Roanoke Times Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: FRIDAY, June 15, 1990 TAG: 9006150386 SECTION: VIRGINIA PAGE: A-1 EDITION: METRO SOURCE: MONICA DAVEY STAFF WRITER DATELINE: BEDFORD LENGTH: Long
Haysom admits she has told her share of lies.
Under cross-examination Thursday by her former boyfriend's attorney, Haysom agreed that her lies include details she has offered over the years about the day her parents were stabbed to death in March 1985.
But Haysom would not be shaken from the version she told jurors this week in Jens Soering's trial on murder charges: That Soering drove to Boonsboro and killed Nancy and Derek Haysom while she developed an alibi for him in Washington, D.C.
While Soering's attorney, Rick Neaton, worked to paint Haysom as a perpetual liar whose testimony against Soering lacked all credibility, Haysom responded with matter-of-fact, curt answers.
Neaton began question after question with the words: "It was a lie that . . . " He would follow with one or another of the fabricated accomplishments Haysom had claimed to Soering or others.
"Yes, that's correct," Haysom would reply calmly.
Neaton focused on inconsistencies in statements Haysom has made about her parents' deaths since she and Soering were arrested in London in 1986.
In an interview in June 1986, Elizabeth Haysom drew for investigators a picture of a knife she said Soering had bought before he went to kill her parents. On Wednesday, Haysom testified that she had never actually seen the knife Soering purchased in March 1985.
Pressed on the discrepancy by Neaton, Haysom said the old drawing was a lie to confuse investigators at that time. She said she made up the sketch based on a picture she saw in one of Soering's Soldier of Fortune magazines. Her testimony Wednesday, she said, had been accurate.
In 1986, Haysom said she bought two tickets and watched movies in Washington to create an alibi on March 30, 1985, while Soering was killing her parents in Bedford County. In 1987, she said she went to a bar and bought heroin while he was gone and that she did not set up his alibi in advance.
On Wednesday, the details had changed again - or at least merged. Haysom said she bought two tickets to the movies to set up Soering's alibi, but did not watch the films. Instead, she went to a bar to buy drugs.
When Neaton tried to poke holes in her story, Haysom would not back down and the pair bantered.
"You're repeating yourself," Haysom told Neaton at one point as he led her through the events of March 30, 1985.
"I'm just trying to get your story straight," Neaton responded. "I don't want to be unfair to you."
"Thank you," Haysom said dryly.
During the two-hour cross-examination of his one-time girlfriend, Soering sat on the edge of his seat and became more animated than he has at any time during the eight days of testimony.
The 23-year-old West German national whispered suggested questions to Neaton and co-counsel William Cleaveland and searched through stacks of documents to find the ones his lawyers wanted to confront Haysom with.
At one point, Neaton and Cleaveland were having trouble finding a particular reference in the defense lawyers' index of exhibits. Soering leaned over, spotted the reference, and jabbed his finger on the document.
In another method of discrediting Haysom, Neaton suggested that her testimony had been up for sale earlier in the year.
Before Soering's trial began, questions were raised by Neaton and prosecutor James Updike about the conduct of a Charlottesville lawyer who offered Haysom's "cooperation" in the case in exchange for some type of special consideration.
Haysom admitted that she authorized attorney Steven Rosenfield to approach both sides in Soering's case. But, the prosecution's star witness, who later fired Rosenfield, told the jury that as it stands now: "I do not have a deal."
Neaton suggested that Haysom might be hoping that - by testifying against her former boyfriend - she might be offered help from Updike to get transferred to a Canadian prison. Haysom denied that she had any such hope.
Haysom, a Canadian citizen serving 90 years in prison for her role in her parents' deaths, said she had no desire any longer to go to the prison in Ontario. Haysom called it a "disgusting place," and said the federal prison was to be torn down soon anyway.
In his opening statement last week, Neaton said evidence in the case would show that Haysom - not Soering - slashed the Haysoms to death in 1985.
Soering confessed to the crimes out of love for Haysom, who manipulated him into swapping stories with her, Neaton said. He said Soering's only mistake in life had been falling in love with Haysom while the two were freshmen at the University of Virginia.
Asked several times Thursday whether she was at her parents' house the night they were killed, Haysom said no.
Neaton tried to portray Haysom as someone capable of manipulating Soering into taking blame for her crimes. He asked her to read from a letter she wrote to Soering early in their relationship.
"I had always believed that I made men fall in love with me so that I could screw them physically and emotionally and take all the hatred I felt for them by humiliating them," Haysom read. "I despised their cheap lust and easy passions. And in the end, I made them hate themselves for loving me and the torture I inflicted."
"That's what you did here, isn't it?" Neaton asked after Haysom finished the letter.
After a long pause, she responded, "No, I don't think that's what I did to Jens."