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

DATE: WEDNESDAY, June 13, 1990                   TAG: 9006130590
DATELINE: BEDFORD                                LENGTH: Long


A judge today rejected a request from Jens Soering's attorneys that they be allowed to find out what Soering's former girlfriend has told the prosecution in recent weeks.

Soering's attorney, Rick Neaton, asked that prosecutor James Updike be required to disclose what statements Elizabeth Haysom has made to him as part of legal discovery in the case. Neaton had wanted the statements turned over immediately - before Haysom testifies in the case.

Soering, a 23-year-old West German national, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the 1985 deaths of Nancy and Derek Haysom. Elizabeth Haysom, expected to be a key prosecution witness, is already serving 90 years in prison for her role in her parents' deaths.

If Haysom has made any statements to Updike that contradict her testimony or statements to detectives over the past four years, Updike must disclose that, Neaton argued. Any inconsistencies in Haysom's statements would prove exculpatory to Soering, Neaton said.

Updike said he was not required to describe any interviews he has had with Haysom.

In what turned into bickering match between the two attorneys, Updike complained that Neaton has for months come into Bedford County Courthouse saying "We want this and we want that with no authority ever submitted."

But Neaton said Elizabeth Haysom's statements - and their inconsistencies - would "get to the heart of the matter: Who was in Washington, D.C., and who was in Lynchburg."

That was the central question raised on Tuesday when Updike asked for a brief recess to look at some new evidence he said had just arrived on his facsimile machine.

The evidence included photocopies of movie tickets and receipts for room service and hotel bills from the March 1985 weekend when the Haysoms were slashed to death in their Boonsboro home.

Authorities have said Elizabeth Haysom bought movie tickets and dinners for herself and Soering, in Washington, D.C., that weekend while Soering drove to Bedford County to kill her parents. The double purchases were intended to establish an alibi for her and Soering, authorities have said.

What remained unclear Tuesday, though, was which side in Soering's trial for the 1985 killings of the Haysoms would be helped by the ticket stubs and receipts.

Updike, who contends Elizabeth Haysom stayed in Washington while Soering killed her parents, said Tuesday that he wants handwriting analysis conducted on the receipts to confirm that Haysom signed them.

But Neaton said Tuesday that the stubs and receipts would "prove the truth of the defense position all along." Soering's attorneys contend their client stayed in Washington while Elizabeth Haysom took the trip to Bedford County to slash to death her parents.

Neaton did not explain how the evidence would support the defense theory, and the evidence itself was not entered into the public record.

Unrolling a long page of facsimile paper, Updike said he received copies of tickets to the movies "Witness" and "Stranger Than Paradise," receipts from restaurants in Charlottesville and Washington, a Washington hotel room-service ticket and some handwritten notes.

In a confusing chain of events, copies of the documents were sent to Updike from John C. Lowe, a Charlottesville lawyer who at one time represented Elizabeth Haysom, Updike said. Lowe, in turn, apparently got the evidence from another Charlottesville lawyer, Edward L. Hogshire. Hogshire had been hired by Soering's father to search for Jens Soering in 1985.

To Neaton, though, the evidence was nothing new.

He said he had known about its existence since 1986 and that he believed he had no responsibility to let Updike see it. "Looking at the court rule, we had no obligation to disclose," Neaton said.

Neaton, in fact, told Updike on Tuesday that he has the originals of the ticket stubs and other items. Soering's father, Klaus Soering, had given them to him.

Updike called Klaus Soering, a West German diplomat stationed in the African country of Mauritania, to the stand Tuesday afternoon to find out where the originals came from, where they are now and whether Soering happened to be holding any other pieces of evidence.

Looking over his reading glasses at the facsimile sheet, Klaus Soering acknowledged that he had found the items in December 1985 when he cleaned out his son's dormitory room at the University of Virginia.

Jens Soering, then a sophomore honors student at UVa, disappeared to Europe with Elizabeth Haysom in October 1985. Bedford detectives have testified that they did not search Soering's dorm room after the couple vanished from UVa.

Months later, authorities caught up with the pair in London when they were arrested on unrelated check fraud charges.

Klaus Soering said he turned the stubs and receipts over to Neaton. Though he found "so much paper material" in his son's room, Soering testified that he discovered no other evidence pertinent to the case while he cleaned the room.

Klaus Soering, who has been sitting two rows behind his son during the week of testimony, looked distressed when he was called and - like other witnesses - was told he would have to wait outside the courtroom for other people's testimony. As he left the stand, the silver-haired man asked the judge, "Must I leave again?" The judge said he must. Today, the judge accepted a motion from the defense that Klaus Soering be allowed back in the courtroom.

Although Neaton did not explain how the ticket stubs and receipts would help his client's case, he did say that they would "impeach" Elizabeth Haysom's testimony.

In 1986, Haysom told investigators that she set up an alibi for her boyfriend - going to movies and ordering dinners in Washington. A year later, though, she told investigators that she had actually gone to a Georgetown bar that day, got drunk and bought heroin. She denied going to the afternoon movies.

After meeting privately with Updike to discuss whether the prosecutor could look at Neaton's originals of the documents, Neaton asked Circuit Judge William Sweeney to order that Elizabeth Haysom testify immediately Tuesday afternoon.

If Haysom were to learn about the movie tickets and receipts, Neaton said, she probably would change her story again - to adjust to the new evidence, Neaton suggested. "What's happened here today will find its way to Bedford County Jail," where Haysom is being held until she is called to testify, Neaton said.

"Three years ago, Miss Haysom said she didn't buy any movie tickets," Neaton said.

Updike, who already has presented the jury with confessions Soering made to the killings in 1986, said Soering has not stuck to one story, either. "And your client has made many contradictory statements," Updike countered.

At that, Soering himself spoke up. "Not under oath," Soering said loudly from his seat at the defense table.

"It's not your turn to talk," said Sweeney, who turned down Neaton's request that Haysom testify immediately.

 by CNB