Governor Bob McDonnell
RICHMOND- Governor Bob McDonnell today formally communicated and reiterated the official opposition of the Commonwealth to the possible transfer of convicted murderer Jens Soering from the Virginia Department of Corrections to Germany, where Soering could be eligible for parole after just two years. The Governor did so in a formal letter sent to United States Attorney General Eric Holder. The letter is attached to this press release. Also attached to this press release is the Governor’s initial letter to the Attorney General on the matter, sent on January 19th.
Speaking on Capitol Hill last Thursday, United States Attorney General Eric Holder, responding to questioning by Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-5th), stated that his office was waiting for official word as to the position of the Commonwealth on the Soering matter, noting “…it makes a lot of sense for us to get what the state’s position is going to be.”
In today’s letter to Attorney General Holder, the Governor writes, “In light of your public comments at last week’s hearing, I want to formally reiterate that Virginia has clearly revoked authorization for a transfer of Jens Soering to Germany. Soering is currently in Virginia’s custody for state offenses and he will remain so in order to serve out his Virginia sentence for the horrendous crimes he committed in our Commonwealth.”
During his final week in office, former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine requested that the United States Department of Justice transfer Soering to German authorities. On January 19th, three days after taking office, Governor Bob McDonnell sent a letter to the Department of Justice revoking the previous request for transfer and stating the position of the Commonwealth that Jens Soering must remain in Virginia’s custody. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli joined the Governor in expressing the official position of the Commonwealth. Additionally, the Virginia General Assembly passed a resolution, sponsored by Senator Steve Newman (R-Lynchburg), supporting the revocation of the previous Administration’s request for transfer.
On April 6 while meeting with the Roanoke Chamber of Commerce Attorney General Cuccinelli told chamber members that he had to deal with the Jens Soering issue prior to being sworn in. “They were told it was a done deal,” said Cuccinelli. They dug deep and successfully stopped the transfer only to be surprised by the Department of Justice.
According to Cuccinelli Republican Senator Steve Newman of Lynchburg received a letter from the DOJ saying they may not honor the transfer revocation by now Governor Bob McDonnell. This could result in a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Virginia. Thinking about it for a second, Cuccinelli smiled, saying “it seems fair though since we’re suing them.”
Soering is serving two life terms at the Brunswick Correctional Center for the 1985 murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom in their Bedford County home.
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Crime, Politics, State Politics
Tags: attorney_general, crime, cuccinelli, governor