The infamous murder case of a 40-year-old couple in Virginia in 1985 gained widespread attention not only in the United States but also in Germany. The insane lovers, Jens Soering and Elisabeth Haysom, who were responsible for the murder of Elizabeth’s parents, created a huge stir in the media by, perplexing everyone with their contradictory alibis. Netflix’s Till Murder Do Us Part delves deeper into the murder of the Haysoms in Virginia, as well as the trial of Jens and Elizabeth. The documentary showed us two different perspectives of Soering and Haysom, which further intensified the mystery. Even at the end of the documentary series, we remain in the dark, unable to figure out who was innocent and who was the actual culprit.
In the year 1985, on the morning of April 3, an elderly couple, Derek and Nancy Hyasom, were found dead in their residence in Lynchburg, Virginia. Their daughter, Elizabeth Haysom, who was at the time studying at the University of Virginia, was dating a German guy named Jens Soering, who was a few years younger than her. As the police investigation started, it was soon revealed that Elizabeth was hiding something crucial in her alibi, seemingly trying to protect her boyfriend. But before the police could catch both of them, the two fled the country, which raised suspicions even further.
Who Is Jens Soering? Did He Kill The Haysoms?
Coming from a family of German diplomats, Jens was born in Bangkok, Thailand, in the year 1966. Some 11 years later, he finally moved to United States. During his time in college at the University of Virginia, he came across this beautiful woman, Elizabeth Haysom, who was older than him. Elizabeth’s unique personality and charm attracted Jens, who fell in love with her intensely. It was the first-ever relationship for Jens, who had never been in love before. As an 18-year-old student, Jens was good at academics, but his friends always found him argumentative and aggressive toward everyone. However, in Elizabeth’s eyes, he was the perfect embodiment of a lover to whom she wrote numerous letters, dedicating her love through romantic poetry. Jens wrote her back as well, and soon, their relationship flourished and became serious. However, Elizabeth’s parents never appreciated Jens, who, according to them, didn’t even have a proper surname or an influential status. Therefore, Jens wanted to talk to them to ask their permission to see their daughter.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth had always talked up all the bad stuff about her parents in front of Jens, filling his mind with hatred for them. One day, when Elizabeth’s letter containing her desire to see her parents dead came to Jens, he made a plan to drive to Virginia and kill them. Initially, according to Jens’ previous confession, he drove four hours to Lynchburg, Virginia, and butchered Elizabeth’s parents. His confession contained accurate details of the murder scene, making police believe in his statement. Subsequently, Jens was sent to prison for five years in Virginia for the double homicide. During this time, Jens faced an unexpected tragedy when Elizabeth decided not to have any relationship with the man, stating that she didn’t have feelings for him anymore. Moreover, her statement during her trial period contained a lot of hurtful things that Jens couldn’t tolerate hearing. It was clear from the beginning that the murder of Elizabeth’s parents was nothing but teamwork, but during her trial, Elizabeth pinned the entire blame on Jens, claiming that she didn’t have any idea about his actions and intentions to kill her parents. It was evident that she was lying because, during her stay in Washington, DC, she purposefully purchased two tickets for a movie show so that she could establish a concrete alibi. Even later in her statement, Elizabeth said some contradictory things that never cleared her name as an innocent person.
Jens was heartbroken by the fact that he remained the only one to carry the blame for the double murders, so in 1990, in his trial, he said something completely different than what he said earlier during his arrest. He completely denied that he was the one who went to Virginia to kill the Haysoms and shifted the blame to Elizabeth. He said that it was Elizabeth who drove to Virginia to commit the crime, while he was in Washington, DC, buying tickets and booking a hotel. As the prosecution asked him why he made a false confession, Jens said that all he did was protect Elizabeth from any kind of punishment. He believed that, being an 18-year-old boy, he wouldn’t receive any severe punishment and probably would move back to Germany. But as Elizabeth turned the tables, blaming her boyfriend for the crime while trying to save her own neck, he decided to take a stand and do what he felt was right.
It was extremely hard to believe either of their statements in court. Furthermore, the evidence found at the murder scene was also very puzzling in this case. There was a burnt-out cigarette found in the Haysoms’ residence, indicating Elizabeth’s presence, as she was the one who smoked a lot. Even her fingerprints were discovered on the scene. However, as it was her home and she had been there a few days earlier to celebrate her father’s birthday, her fingerprints were eventually ruled out as evidence. But staggering evidence containing a man’s footprint, which matched Jens’, indicated that Jens must have been there during the crime. Ultimately, the final verdict declared Jens guilty of the double homicide and gave him two consecutive life sentences. Jens maintained his innocence and continued to appeal for early parole since his imprisonment.
Where Is Jens Soering Now?
Many forensic investigators found the footprint evidence irrelevant in this case, as further investigation revealed that this footprint might belong to a woman. Even many investigative journalists believed that it was both of them who committed the murder together and then shifted blame on each other to protect themselves.
Jens Soering’s defense attorney made extraordinary efforts to establish that Jens was innocent in this case. He was manipulated and framed by none other than his lady love, for whom he was ready to sacrifice his future. Soering continued to appeal in court for his release, but every time, the court rejected it. Finally, even the former president of Germany looked into the matter, as Jens Soering had sent him a letter. Too much public attention and political affiliation finally fulfilled Soering’s wish, and in November 2019, he was released from prison. However, Elizabeth Haysom was also released in 2019, as both of them were equally guilty in this case. Although, following Elizabeth’s release, she maintained a low profile, Jens Soering celebrated his release hugely to gain a lot of media attention. He soon became a public figure in Germany, getting called on numerous talk shows to talk about his experience and the murder case. After his release, Jens decided to cut off all his from his father and brother for better. He now lives a peaceful life in Germany and restarted his career as a life-coach and a podcaster. He wrote a great many books and memoirs, including One Day in the Life of 179212: Notes from an American Prison, and The Convict Christ etc. Now, he is a free man, and so is Elizabeth, but their paths never cross anymore. Being a convict, Jens was not even allowed in the United States, or to meet anyone from Elizabeth’s family. However, Jens said that he had no intention of meeting with Elizabeth no matter how insanely he had once loved her.