14 user 93 critic

Killing for Love (2016)

Das Versprechen (original title)
The gruesome murders of Nancy and Derek Haysom in 1985 were an international media sensation. The Haysoms were wealthy, respected members of Virginia society, and the murder conviction of ... See full summary »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Elizabeth Haysom (voice)
... Jens Söring (voice)
Chuck Reid ... Himself - Former Investigator Bedford County Sheriff's Department
Ricky Gardner ... Himself - Lead investigator Bedford County Sheriff's Department
Elizabeth Haysom ... Herself (archive footage)
Jim Updike ... Himself (archive footage)
... Himself
Carlos Santos ... Himself - Journalist
Dave Watson ... Himself - Private Investigator
Gail Ball ... Herself - Jens Söring's Lawyer
Ed Sulzbach ... Himself, Former FBI Psychological Profiler
Rich Zorn ... Himself - Former Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General (as Richard Zorn)
... Himself (archive footage)
Robert Showalter ... Himself (archive footage)
Ken Englade ... Himself, author of 'Beyond Reason: The True Story of a Shocking Double Murder' (archive footage)


The gruesome murders of Nancy and Derek Haysom in 1985 were an international media sensation. The Haysoms were wealthy, respected members of Virginia society, and the murder conviction of their daughter Elizabeth and her German boyfriend Jens Soering sent shock waves through the rural community of Bedford County. Elizabeth and Jens had met in a university program for high achieving students. She was a product of European boarding schools, he was the son of a diplomat. After being arrested in London, England, for passing bad checks in 1986, they were both extradited to the United States and have now spent over 30 years behind bars. This beautifully crafted film reveals a mismanaged, or perhaps completely corrupted, judicial process. This was the first criminal trial held in front of TV cameras - the first high-profile, international case tried in a small town. Investigations over the past 3 years have turned up stunning evidence that was previously suppressed or deemed inadmissible. ...

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Documentary | Crime


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Release Date:

15 December 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Killing for Love  »


Box Office


€600,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (TV)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jens Söring: I felt like the hero in Charles Dickens' novel "A Tale of Two Cities", who gave his life for love.
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User Reviews

Compelling documentary about a possible miscarriage of justice

This has just been shown on BBC4 in the UK as "Killing for Love." The BBC gave no indication that this is a German production. But it explains why Jens, who speaks excellent English in court, speaks German here. The original title also may have been too partisan for the BBC. The corporation is perhaps not as convinced as the film makers of Jens's innocence. Whatever the case, the film will fascinate those unfamiliar with the 1990 trial, allegedly the first in the US to be televised, which resulted in long jail terms for Jens and his accomplice Elizabeth. Both were found guilty of the murder of Elizabeth's parents. But Jens claimed that Elizabeth was the killer and he took the blame. It is an unusual murder mystery in that both are intelligent and articulate. He's a diplomat's son, she's the child of wealthy Canadian parents, who affects an English accent. From the beginning the film makers feature participants who are on Jens's side. One says that he could tell Elizabeth was an accomplished liar. But their investigation brings in private detectives who uncover a third suspect (who denies culpability) and unknown DNA at the crime scene. This is surely sufficient to re-open the case. But the authorities in Virginia, where the crimes were committed, will not consider this. Nor will they allow Jens to complete his sentence in Germany or for him to be interviewed again. Much of the footage is of the trial, which was shot on videotape that is now showing its age. But the story is extraordinary, horrible, romantic and shocking and will enthrall all lovers of true crime mysteries.The BBC's iPlayer VOD service features another hour of material.

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