Roanoke Times Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: FRIDAY, March 2, 1990 TAG: 9003023286 SECTION: VIRGINIA PAGE: B1 EDITION: METRO SOURCE: MONICA DAVEY STAFF WRITER DATELINE: BEDFORD LENGTH: Medium
Investigator R.W. Gardner denied the allegations by Soering's defense attorneys that Soering's statements to police in 1986 were not voluntary and should not be considered during his trial in June.
Authorities have said that Soering confessed to the 1985 stabbing deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom during six interviews over a four-day period in June 1986, while he was being held in a prison outside London.
Gardner - who together with two London police detectives took Soering's statements four years ago - testified for nearly four hours Thursday during what had been expected to be a one-day hearing on the defense motion to throw out the alleged confession. Near the end of Gardner's testimony, Circuit Court Judge William Sweeney indicated that he expected the motion hearing to continue through today and even Saturday.
Defense attorneys Rick Neaton and William Cleaveland have claimed that Soering asked several times during the 1986 questioning to have an American attorney but was not given one - and the questioning was continued.
Gardner, though, testified that Soering did not ask to have an attorney. Rather, Gardner said, Soering said that he would answer some questions about the case and that he would not answer other questions without an attorney.
Neaton and Commonwealth's Attorney James Updike ran Gardner back and forth through small sections of Soering's statements - with Updike and Neaton clearly in disagreement over what Soering meant when he mentioned an American attorney.
Sweeney said he will listen to parts of the five hours of taped interviews with Soering to draw his own conclusions from the tone and sound of statements made.
Soering's statements were not formally introduced into evidence so it's unclear exactly what was said.
The defense motion also claims that British investigators made threats to Soering of physical harm to his girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, if he did not cooperate with their questioning.
Gardner testified that neither he nor the British investigators threatened Soering. In fact, Soering was offered multiple trips to the restroom and offers of food and tea, Gardner said.
The defense motion, though, alleges that the threats were made to Soering by the British investigators at his cell and not during the taped interviews. Neaton asked Gardner repeatedly about the length of untaped breaks taken during the interviews and what went on during those breaks.
Updike countered during his cross-examination of Gardner. "Regardless of how many minutes elapsed here and how many minutes elapsed there, he was advised of his Miranda warnings before, right?" Updike asked.
"Yes sir," Gardner said.
London police detectives Kenneth Beever and Terry Wright, who flew to Roanoke earlier this week, are expected to testify today.
Beever and Wright got involved with the Boonsboro killing when Soering and Elizabeth Haysom were arrested in London for unrelated bank fraud charges.
Soering, who has sat nearly motionless during his past hearings, jotted words down on a pad and looked at pages in a book during Thursday's hearing. Neaton told the judge he plans to call Soering to the stand. It will be Soering's first testimony in the case since he returned to Bedford County Jan. 12.