Transcript of Jens Soering’s Interview with the German Prosecutor, 30 December 1986

Posted below is a PDF document containing the full 43-page transcript of Jens Soering’s interview with the German prosecutor from Bonn, Herr Koenig. This took place in the presence of his defence counsel, Dr Frieser, on 30 December 1986 at Chelmsford prison in Essex, England. It was conducted in German and subsequently translated into English. The translation was sometimes rather literal, thus making the interview sound quite stilted in places. It was later used in evidence at his 1990 trial in Virginia and translated again, on that occasion by Dr James Ogier, professor of German at a local college, and became known as the “Ogier testimony.”

The date of the interview is significant for two reasons. As covered in detail in previous posts, it was Soering’s claim at his trial that he had confessed to the murders, and affirmed and adhered to those confessions for nearly four years, because –

(1) he believed he had diplomatic immunity; and

(2) he was protecting Elizabeth Haysom from execution.

Of course, both claims are laughable, but it is vaguely possible – at a really big stretch – to understand why people who are poorly informed about the case might just find them plausible. Certainly the claims have now become articles of quasi-religious faith among his more fanatical supporters, who for reasons of their own actively choose to ignore even the most compelling evidence of his guilt.

To recap very briefly, Soering and Haysom were first arrested by detectives in London on 30 April 1986. Between then and the interview with the German prosecutor eight months had passed during which time he had every possible opportunity to enquire into his diplomatic status (apparently not having bothered to do so before). But he didn’t, and never once claimed during his detention in England to have diplomatic immunity. The reason for that is all too obvious because the idea was absurd, and he always knew it. It was a claim he made up for the very first time upon his return to Virginia, nearly four years later.

Moreover, by 30 December 1986 any purported notion of protecting Elizabeth Haysom had long since evaporated, which he also knew perfectly well, making his later claims wholly untenable. She had decided no later than October 1986 that she would return voluntarily to Virginia and face the serious charges laid against her, having by then been confronted with the terrible photographs of Soering’s handiwork in her extradition file. He admitted to psychiatrist Dr John Hamilton that he had concealed from her the full horror of what he had done:

He does not recall her asking what had happened [when he returned to Washington DC] but he assumed that she knew her parents were now dead. He then told her something of what had happened but not the whole “messiness” of it…”

Hamilton report, page 8.

So by the time of the interview with the German prosecutor Soering was on his own. Haysom had no conceivable need of any protection and was then charting her own independent course, as he knew. But still he confessed again, and in some detail, memory lapses and various evasions notwithstanding, not least about the knife he used.

This was not a young man taking the blame for Elizabeth Haysom in any kind of “false confession”. On the contrary, wherever possible he was trying in a very calculating way to shift the balance of responsibility towards her for what he had done, often relying on the cues provided in Dr Hamilton’s report. And, indeed, as he frankly admitted, his unwillingness to discuss the provenance of the knife was an attempt to avoid handing prosecutors explicit evidence of premeditation. There was no confession where that was concerned.

And the song he heard on the car radio afterwards, which he studiously avoids naming in the interview, was Psycho Killer by Talking Heads.

This is another one of the case documents his supporters never want to discuss or acknowledge. We all know why.


Soering interview with German prosecutor, 30 December 1986