richard Hudson, FBI Special Agent Stan Lapekas, Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding and Bedford County Senior Investigator Chuck Reid.

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Where can I watch
the police press 


Here is the video of the entire press conference and a Virginia public radio report. And here are videos of two other press conferences held in September and October of 2017, described in this local TV report and this newspaper article. Appearing at those press conferences were:

  • Prof. J. Thomas McClintock, Liberty University (DNA scientist)

  • Prof. Moses Schanfield, George Washington University (DNA scientist)

  • Andrew Griffiths, Ph.D. (high-ranking British police officer)

  • Gail Starling Marshall (former Deputy Attorney General of Virginia)

  • Prof. Mary Kelly Tate, University of Richmond (expert on wrongful convictions)


Why did the Governor
not grant me a pardon?

Among other reasons, granting me a pardon would have entitled me to $1.4 million compensation. Parole was the Governor‘s cheapest option.

Releasing the victims of wrongful convictions “through the back door,” without a pardon, is a common practice not just in Virginia, but throughout the United States, according to USA Today and the Washington Post. In Virginia, Darnell Phillips was granted parole but no pardon. In Florida, Leo Schofield was released on parole, without a pardon.

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Can you believe
the parole board?

The Virginia Parole Board claims that I was granted parole because I had served enough time, and Virginia wanted to save money. Can that really be true?

  • I was sentenced to two life sentences, not just one, Also, the judge ordered me to serve my two life sentences consecutively — one after the other. (Trial transcript September 4, 1990, page 27)

  • Virginia abolished parole in 1995. Prisoners sentenced to life after 1995 will almost certainly die in prison. “Life means life” is a popular slogan in Virginia.

  • I was still eligible for parole because I was sentenced before 1995. But for prisoners like me — sentenced before 1995 — Virginia had the lowest parole grant rate in the entire United States: 2 to 3%.

My first interview after being released:
the Dr. Phil Show

After 33 years, 6 months and 25 days in prison, I arrived in freedom in Germany on December 17, 2019. The same evening, I was interviewed remotely for the Dr. Phil Show. Also interviewed in the studio were some of the people mentioned above: Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding, Andrew Griffiths, Ph.D. and activist/producer Jason Flom.

Part 1: 

Part 2: 

Part 3: 

Part 4: 

Part 5: 

Podcast and YouTube

If you’re interested in learning more, you can listen to this podcast or visit my YouTube channel, where I’ve released many videos about different aspects of the case.

  • Youtube
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