He Was Obsessed With His Girlfriend - That Is, Until She Framed Him For Murder

Young love can be an intense thing, and it can get even more intense when murder is thrown into the mix. Such is the case in the tale of Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom. The pair had a somewhat toxic relationship, but when Elizabeth's parents interfered, they wound up dead in March of 1985. The couple fled, and when they were caught Jens confessed to the murders. It might have all ended there, but the thing is that the evidence doesn't exactly point to Jens. Was Jens Soering framed for murdering his girlfriend's parents?

The Elizabeth Haysom murder controversy has been going on since Jen's life sentence was announced. What makes it so compelling is that evidence is continually piling up that what really happened is this girl killed her parents and framed her boyfriend afterwards. It wouldn't be the first time someone was falsely found guilty. But is it true? Is Jens guilty? Or has he been played from the start?

We don't know for sure, but it's hard to deny that the whole story is fascinating. With a request for a pardon already in the water, who can guess what the next chapter of Jens Soering's life may hold?

  • The Young Couple Became Obsessive Over One Another

    The Young Couple Became Obsessive Over One Another
    Photo: camerabee / flickr

    It all began with love letters in college. Elizabeth Haysom was a 20 year old freshman at the University of Virginia, starting her new life after a rather rocky start. She'd run away to Europe with a female lover, already experimented with numerous hard drugs, botched her college entrance exams, and was now living with her parents. However, she felt a connection to Jens Soering, who was the son of a German diplomat and had a bit of a rock-and-roll vibe. Soon, the two had fallen for each other, and began sending obsessive love notes back and forth.

    These love notes probably should have been the first hint that something was unhealthy. In Elizabeth's notes, she talked about how she usually liked to make men suffer and would humiliate and use them by getting involved with them. But, of course, she said Jens was different and that she truly loved him. The two also began to get into drugs together, and Jens eventually ended up owing a dealer a large amount of money; Elizabeth, however, was the heavier user, a fact which gave her parents more than a little alarm.

  • Elizabeth's Parents Didn't Like The Couple Being Together

    To put it mildly, Elizabeth had a very shaky relationship with her parents. Elizabeth claims that both her parents drank, and that her father was an abusive authoritarian. When they finally came to meet her new boyfriend, it was nothing but uncomfortable. They all went to lunch together, during with Elizabeth's parents practically interrogated Jens about his family and his past. By the end of the meal, the Haysoms had decided that Jens was not good enough for their daughter and thought he seemed jumpy... Perhaps because he was on drugs. 

    It was around this time that their love letters to each other became sinister. Elizabeth began to talk about wishing for the deaths of her parents, and how she knew that they hated her. In these letters, the pair occasionally spoke of how much better off they would be if her parents were out of the picture.

  • The Parents Were Murdered, And The Couple Fled

    The Parents Were Murdered, And The Couple Fled
    Photo: AdamChandler86 / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    On a Sunday in March, 1985, Jens and Elizabeth were on their way home from an impromptu vacation (or so they said), when they got news that Elizabeth's parents had been murdered. Reginald and Nancy Haysom were both found with their throats slit, and with numerous slash wounds all over their necks and bodies. One investigator described the place as a "slaughterhouse." Initially, there were other suspects but police soon turned their attention towards the couple.

    In October the duo suddenly vanished from the area, and only popped up again when they were in Europe. They continued to flee, taking drugs and moving from place to place, until they were at last arrested in England on charges of check fraud. At this point they were extradited back to Virginia, where the police brought them in and began questioning them about the events of the murder. The tales that came forth from both parties were shocking, to say the least.

  • Elizabeth Claimed She Helped Plan, But Didn't Kill Anyone

    Elizabeth Claimed She Helped Plan, But Didn't Kill Anyone
    Photo: Leslie Sandoval / YouTube

    When she was questioned, and later testified in court, Elizabeth had a very specific story she laid out. She said that she'd wanted her parents dead because she was being sexually abused by her mother. She claimed she'd told Jens of the abuse, and that he had been very angry on her behalf, and that he felt the need to do something about it.

    According to her, they began talking specifically about killing her parents. At first it was just a vague plan, but soon they began to make real steps towards the eventual murder of her parents. Eventually, according to Elizabeth, Jens went to her parents' house for a dinner, knowing that if things went wrong he might kill them. She claims she even encouraged Jens to do it, because she herself felt too weak to finally commit the act. In court, she claimed responsibility for setting up the crime, but said she never harmed her parents herself, and was not to blame for the murders. This initially played out well, because...

  • Jens Confessed To The Murders

    On Jens's part, he now says he never suspected that Elizabeth would actually kill her parents, but when he was first brought in he told a different story. The police interrogated him for 16 hours over four days, and during that time Jens began to confess to the murders. Even as he did, something seemed strange. He said he had killed them in anger after dinner had gone awry, but he got certain details wrong. He identified what they were wearing incorrectly, and his timeline seemed off. Later, experts would say that this confession was unreliable.

    He later said that he only confessed because he dearly loved Elizabeth, and wanted to make sure she did not get sentenced to the electric chair, which was how people were executed in Virginia. However, by the time he recanted, the damage had been done. Police and eventually the court became convinced he was guilty of the murders, and attention quickly turned from Elizabeth to him.

  • There Was A Lot Of Strange Evidence That Made No Sense

    The trial itself was full of strange instances of evidence barely being touched on, or not brought up at all. Jens originally thought that, as the son of a German diplomat, he'd be sent back to Germany and tried there, and that he might serve time in a juvenile detention center. Instead, he was tried for first degree murder, for the deaths of both her parents.

    During the trial he was never called to the witness stand. When a bloody sock print was brought up as a potential piece of evidence no experts came up to dispute it. There were pieces of evidence that indicated Jens was not the one in the house, but they were never presented. And, of course, Elizabeth came forward to openly accuse Jens of murder. She said that she'd never thought he'd actually go through with killing, and that she knew he had performed this act for her. At the time she didn't even mention the sexual abuse, instead pointing the finger directly at Jens. By the end of it, only this testimony and the bloody sock print were what the jury based their decision on.