Liberty U. documentary screening spotlights efforts to pardon murder convict Jens Soering
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- DNA evidence has turned the tables on many criminals cases, tilting the scales of justice from guilt to innocence for the last 30 years.
"There have been over 1,700 individuals exonerated through DNA testing," said Dr. J. Thomas McClintock, a professor and the Director of Forensic Sciences at Liberty University.
Exoneration is what the makers of "Killing for Love" are hoping for. The documentary aired at LU on December 15, 2017. It spotlights efforts to overturn the murder conviction of Jens Soering based on DNA findings.
He and his girlfriend Elizabeth Haysom were convicted of killing her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom in 1985.
"Mr. Soering's blood was not present at the crime scene, his DNA was not present at the crime scene, but there looks like there's another male if not two males present at that crime scene," McClintock said.
"It's been a long process, and yet the evidence has been hidden right in front of us," said Steve Rosenfield, Soering's attorney.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe recently said process will not be done before he leaves office, so a petition to pardon Soering will fall into the hands of Governor-elect Ralph Northam for review.
"I've been advised that they have not started the investigation, so I don't know when in Dr. Northam's term the case is going to be ripe for him to consider the petition," Rosenfield said.
Those who believe in Soering's innocence hope the documentary of mounting evidence will close the chapter on his prison time and set an example in other ways.
"It will show the students that there's hope," said McClintock.
"It also shows the difference in the evolution of case work from when you just use trace evidence all the way to using DNA evidence now," said Kristin Jones, a forensic science student.
"It will get national publicity, and hopefully, it will awaken people to question what is being done to bring justice," said Rosen