BEDFORD, VA., JUNE 19 -- Jens Soering proclaimed his involvement in the slashing deaths of Derek and Nancy Haysom the "major mistake" of his life as the defense in his murder trial rested today, but he continued to maintain he was not at the scene of the crime.

The defense finished its case after only a day and a half of testimony, most of it devoted to Soering's assertions that his former girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, the daughter of the slain couple, actually did the killing in March 1985.

The trial was recessed until Thursday so that Circuit Judge William Sweeney can preside over a sentencing in Norfolk Wednesday.

"The whole thing was illogical," the former University of Virginia honor student said of his decision to confess and spare Elizabeth Haysom from the electric chair. "I made the major mistake of my life and everything that followed was illogical . . . . {I} wish I had never done it."

Soering, 23, testifying Monday, said Elizabeth Haysom killed her parents out of hate while on drugs. Haysom testified last week she helped plot the slayings but that Soering carried them out while she developed an alibi in Washington.

Haysom, 26, is serving a 90-year prison term for being an accessory before the murders.

On Thursday, attorneys will present final arguments. The jury will then have to decide whether Soering's love for Elizabeth Haysom drove him to slash and stab the Haysoms more than four dozen times, as the prosecution contends, or whether that love led him to falsely confess.

"You will write the rest of the story," Sweeney told jurors before he recessed the court.

On Monday, Soering testified that he told authorities in England, where he and Haysom had fled, that he killed the Haysoms, figuring he would be deported to his native West Germany and receive a lighter sentence for the crimes.

Soering told the jurors: "I loved Elizabeth, and I believed the only way I could save her life from the electric chair was to take the blame. I agreed to sacrifice five years of my life to save her life."

Soering is accused of two counts of first-degree murder in the slashing deaths and if convicted faces two life terms.