BEDFORD, VA., JUNE 4 -- Elizabeth Haysom killed her parents and then persuaded Jens Soering to confess to the slayings because of his love for her, Soering's defense attorney told jurors in opening arguments today at his murder trial.
Attorney Richard Neaton told jurors in the long-awaited trial that Haysom played on Soering's affections and then persuaded him he should confess to the slayings of Derek and Nancy Haysom because, as the son of a West German diplomat, he would only be deported for the crime.
Neaton's comments to the 14 jurors from Nelson County were the first indication of the defense Soering, 23, plans to use in fighting the two first-degree murder charges against him in the 1985 stabbings.
Bedford County Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Updike had a far different version of the crime, saying evidence will be overwhelmingly against Soering.
Calling the crimes, "massive, extensive, horrendous," Updike said Soering killed the wealthy former international steel executive and his wife because they disapproved of his relationship with their daughter.
"Elizabeth had a lot of resentment and anger toward her parents," Updike argued. "She communicated that resentment to the defendant and wished they were dead."
Haysom pleaded guilty in 1987 to being an accessory to the killings and is serving a 90-year prison sentence. She is expected to testify against Soering.