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July 8, 2010 Published in Courts & Crime

Jens Soering To Remain In Custody Of Commonwealth

United States Attorney General Eric Holder has responded favorably to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s request to deny previous Governor Tim Kaine’s authorization for the transfer of convicted murderer Jens Soering to Germany. In his July letter to the Governor yesterday, Holder wrote: “You should be assured that it is the position of the United States Department of Justice that Jens Soering will not be considered for transfer to Germany unless and until the Commonwealth of Virginia provides clear and unambiguous consent to such a transfer.”

Soering was convicted of the March, 1985, double murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom in their Bedford County home. He is currently serving a double life sentence. Regarding former Governor Tim Kaine’s request that Soering be transferred to Germany, Holder wrote: “Here, of course, former Governor Kaine consented to the transfer of Jens Soering. You have withdrawn that consent. From a federal perspective, that withdrawal is controlling.”

During his final week in office, Kaine requested that the U.S. Department of Justice transfer Soering to German authorities. On January 19, three days after taking office, McDonnell sent a letter to the DoJ revoking the previous request for transfer and stating the position of the Commonwealth that Jens Soering must remain in Virginia’s custody. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli joined the Governor in expressing the official position of the Commonwealth. Additionally, the Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution, sponsored by Senator Steve Newman (R-Lynchburg), supporting the revocation of th previous Administration’s request for transfer. Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-6th), in whose district Soering’s murders took place, strongly opposed the possible transfer.

On May 17, the Governor reiterated the Commonwealth’s position in a follow-up letter to Attorney General Holder. In that letter the Governor wrote, “I want to formally reiterate that Virginia has clearly revoked authorization for a transfer of Jens Soering to Germany. Soering is currently in Virginia’s custody for state offenses and he will remain so in order to serve out his Virginia sentence for the horrendous crimes he committed in our Commonwealth.” Today’s letter from the Attorney General is a response to that communication.