German killer challenges Va. on transfer

Jan. 19, 2011 at 5:19 PM

RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 19 (UPI) -- A German man serving two life terms for murder in Virginia is challenging Gov. Bob McDonnell's authority to revoke his transfer to Germany.

Gov. Tim Kaine authorized the transfer of Jens Soering just before leaving office in January 2010. A week later McDonnell revoked the consent, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would not allow the transfer unless Virginia "provides clear and unambiguous consent."

On Tuesday, Soering filed suit in a Richmond court, seeking a declaratory judgment on whether McDonnell's action was within his authority, The Daily Progress of Charlottesville reported.

The son of a German diplomat, Soering came to Charlottesville in 1984 as a Jefferson Scholar at the University of Virginia. He dated fellow student Elizabeth Haysom. Her parents, Derek and Nancy, were killed in 1985, and Soering was convicted in 1990. He is serving two life terms.

Soering has maintained his innocence, saying he initially confessed because he thought his father's position would protect him and shield Haysom from the death penalty. She pleaded guilty in 1987 to being an accessory to murder and was sentenced to 90 years.

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