Roanoke Times Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: SATURDAY, June 9, 1990 TAG: 9006090285 SECTION: VIRGINIA PAGE: A-3 EDITION: METRO SOURCE: MONICA DAVEY STAFF WRITER DATELINE: BEDFORD LENGTH: Medium
The blood-swirled yellow linoleum where Nancy Haysom's body once lay was one of more than 100 pieces of physical evidence that prosecutor James Updike showed jurors in the fifth day of Jens Soering's trial in the 1985 slashing deaths of his former girlfriend's parents.
In his opening statement, Updike had asked the Nelson County jury for patience when it came to physical evidence in the case. It might take a while, he had warned.
And Friday, his words proved true. What had started in the morning as a packed courtroom was half-empty after lunch. Even Circuit Judge William Sweeney advised the jury during the day that evidence presentation could be "heavy-duty" at times.
Updike's evidence included items expected from crime scenes: blood spots, bloody handprints and footprints, fibers and hair strands found in Derek and Nancy Haysom's Boonsboro home when their bodies were discovered April 3, 1985.
But Updike also had the unusual: a mousetrap and a feather found in the house.
And aside from the kitchen floor, Updike had bulky evidence: parts of the wooden dining-room floor, lamps, rugs, paintings and a Formica counter top.
The screen door to the Haysoms' house was in his office, but Updike said he would prefer not to carry it down the hall into the courtroom unless someone had a question about it.
Even the dirty dishes the Haysoms had left in their dishwasher that night five years ago and the contents of their bedroom trash basket - three empty beer cans - were brought into the courtroom Friday.
In testimony Friday, Bedford County investigator Steve Rush and Lynchburg investigator Geoff Brown told jurors what they had collected from the house. But they did not explain what the piles of evidence meant.
Fingerprint and blood-typing experts are likely to explain each item's significance Tuesday when Soering's trial resumes.
Updike will try to show the jury how physical evidence in the Haysoms' home would support confessions Soering made to the killings in 1986.
Soering's defense attorneys now say his confessions were lies, so Updike must work to prove that his statements fit the facts.
Also Friday, jurors got a look at bloodstains just outside the Haysoms' home - leading from the front door to the driveway - which Updike will argue are consistent with Soering's confessions.
Though the bloodstains were not visible, a process using luminol allowed investigators to find them, Brown told the jury.
Sprayed on surfaces in pitch dark, luminol shines in an eerie blue-green hue where blood traces are present. In photographs outside the Haysoms' home, investigators shot what appeared to be a blue-green trail of prints out to the driveway.
In Soering's 1986 confessions, he said he had blood on his feet as he walked out to his car as he was leaving the Haysoms' home.
The trail of luminol prints ended at the driveway.
Soering's attorneys have said that parts of Updike's physical evidence will turn out to contradict Soering's confessions. They have said that other pieces of evidence will suggest their theory - that Elizabeth Haysom killed her parents.
Under cross-examination Friday, investigator Rush agreed with Soering's attorney that two bloody footprints in the living room faced the Haysoms' liquor cabinet. In that cabinet - on an Absolut Vodka bottle - were two fingerprints of Elizabeth Haysom.
Updike contends that Haysom, Soering's former girlfriend who is serving a 90-year sentence for helping to plot the killings, was not present when they were carried out.
No latent fingerprints found in the house have been identified as Soering's.
Updike has pointed out that Elizabeth Haysom was known to have been in the house just the weekend before her parents were killed and could easily have touched the vodka bottle then.
And in his opening argument, Updike said the fact that none of Soering's fingerprints were found in the house actually would corroborate Soering's confession, in which he said he wiped up after the killings.
"He stated that he went back to clean up," Updike said. "And, we submit, he did a good job."