For Release: July 7, 2010
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Statement of Attorney General Cuccinelli on retaining custody of German murderer Jens Soering
- U.S. Department of Justice to Commonwealth:
Soering can serve out sentence in Virginia -
RICHMOND (July 7, 2010) -- United States Attorney General Eric Holder says there will be no argument between Virginia and the federal government over the transfer of convicted double murderer Jens Soering to his German homeland. In a letter to Governor Bob McDonnell this week, Holder said that he understood that the Commonwealth had withdrawn its consent to the transfer, initially agreed to by former Governor Tim Kaine during his final week in office.
“We did everything we could to stop this double murderer from escaping our custody and from being released to Germany, where he would have served only a fraction of the sentence Virginia gave him,” said Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. “We worked with Governor McDonnell and researched all of the Commonwealth’s legal options to keep Soering here, including fighting the transfer in federal court, if it came to that. I am gratified that Attorney General Holder will not pursue the transfer. Virginia’s interest in making Soering serve out his sentence is more important than Soering’s interest in being transferred back to his homeland.”
Soering’s transfer became an issue in the transition weeks before Cuccinelli and McDonnell took office. McDonnell revoked Soering’s request for a transfer to Germany, the Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution supporting the revocation, and Cuccinelli prepared to fight in court if the government had tried to take Soering into federal custody.
In his letter, 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 is currently in Virginia's custody and will remain so until he serves out his Virginia sentence. He 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. Had Soering been transferred to Germany, he would have been eligible for the suspension of his sentence in two years.