Roanoke Times Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: WEDNESDAY, November 29, 1995 TAG: 9511290071 SECTION: VIRGINIA PAGE: A1 EDITION: METRO SOURCE: RICHARD FOSTER STAFF WRITER DATELINE: LENGTH: Long
During his trial for the 1985 murder of his girlfriend's parents in Bedford County, Jens Soering was so eager to tell his side of the story his lawyer once admonished him to "shut up."
Now, the former University of Virginia honor student - who is serving two life terms at Keen Mountain Correctional Center in Buchanan County - has written a book-length autobiography and published it on the Internet.
"Mortal Thoughts" offers a detailed view of Soering's fatal attraction to ex-lover Elizabeth Haysom, whom he says was the real killer.
Elizabeth Haysom is serving 90 years in prison for conspiring with Soering to kill her parents, Derek and Nancy Haysom.
Soering unveiled the cyberbook through a news release Tuesday. He also said he is filing an appeal to the state Supreme Court within the next few weeks on the grounds that his constitutional rights were violated by poor legal representation, among other things.
Describing his first meeting with Elizabeth Haysom, a fellow Jefferson Scholar at the university, Soering recalls that they went up to a hilltop where a sign read, "Danger! High Voltage!"
It should have been a warning, Soering writes.
He describes the first time he saw her, at UVa's freshman orientation:
"Her blue-gray-green eyes turned back to the crowd, measuring everyone coolly from beneath the fringe of short, unkempt, dirty-blonde hair. One leg was cocked to the side, one hand rested on its hip, and the other hand slowly brought a cigarette to her lips for a long addict's drag."
That first meeting fueled his fascination for the older, more worldly-wise Haysom, who bragged of a past that included crime, drug abuse and bisexuality.
Explaining how she mesmerized him and others, Soering writes, "Our parents and teachers had sheltered us too perfectly from lesbians and anarchists, so we thirsted desperately for Elizabeth's knowledge of such delicious dangers."
Soering writes, "I just cannot remember a happier time in my life" than the first months of their budding romance in 1985. He portrays himself as an innocent seduced by the wily Haysom, whom he says was an object of desire for many.
Haysom's initial sexual pursuit of him was "far too much for my virgin nerves to handle," but within days the two were "like rabbits," Soering writes in sometimes explicit detail.
Writing of an idyllic day spent on the Blue Ridge Parkway in each other's arms, he recalls Haysom's Svengali-like thrall over him: "I remember feeling blessed to be loved by a girl as wonderful as Elizabeth and blessed to be allowed to love her."
Eventually, he writes, Haysom told him stories of sexual abuse by her parents and wrote him letters in which she wondered if she could kill them by voodoo. Now, he says, he doesn't believe the stories, and at the time, he didn't take her threats seriously.
Their relationship had built to a crescendo by March 1985, when the two took a trip to Washington, D.C. Soering says she confessed she was using heroin.
Claiming debt to a drug dealer, he writes, Haysom said she had to make a drug run but needed Soering to stay in Washington to establish her alibi.
When she returned many hours later, she was wearing different clothes and looked disheveled.
And then, he writes, her murder confession poured out.
"I cannot think. I cannot think about Derek and Nancy Haysom lying dead in their home in Lynchburg - I dare not think of that horror. I cannot think of Liz's actions - I dare not think of how that blood got on her forearms."
Soering says his ex-lover killed her parents, but he took the rap for her.
Thinking he would be extradited to Germany, where he would serve only a short sentence for murder, Soering said he and Haysom relaxed.
They banished the murders "to a far distant past which no longer concerned us, and when we mentioned them at all, we called them 'our little nasty.' Nothing seemed to threaten the happiness of our shared future."
But pressure from the investigation led Soering and Haysom on an around-the-world spree that ended in their extradition from London, where they were jailed on charges of check fraud. Soering says that's the only illegal act he committed.
Haysom says Soering alone murdered her parents.
One of the key pieces of evidence that convicted Soering was a bloody sockprint found in the Haysom house that forensic experts said matched his foot.
In his appeal, Soering claims to have experts who have analyzed the evidence and say that the print matches Haysom's foot size and could belong to either of them.
Now hopeful about regaining his freedom, Soering says he is in a relationship with a woman he describes only as "a human rights activist" from the Roanoke Valley-Bedford County area.
A major argument in his appeal is the fact that his former defense attorney, Rick Neaton, has been suspended from practice by the Michigan Attorney Disciplinary Board. A former client complained that Neaton misrepresented him and neglected his duty as an attorney.
Soering says Neaton was suffering from emotional stress during his trial and that prevented him from providing adequate defense.
Among his other contentions, Soering says Bedford County Circuit Court Judge William Sweeney should have excused himself from the case because he was acquainted with the victims. Sweeney said at the time that he did not know the Haysoms very well and it wouldn't interfere with his ability to render a fair judgment.
Neaton, Sweeney and other key players in the murder case could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Haysom is serving her sentence at Goochland Correctional Center for Women, where she works in the law library and has been described as a model prisoner. She recently was turned down for parole.
Looking back on the murders and his torrid affair with Haysom, Soering writes, "My first eighteen years, before Elizabeth, were comfortable but joyless; and all the years after our arrest have been hell. So that counterfeit love of Liz's, that poisonous fruit really was the best of times for me. And the worst of times, too."