Prominent Virginia couple found brutally murdered in their home

Derek and Nancy Haysom were the parents of Elizabeth Haysom, who was in a relationship with a German-born fellow student named Jens Soering.
7:12 | 02/10/18

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Transcript for Prominent Virginia couple found brutally murdered in their home
this is "20/20." Reporter: Los Angeles, California, the laemmle royal theater. It's opening night. The movie? Right up Hollywood's alley. Two obsessed lovers, a grizzly murder, sex and betrayal. My parents died because Jens and I were obsessed with each other. Reporter: But it turns out, in the genre of "You can't make this up," Hollywood didn't. The movie, "Killing for love" is actually a documentary in theaters now. A deep dive into the real-life case of Jens soering, behind bars for nearly 32 years for a brutal crime he says he did not commit. It's a natural human emotion to want somebody to blame. Reporter: And Jens' multi-decade crusade for freedom has now attracted a dream team of a-list supporters. That's screen legend martin sheen leading the q&a at that L.A. Showing. He could not possibly have been at the scene. Reporter: There's also music mogul Jason Flom the man responsible for launching Katy Perry's career. ??? Reporter: And a founding board member of the innocence project. He is somebody who could have and should have known better, and he was blinded by love. Reporter: Even German chancellor Angela Merkle has advocated for Jens' release. But his two strongest advocates, ironically, aren't high-profile celebrities or hot-shot defense attorneys. They're police officers. As far as him physically killing these people, no, I don't think he did. Reporter: One is an investigator who originally worked on the case. Show me. Reporter: The other, a current sheriff now reinvestigating it. If you break it down and look at what the evidence truly is, I don't feel like it would support a conviction if he was tried today. Reporter: Jens' story begins in 1984 at the university of Virginia. He is 18 years old, the son of a German diplomat, a freshman and a Jefferson scholar with a full scholarship to uva. We were in the same Echols scholars program. The Echols scholars program pulls the top 6% of each entering class. Reporter: Amy Lemley wrote an extensive investigative magazine article about the case. What was Jens like? He had the physique more of a boy than a man. Kind of baby fat. He had big, thick glasses that covered about half of his face. They said that most people really couldn't stand to be in a conversation with him, because he just loved to argue. Reporter: He was intellectually arrogant? I would say so. Reporter: He was also, by his own admission, sexually inexperienced. Sexually not only inexperienced, but a virgin, right? Reporter: Uh-huh. And he meets a girl, Elizabeth haysom, who is one of the hottest girls on campus . She was apparently very bright, as well. Came from a very good family. And he falls head over heels in love with her. Reporter: Elizabeth is two years older than Jens. Her father, Derek haysom, was a Canadian steel mogul and her mother, Nancy, the god-daughter of lady Astor, a wealthy aristocrat, and the first woman to take a seat in the British parliament. But this power family seem to have no power over their wild child daughter. Elizabeth ran away from boarding school in England and spent five months in Europe using drugs. Nevertheless, she presented well to her classmates at uva. She had this great shock of blonde hair hanging down, and she was the opposite of who you think might end up with Jens soering. Reporter: People must have been taken aback by her selection of him. Yes. Very few people understood what was going on between those two. Reporter: One thing apparently going on between the virginal freshman and his unlikely alluring companion? A series of x-rated, hand-written letters they exchanged over several months. When you see and you read those love letters, you can sort of feel that there was a lot of sexual tension. Reporter: These are just some of the ones we can actually read on television. Dear Liz, I love you. Je t'aime. I love you selfishly, and I love you with pain. How do you feel about a couple of drings back at my place? I want to be with you, around you, through you. Reporter: But only months into their relation March 1985, tragedy strikes. Derek W.R. Haysom and his wife, Nancy, were stabbed to death in their home. Reporter: Elizabeth's parents are found brutally murdered inside their rural retirement home in boonsboro, Virginia. It sort of sits on the border, right there, of lynchburg and Bedford county. Just a very nice, quiet, wealthy community. The bodies were only discovered this afternoon at their home on Holcomb rock road. It was a very shocking crime. I'd never seen anything, anything like that before. Reporter: Then-rookie investigator, Ricky Gardner is one of the first to arrive on the scene. This is your first real homicide, right? Yes. Yes, ma'am. Early we were able to determine that this was not -- a burglary. Reporter: Nothing appears to be missing. There is even Nancy haysoms' purse with money still in it. The haysoms must have let whomever did this to them into the house because there was no sign of forced entry. But I'd never seen any human being that had been injured by another human being in that -- in that fashion. Reporter: Overkill? Overkill. It was up close and personal. To me it was like a slaughterhouse. Reporter: Chuck Reid was a Bedford county investigator in 1985 and worked the case with Gardner for a year before leaving the sheriff's office. He took me inside the crime scene. You opened the door when you first came here. The first thing I saw was Derek haysom's body was lying here with his head up against -- basically up against the corner of this fireplace. Reporter: This corner here? Yeah. Reporter: Derek haysom had been stabbed 36 times. Nancy, six. Her body was found in the kitchen. Both were stabbed in the heart. Both nearly decapitated. As you step over and come in, this area right here is where all the blood was -- Reporter: Where? -- Just around in this area, what was smeared around in this area here. Reporter: The first thing in your mind was -- What kinda gang came in here and did this? There was concern because of the smearing blood, initially, that there was some sort of cult involved. Rumors of witchcraft, voodoo, fueled curiosity and the demand for answers. Reporter: Whodunnit theories are rampant. Word that Derek haysom upset workers in the steel business fuels rumors of mafia-style hit. But a clue in a rental car agreement is about to change the direction of the case. You saw that and you thought -- That's when we got to thinking, "Well, wait a minute."

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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