Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom were granted parole in November of 2019 after serving more than three decades in prison. But the parole board also ruled that Soering’s claims of innocence are without merit, and he was denied a pardon by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. In the eyes of the law, Jens Soering murdered Derek and Nancy Haysom, and officials in Bedford County maintain the case is closed. But the parole board investigation was done in secret so it’s unknown if any additional DNA testing was done of crime scene evidence. That leaves some unanswered questions, like who are the two men who left blood at the crime scene? Retired Charlottesville detective Richard Hudson has reviewed the case and wonders if the Haysom murders could be tied to a gruesome stabbing murder that took place not far from the Haysoms' home within days of their murders. Two men were convicted of that crime. Those two men, Robert Albright and William Shifflett, also had a suspicious encounter with a Bedford deputy within days of the Haysom murders. There are others who may have information about the murders including an auto shop owner in Bedford who says he had an encounter with Elizabeth when she and an unidentified man retrieved a car from his shop that was covered in blood. There’s also Elizabeth's roommate at the University of Virginia who helped her write an alibi in the days after the murders. And a volunteer from the homeless shelter where Albright and Shifflett stayed in the days after the brutal stabbing reveals the two men made some troubling comments about killing three people, not one. Hawes Spencer, a journalist who has done years of in depth reporting on the Haysom murders, weighs in on the parole announcement and lack of transparency in the case.
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This episode was updated on June 24, 2020 to reflect the auto shop owner in Bedford did not identify Jim Farmer in a picture.
Written and Reported by Rachel Ryan and Courteney Stuart
Sound production by Jaclyn Piermarini
Sound engineering by Taylor Thomas