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Law Professor Calls on Governor to Pardon Soering

AP File Photo

There’s new hope for a German man who’s spent three decades in Virginia prisons for a crime he says he did not commit.

Jens Soering was convicted in the bloody murders of his girlfriend’s parents when he was 18.  Now, the Director at the Institute for Actual Innocenceat the University of Richmond’s law school, Mary Kelly Tate, says Soering could not be convicted if he were tried today.

"We are now using absolutely the most sophisticated forms of DNA testing," she said. "And he has been excluded as a contributor from that crime scene, and there are other deficiencies."

So Tate did something she rarely does.

"I reviewed the materials anew, and I wrote a letter to the governor stating my strong support of an absolute or conditional pardon for Yens."

That letter is one of many documents sent to Governor Terry McAuliffe as part of a request that Soering be pardoned. 

He believes his former girlfriend was responsible for the crime and had help from others.  DNA from two unidentified men was found at the scene.


Credit University of Richmond
Mary Kelly Tate Directs the Institute for Actual Innocence at the University of Richmond School of Law.

Professor Mary Kelly Tate talks about the Soering case and the Institute for Actual Innocence she directs.


Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief