Comparative Law, Murder, Soering, True Crime

Söring’s New Press Tour Claims its First Gullible Victims

Hi there faithful readers!

As I recently posted, Jens Söring has a new book coming out: “Return to Life”. The obvious thing someone with a new book does is tour the country promoting it. Would Söring dare? After all, the other obvious thing an author with a book to promote can do is boost their social-media presence, as I’m doing right now. Yet Söring, after facing uncomfortable questions, deleted all of his social media in mid-2020.

Nevertheless, Söring does seem to be trying to put together a media comeback of sorts. This will allow us to see whether German media makers have learned their lesson about Söring. Will they uncritically recycle the false claims in the “Media Pack” prepared by his lawyers and PR agents? Or will they act as responsible journalists interested in a fair and balanced depiction of the facts?

Let’s have a look. Söring’s first stop will be at, the pop-philosophy fair held in Cologne. There, Söring will be appearing (g) with Germany’s most famous pop philosopher, Richard David Precht, about “Living and Surviving”. The blurb about Söring reads:

“Mit neunzehn kam er in die Isolation, mit dreiundfünfzig in die vermeintliche Freiheit, bis heute beteuert er seine Unschuld.

“At nineteen he was placed in solitary confinement, at fifty-three he was supposedly going to be free. He still claims his innocence today.”

The media people at do get the most important thing right: They didn’t simply state that Söring was innocent. Yet there are problems here as well. First of all, simply saying “He still claims his innocence today” is misleading by omission. It implies Söring has always claimed innocence, which of course isn’t true because of … all the confessions.

Söring was never placed in formal solitary confinement, as far as I can tell, certainly not for any long period. I’m not sure what thinks his “supposed freedom” means — he is a free man now; the only restriction on his freedom is he can’t return to the USA, which he probably doesn’t want to do. He also may not be able to get a visa for some other countries, since most countries aren’t interested in hosting double-murderers.

Truth Score: 5/10.

The next stop in the tour is NDR, where Söring will appear next to Andre Rieu (spangle wearer), Kerstin Ott (singer) and Okka Gundel (sportscaster) in a talk show hosted by Jörg Pilava and Bettina Tietjen in the North German Broadcasting show “NDR Talk“. Here, NDR fell for Söring’s line. The blurb for Söring’s appearance initially stated that he was “sentenced for a double-murder which he had not committed”. Of course, this is represents the production team for the show simply swallowing Söring’s version of events whole.

Truth score: 0/10.

I complained to the NDR, as did others. As a result, the NDR removed the statement of Söring’s innocence — without indicating this on the website.

The problem is, they replaced one piece of fake news with another. Now the website reads:

“33 Jahre lang kämpft Söring für eine Revision…”

“Söring fought to have his appeal heard for 33 years…”

No, he didn’t. The equivalent of a Revision in the USA is the direct appeal — the first appeal a criminal defendant is allowed after he is convicted of a crime. Since 1963, it has been the law in the USA that every person convicted of a serious crime is entitled to file a direct appeal, if necessary with a state-paid attorney. Söring’s appeal was heard and decided in 1991.

Truth score: 0/10.

His appeal/Revision was rejected. Unanimously. Not only that, Söring went on to file several habeas corpus appeals, the American equivalent of the German Wiederaufnahme. These were heard by the state district court, the Virginia Supreme Court, the federal district court, and the federal Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit of Virginia. Söring lost them all.

A lot of German journalists embarrassed themselves by swallowing Söring’s claims wholesale while he was in prison. Now, with my FAZ articles and the Terry Wright report (available here in English and here in German) available to everyone for free, journalists can easily check Söring’s claims against the original records and evidence.

The fact that they still aren’t doing so is not a good sign for German journalism. I’m writing a piece about this in German for a newspaper, will post a link here when it’s up.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this post misquoted the blurb as saying Soering became “supposedly free” at thirty-five. That was my error, thanks to commenters for pointing it out!

8 thoughts on “Söring’s New Press Tour Claims its First Gullible Victims”

  1. Does accomodation at Richmond Police Station count as solitary?
    It’s single cells and there is no association.
    His new book is only available on Kindle not hardback as well, which does seem to indicate a lack of interest.
    It’s not in the german media’s interest to bury him. There’s still useful mileage to be had.
    Not seen any face to face podcasts with his most high profile supporters. I wonder why?
    Haysom very quiet. Can you divulge any news? Book launch, media interviews?
    Good intel as always, thanks

    1. Elizabeth Haysom has changed her name and now lives in Canada with relatives. She has no plans to seek the limelight at all, and rejects every interview request.

      Solitary confinement is actually much more than simply being in a cell alone (which most inmates regard as far, far superior to having to share a cell). Regimes differ among prisons, but generally solitary means you *never get to leave the cell* for 23 hours a day. You are escorted out for 1 hour a day to shower and exercise, alone, without anyone else present. It’s used to protect vulnerable inmates and to punish wrongdoers. However, long stretches in solitary can often be considered cruel and unusual punishment, so its use is restricted.

      I’ve never found a single entry in any of Söring’s prison records indicating he was put in solitary confinement.

    2. The reason you’ve not seen any face to face podcasts with his high profile supporters is they’ve already gotten what they most wanted.

  2. At 53 (dreiundfuenfzig) he was supposedly going free, not 35, assuming the German is the original quote. Not sure what the supposed freedom is, but the timing wouldn’t be right for the 2010 serving out the sentence either way, would it.

  3. Das Wort “Isolation” könnte auch in einem allgemeineren (und nicht juristischen) Sinne gemeint sein, nämlich als Isolation von der freien Welt und dem normalen Leben. So gesehen ist jede Inhaftierung eine Isolation.
    Die “vermeintliche” Freiheit könnte psychologisch gemeint sein, nämlich in dem Sinne, dass ehemals Inhaftierte sich niemals wieder wirklich frei fühlen, da sie die Erinnerung an die Haft nicht mehr loswerden, wenn sie nicht sogar an einer posttraumatischen Belastungsstörung leiden.
    Bei aller Liebe zu juristischer und sprachlicher Präzision muss man auch aufpassen, nicht zu viel in Begriffe und Aussagen hineinzuinterpretieren.

  4. Die Bedeutungen könnten auch allgemeiner und in umgangssprachlichem Sinne gemeint sein:

    Mit “Isolation” könnte die Isolation von der Gesellschaft und von einem normalen Leben gemeint sein, und nicht die “Isolationshaft” im engeren Sinne.

    Die “vermeintliche” Freiheit könnte psychologisch gemeint sein, also in dem Sinne, dass ein ehemals lang Inhaftierter niemals wirklich frei sein wird, da er sich immer an seine Haftzeit erinnert, wenn er nicht gar an einer posttraumatischen Belastungsstörung durch die Haft leidet.

    Bei aller Liebe zu sprachlicher und juristischer Präzision muss man auch aufpassen, nicht zu viel in Begriffe hineinzuinterpretieren.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.