LONDON -- A West German man and former University of Virginia honor student accused of killing a Virginia couple in 1985 was extradited Friday to the United States to stand trial.
Jens Soering, who had fought extradition since his arrest in Britain more than three years ago, was turned over to Sheriff Carl Wells of Bedford County, Va., and U.S. Marshal Wayne Beaman and flown to the United States, a Home Office spokesman said.
No details were available on when Soering might arrive in Virginia.
Soering, 23, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, were both honor students at the University of Virginia when her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom, were stabbed to death in their Bedford County home in 1985.
Soering and Haysom fled when they learned they were the prime suspects in the slayings. They were arrested in London in May 1986 on unrelated check fraud charges.
Haysom waived extradition and in 1987 pleaded guilty to helping plan the murders. She received a 90-year prison term. Testimony at her trial revealed a troubled relationship with her parents, who disapproved of her relationship with Soering.
Soering has fought extradition, arguing he could face the electric chair if convicted. Neither Britain nor West Germany has capital punishment.
Britain originally agreed to extradite Soering with 'limited assurances' that Bedford County Commonwealth's attorney James Updike would make the trial judge and jury aware of Britain's objection to capital punishment.
But in July 1989 the European Court of Human Rights based in Strasbourg, France, blocked the extradition saying if Soering was convicted of capital murder in Virginia, the long wait on death row would be 'inhuman and degrading.'
In August, then-Home Secretary Douglas Hurd announced the extradition would take place if Soering would face 'non-capital murder charges.' In an exchange of diplomatic notes, U.S. officials assured Hurd that they understood that, under international law, Soering could not be executed.
The delays continued as Soering tried other appeals, but Detroit attorney Richard Neaton said last week that Soering had decided to give up the fight.