Jens Soering was a 19-year-old college student and the son of a foreign diplomat when he confessed to the 1985 double murder of his then-girlfriend, Elisabeth Haysom’s, parents, Derek and Nancy, in their home in Virginia. He later rescinded, claiming he made a false confession, but the state of Virginia moved ahead with the prosecution.

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“We know that false confessions are most common in people under the age of 25,” says prison reform activist and founding board member of the Innocence Project, Jason Flom. “And we know that false confessions happen for a variety of reasons.”

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Convicted in 1990 and sentenced to two consecutive life terms, Jens, who claims DNA evidence at the crime scene did not belong to him, maintained his innocence for three decades. Then, in 2017, Albemarle County Sheriff J. E. "Chip" Harding released a 19-page report on a months-long investigation wherein he concluded that Jens was innocent. Jens Soering was released from prison in November 2019 and deported to his native Germany.

“I’m a little disappointed that I did not get a pardon, that I only got parole, but I understand the political realities,” says Jens, adding, “But apart from that, I’m just super happy. I am overjoyed to be free.”

This episode airs Friday. Check here to find out where you can watch more from Dr. Phil’s exclusive interview with Jens Soering.

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