Roanoke Times
                 Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: FRIDAY, June 1, 1990                   TAG: 9006010828
DATELINE: BEDFORD                                LENGTH: Medium


Jens Soering today pleaded not guilty in the 1985 killings of his girlfriend's parents.

Soering, who had worn blue jeans to attend 10 pre-trial hearings, had a fresh haircut and was dressed in a blue blazer and khaki pants for the first day of his trial. He spoke softly as he entered the plea. His father, Klaus Soering, and his younger brother, Kai, showed no emotion as they watched Soering's arraignment.

Attorneys began questioning 50 Nelson County residents today as potential jurors in the case. Jury selection could go through Monday.

Authorities alleged that Soering - urged on by his girlfriend - slashed to death Nancy and Derek Haysom at their Boonsboro home on March 30, 1985.

Soering, a 23-year-old West German national, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and could face two life sentences if convicted. His former girlfriend, 26-year-old Elizabeth Haysom, is serving a 90-year sentence for helping to plot her parents' death. On Thursday, Soering's attorneys and the prosecutor Thursday took a brief tour of the house where the Haysoms were found slashed to death five years ago.

Soering chose not to attend the pretrial look at the house along Holcomb Rock Road in Boonsboro.

Circuit Judge William Sweeney Thursday morning ordered that the current owner of the cottage-style house allow the visit.

Defense attorney Rick Neaton told Sweeney he sympathized with the new owners of the house - who did not wish to allow the tour, but said he needed to walk through the house to prepare for trial.

The homeowner, Winston Clay Thomson, had turned down an earlier, informal request from Soering's attorneys. In a hearing Thursday, Thomson again objected.

Calling the usefulness of such a tour into question, Thomson pointed out that he and his wife had completely redecorated the house since the Haysoms lived there. Only the walls, floors and ceilings were the same, he said.

In addition, Thomson said he considered it an invasion of his privacy. "We're retired," he said. "We moved there for peace and contentment."

But Sweeney said he felt compelled to allow the visit. No photo-taking or members of the media were allowed inside the house. Soering's defense attorneys said they would remain on the first floor.

Derek Haysom's body had been found on the living room floor. Nancy Haysom's body had been found in the kitchen of the house the couple had called Loose Chippings.

 by CNB