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Berlin pressures US to free convicted murderer

The Local · 23 Feb 2011, 14:08

Published: 23 Feb 2011 14:08 GMT+01:00

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Human rights commissioner Markus Löning said Wednesday that he’d paid a visit to Jens Söring in Virginia in hopes of having the 44-year-old former diplomat’s son returned to his home country.

Söring is serving a double life sentence after being charged with helping his American girlfriend murder her parents in 1985 when he was 18-years-old. At the time, he admitted his participation in the crime but later retracted his confession.

He still maintains his innocence.

US authorities have refused to pardon Söring or grant him a suspended sentence, which the German embassy in Washington DC has been working to change.

“Publicly we can do very little,” human rights commissioner Löning said on Wednesday after returning from his trip to the US. “But we’re trying to do everything we can in the background.”

The question of the prisoner’s guilt or innocence plays “no role,” he said.

Story continues below…

“Söring has been sitting in prison for almost a quarter of a century. With that he has long since served his punishment according to our interpretation of the law.”


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:04 February 23, 2011 by auniquecorn
He helped MURDER his girlfriends parents,

your not in Kansas anymore toto.

In America you do the crime, you do the time.

In the middle east, he would of had his head cut off.

Of course in germany he would of gotten almost 6 years.

and been living off Hartz 4 for the last 21 years.
15:13 February 23, 2011 by Joshontour
So he retracted his confession, how many people do that after their convictions? Hey Local, can you tell us some other things about this case? Has he already appealed his conviction? If so; how many times? Is he eligible for parole? If so; when? Did his Girlfriend testify against him? Is there DNA evidence linking him to the crime? I wonder when the last time an American diplomat appealed to Germany for longer sentences was? If you are a guest in another country, you are subject to their penal code... end of story; if he had been in Florida, he would have ridden the lightning, he's lucky to still be sucking air.
15:14 February 23, 2011 by tallady
Amen auniquecorn...not much chance of success here ,murder is a serious crime in most countries.
15:22 February 23, 2011 by storymann
He is not under German law so who cares what it is when you are sitting in a US prison for murdering your girlfriends parents and and trading smokes for BABA, You get the same sentence you gave her parents dirt bag.
15:23 February 23, 2011 by William Thirteen
15:26 February 23, 2011 by Surferjoe
"our interpetation of the law" has no standing in the US Mr. Löning. If you do the crime you have to be willing to take the time.
16:08 February 23, 2011 by idiot
> "our interpetation of the law" has no standing in the US Mr. Löning.

Mr. Löning care a dry fart abt US as he is a german citizien Mr. SurferJoe.
16:23 February 23, 2011 by michael4096
There are two reasons for imprisoning somebody: to take a dangerous person off the street and to discourage him and anybody else from commiting a similar crime. Anything else is revenge not justice.

So the questions surely are: is he a danger to anybody? does keeping him locked up discourage anybody else from doing the same thing?

If the answers are no and no - let him go
16:34 February 23, 2011 by MunchingInMuenchen
To michael4096: The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. If the question is "is he a danger to anybody?", then the answer is obviously yes. He murdered two people. Recidivism rates are well over 50%... And keeping him locked up discourages HIM from doing the same thing again. So the answers are yes and yes.

To idiot: Your screen name is very appropriate...
17:02 February 23, 2011 by sebastian2010
maybe they should at least use DNA test to make sure he did it. Every now and then they find someone how did not do the crime. PS you do get 25 years to life in germany for killing someone.
17:02 February 23, 2011 by Surferjoe
Well said MunchingInMuenchen
17:06 February 23, 2011 by idiot
> The best indicator of future behavior is past behavior

> "is he a danger to anybody?"

> He murdered two people

> Recidivism rates are well over 50%...

> Your screen name is very appropriate...

my name is your program well? ;-)
17:20 February 23, 2011 by Joshontour
@sebastion... there is no possibility for DNA evidence to be submitted as his appeals have been exhausted, and the conviction was based on his confession and the testimony of his girlfriend. His only hope is of a pardon for the crime, or to be parolled. You can read his version of events at the above mentioned website and if you are so compelled, you can write a letter to the Governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, at P.O. Box 1475

Richmond, Virginia 23218 asking for his pardon. Whether or not he is guilty of murder, he is guilty of being an accomplice. That much is clear. If an accomplices role is all he played, then his debt to society has already been paid for twice over imho.
17:35 February 23, 2011 by wasifsagri
same should be done with Raymond Davis, a US national who killed 3 pakistanis in Pakistan. I don't know why US is asking for his release.
18:01 February 23, 2011 by Dogs_Gonads
He should have retracted his involvement in helping to commit a double murder.

That would have kept him out of jail.
19:19 February 23, 2011 by Fireplug52
I agree with those who are trying to help get him released, with a caveat. Since he is serving two life terms, he should be allowed to serve the first complete life sentence and then get released. Now if he is not able to finish the first life sentence then he should be made to serve the second life sentence. If I understand what the state of Virginia imposed concerning a life sentence, then it means the remaining days of his life will be spent in prison. Hey, that seems fair. At least they didn't execute him.
20:22 February 23, 2011 by fryintl
free him? If we could bring back the dead parents, and they consented, maybe. He can breathe, he can feel teh boredom of the cell. THey can't and probably better for them. Who wants to live knowing the child you bore for 9 months, and then went through hell in giving birth and then raising wants you dead? Life may have been kinder for them by having them dead? Can you imagine your own flesh and blood plotting and killing you? You could live after knowing, but for the rest of your life wonder why.

I know there is a back story we don't know about. Maybe there was abuse, maybe there was lack of love, or boarding schools, or they didn't buy her the pony. In any case, the parents aren't here and he is.

In the old days, he would hav ebeen hanged, since society shouldn't be required to support an admitted killer. I know there have been cases where soemone innocent was killed, but more guilty were than innocent. I don't want to be the dead innocent one, but this guy did it, he is guilty, thinking he would get out soon, but the American system had more in store for him.

Remember the neighbors who fought and the other killed him with a snow shovel , somewhere in Germany? SHould teh guilty killer get to go home and live with his family after a few years, 20 years? Especially when the other family has no dad ever coming back or to go visit in jail?

God help us all. The world gets stranger, and we get more tolerant and more willing to accept that there are bad people, and they do bad things.
00:57 February 24, 2011 by Jack Golan
Clue, Jens ...

Next time, murder Germans.
01:24 February 24, 2011 by CPT/USA
So what exactly is the penalty for a double murder in Germany?
01:58 February 24, 2011 by hanskarl
Ah, he is a "diplomats son" so he gets special visits. Fortunately he did this in Virginia and not in Texas or Arizona. I just watched a television programme where a man was arrested for murder....his third in about 15 years. He was senteneced on the first two charges to a 20 year and 25 year sentence to be served "concurrently" and was paroled early without a reason.
06:46 February 24, 2011 by gherhardt
Some people here don't know what SOVEREIGNTY means. If Jens Söring had committed his crime in Germany he would have received a German sentence; if he had done so in China... a Chinese sentence, etc. etc.

Jens Söring helped to commit a crime, which in America is called "aiding and abetting". In America, the "helper" is charged with the same crime as the "principal" who pulled the trigger; this is because the "mens rea" (guilty mind) of the helper is found to be the same as the principal.

It doesn't help to argue about this. Most states in America use Common Law for their Criminal law, it's about 1000 years in the making, and they are probably not about to change it for anybody, even if they are "diplomat's sons".
08:11 February 24, 2011 by storymann
This double murderer should have humped the needle long ago ,avoiding all the costly jail time.
09:49 February 24, 2011 by annan1063
This idiot would already have been executed had he committed his crime in Texas. I agree with an earlier post, he is lucky that he is still alive.
09:59 February 24, 2011 by idiot
> It doesn't help to argue about this. Most states in America use Common Law for their Criminal law, it's about 1000 years in the making, and they are probably not about to change it for anybody,

A question of money.
11:36 February 24, 2011 by moistvelvet
"he has long since served his punishment according to our interpretation of the law."

I think the point about this article is that a Human rights commisioner in Germany is wanting someone to be treated how they would in their home country. So would that mean I can now hang out washing on a Sunday and wash my car in the drive way and only be punished as I would in my native country i.e. not at all? Didn't think so.

Double life sentence is a life changer, but he was dumb enough to do the crime and even more dumb to confess... but then again what exactly is aiding in the eyes of the law in the US, reloading the gun or driving the car? The US has more prisoners per capita than any other country by far, that isn't something to be proud of. When someone automatically gets a life sentance for a consecutive crime even something minor such as shop lifting then long sentences clearly don't work as a deterrance.
12:31 February 24, 2011 by wenddiver
Sounds like he is real lucky to be alive.
18:01 February 24, 2011 by avserb
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
01:03 February 25, 2011 by fryintl
Moistvelvet, I wonder, when we send someone to jail, are we really puttin gthe deterence first? We punish the crime, and hope that the punishment will serve as a deterent. Teh fact that this poor schlub got caught, and his daddy din't get him out in time is too bad. How about the guy in Aruba whose dad was a judge, and he got off scott free for killing Natalee Holloway? In his country, or their protectorate, his position helped him escape, even after he confessed.

I like your name by the way, sounds so slutty and sexy....

Anyways, Deterence doesn't work, according to your point of viewq, so we shouldn't put anyone in prison? If we would just kill everyone for the crimes they committed, like they did in the wild west, I guess there wouldnt be so many people living on the tax money of honest taxpayers.

Europe had the debtors prisons, turkey has the compounds (where a wife is prostitued until the husband's debts are paid) teh middle eastern cultures cut off limbs and execute people, the chinese sentence you and then make your family pay for the bullet, the very conservative cultures around teh atlantic do other things. I guess teh US's way is cruel and inhumane because we just lock people up. Maybe it would work better if we shot them, hung them, killed them, cut off limbs and had public beheadings....we are just doing it to civilized and it is kicking us in the butt for being so civil.
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