Review by Caitlin Zeigler
This documentary is very interesting and shows what’s wrong with the justice system. With voice work from Daniel Brühl reading Jens Söring’s letters and Imogen Poots reading Elizabeth Haysom’s letters, this doc discusses the case that saw two young lovers commit murder to be with each other. There is so much more to the story than what is initially mentioned. Jens Söring was an 18-year-old German student at university. He was the son of a diplomat, nerdy, sheltered and madly in love. Elizabeth Haysom was an intelligent student at the same university and she was a year or two older than Jens.
She had a reputation of a wild past that included drug use and possible abuse from her parents. A lot of people wanted to be with or even around Elizabeth at the campus. She got with Jens and they had being outsiders in common. Elizabeth lived in England and had a Canadian passport and settled in Virginia with her parents. She claimed to be abused and loved to one up Jens stories of accomplishments. They wrote letters back and forth and Elizabeth told Jens that she had to get rid of her parents.
Jens was so in love with Elizabeth that he told her he would tell the police that he committed the crime of murdering her parents and he assumed he would be sent back to Germany, do time for a couple of years and they would be back in each other’s arms. What Jens didn’t count on was that Elizabeth was a liar and manipulator who made a deal with the prosecutor to avoid the electric chair, while throwing him under the bus.
It happened in the late 80’s. A friend of Derek and Nancy Haysom hadn’t heard from them in a while and when she went to check up on them, she discovered the bodies. Retired FBI profiler, Ed Sulzbach, realized that Nancy would never let anyone in her house while wearing her nightgown and a robe, so whoever killed her had to be very close to her. Chuck Reid and Ricky Gardner were the investigators and it seemed like an open and shut case. A guy that would do anything for his girlfriend, killed her parents to have her to himself and free her from her abusive parents, but it was so much more to the story.
Jens possibly had nothing to do with the murders and only knew that his girlfriend killed her parents. It didn’t help that he lied in the beginning to spare her, so people had trouble believing he was innocent. The other problem was that the only evidence that tied him to the crime was a sock print that could have very easily been that of a woman’s size, specifically Elizabeth’s size. Jens has been in prison for 30 years and as he patiently waits for his freedom, he keeps getting denied parole. This is a fascinating documentary that will keep giving you new information as the story progresses. You’ll wonder how could Elizabeth do this to an innocent man and why can’t Jens be released when he’s had so many opportunities to get as close to free as possible only to get rejected again and again. If you like documentaries, true crime stories or both, then this is definitely for you.