Jens Soering and Elizabeth Haysom, lovers convicted of the brutal 1985 murder of Haysom's parents, have been awarded parole in Virginia—but they won't be staying in the US for long. Following Monday's surprise ruling, Soering, the son of a German diplomat, and Haysom, a Canadian, will be handed off to federal immigration authorities, deported to their respective countries, and blocked from returning, per the Washington Post. The pair had been students at the University of Virginia when they were arrested in the months following the murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom, found inside their central Virginia home with their throats cut almost to the point of decapitation. Soering confessed to the killing he'd planned with Haysom but later recanted, arguing he'd only been trying to protect his girlfriend under a false belief that he had diplomatic immunity.
Handed two life sentences in 1990, Soering continued to argue for his freedom and requested a pardon. In 2016, he claimed he wasn't the source of Type O blood at the scene. "You have to believe I'm innocent," he said, per the Post. "The only other option is I did it with somebody else, whom I've been protecting for 31 years." Others backed Soering, now 53, including an ex-sheriff's deputy. But the parole board described the inmate's claims as "without merit." The release of the pair is appropriate, however, "based on their youth at the time of the offenses, institutional adjustment, and their length of incarceration," the board's chair said, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Haysom, now 55, was given 90 years after pleading guilty to being an accessory before the fact. She maintains Soering acted alone. (Read more parole stories.)