Medical Experts Share Their Deep Insights
Soering: “…my new friend and supporter is John Grisham, and he told me that the main reason why, sort of, the media world is interested in this case is not me at all, it’s Elizabeth Haysom. She’s Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct and everybody likes that. She wrapped me around her finger, you know, and you have to respect that, that’s an enormous talent for manipulation. Um, wow, you know, she is, she is, as psychopaths go, she’s about the best there is. I know how to pick them. I didn’t mess around with any second-rate psychopath, I got the best psychopath out there.”
There speaks the expert psychiatric diagnosis of Dr Soering, a man who by way of qualifications has nothing to offer but a few undistinguished semesters at UVA and a complete absence of professional experience.
And what did he privately say about himself?
“…apparently I lie so naturally and so well by now… I’m even fucked up inside, and really fucked up, too. Look at this I’m writing – I’m a fucking schizo!”
“My paranoid, schizophrenic, fearful, sick side…”
“You realize that I am not quite well adjusted. Having problems with oneself always makes it difficult to love others, psychology texts tell me. At least this is the case with me.”
There’ll be no unqualified psychiatric diagnoses here, naturally, which would be quite wrong. But – well, since he raised the subject, we could take a little peek at the Hare psychopathy checklist and consider some of the most common traits of a psychopath:
“pathological lying, glib and superficial charm, grandiose sense of self, cunning and manipulative, lack of remorse or guilt, shallow emotional response, callousness and lack of empathy, parasitic lifestyle, poor behavioural controls…”
Perhaps those characteristics might conceivably fit him very well.
To return to his interview with Amanda Knox:
Soering: “[Elizabeth’s] been diagnosed with a particularly severe case of borderline personality disorder and I’ve read a lot about that, and most experts think that people with borderline personality disorder really aren’t capable of love because that’s, it’s an attachment disorder, they’re not able to form real attachments with other people, that’s their issue, that’s their problem.” (Episode 6, The Black Box.)
Everything about this case is rich with irony. He wishes to imply there that it’s Haysom who isn’t really capable of love, yet in his own letter he admits that –
“I am not quite well adjusted. Having problems with oneself always makes it difficult to love others…”
It sounds very much like psychological projection going on there.
He had also brought up her diagnosis during Jason Flom’s Wrongful Conviction podcast:
Soering: “… [Elizabeth] was later diagnosed with a very severe personality disorder, so, you know, she actually had serious mental health issues and, of course, she claimed that her mother had sexually abused her with the knowledge and co-operation of her father and, you know, there’s some indication that may have actually been true…”
Describing Elizabeth Haysom’s 32-year-old diagnosis of borderline personality disorder as “very severe” or “particularly severe” is another lie to add to the vast collection. The three signatories of the UVA forensic psychiatry clinic report added no such words – not “very”, not “particularly”, not “severe”:
Yet, as with the more sinister allegation that Haysom was a psychopath, all it needed was a simple, compelling question on Knox’s part, had she been conducting the interview in anything resembling good faith: “Jens, what is your evidence for that assertion?” As ever, nobody wishes to embarrass Soering by asking him difficult questions.
And as it happens, Haysom’s psychiatric and psychological assessments have been A1 for many years, however disappointing and distressing some people may find that. Still, every time Soering makes these malicious claims they are quietly brought to the attention of the Parole Board by Haysom’s friends in Virginia. He’s his own worst enemy, and in all these years has learnt nothing.
Martin Sheen then gave us the enormous benefit of his own expert evaluation:
Sheen: “Clearly a very disturbed young lady. She was living a very false existence. She couldn’t bear having to think of herself as remotely involved with this killing, so now she believes everything she’s saying, and she has to believe it in the corner that she’s painted because otherwise she would have to, you know, go completely mad with what she’s done. I mean, she could have saved Jens’ life, like he was trying to save hers, in a way that is so profoundly tragic. And she could have saved herself, at least spiritually, if she had been able to come to grips and accept the possibility of leading an honest life after the fact.”
There’s another completely unchallenged series of statements displaying his own knee-jerk prejudices and spectacular ignorance of the facts and evidence, the eminent Dr Sheen being someone who has never met, seen face to face, or communicated with Elizabeth Haysom. His qualifications enabling him to give that opinion? According to his Wikipedia page, he did not attend college as a young man, but in 2006 registered as a student at the National University of Ireland in Galway, and left after completing one semester. Nevertheless, he was still awarded an honorary arts doctorate, which was nice for him.
Amusingly, the New York Times reported that Democratic Party members in Ohio had contacted him in 2006, attempting to persuade him to run for the US Senate. Sheen declined, and said:
“I’m just not qualified. You’re mistaking celebrity for credibility.”
How right he was.
Knox went on to say:
“It makes me uncomfortable when people assume to know what Elizabeth is thinking and feeling.”
As it should, but then she chose to put out five hours of prejudice and palpable lies from all and sundry, so distancing herself from it all is really not an option in her case. Throughout the podcast episodes she gave everyone free rein and challenged nothing, then added her own distasteful contributions to the overall mix. That inevitably reflects poorly on her character, judgement, integrity and decency, thereby making her a valued member of the team.
With supreme irony (yet again), Amanda Knox was then captured on television upset and weeping while attending the criminal justice festival in Modena, Italy on 15 June 2019. The BBC reported:
“Amanda Knox has spoken of the pain of being tried by the media over the murder of her friend, British student Meredith Kercher, in Italy in 2007.”
At the same time she’s perfectly happy at the prospect of others being tried by the media, as long as she’s one of those making the unfounded allegations. This is nauseating hypocrisy on a grand scale for short-term gain, which will return to bite her hard in the fullness of time. But doubtless it pays well.
Knox: “[Soering] wasn’t only facing a biased courtroom and prosecution, he was up against the worst possible enemy: the one person in the whole world he’d ever loved who was now betraying him.” (Part 5, Big Crime, Small Town.)
As usual, Knox is wrong, a phrase which should be on autotype. The only betrayal, if one wishes to see it in those terms, was unquestionably Jens Soering’s. While Haysom was still refusing to co-operate with investigators, Soering had already begun confessing during his second interview on day one, 5 June 1986. This was against legal advice he’d received earlier at their joint remand hearing, after which he declined further assistance from solicitor Keith Barker. In the course of confessing he fully implicated her in the plot. Had he really wanted to protect her, as he claimed years later among his multitude of lies, he could have maintained that she was completely unaware of his actions until after he had killed her parents. He did nothing of the kind. In that sense, he betrayed her, not vice versa.
One tiny example will suffice for now, taken from the interview with detectives on 6 June 1986. Soering was asked by Investigator Ricky Gardner if Elizabeth knew that he was travelling to her parents’ home to confront them:
Gardner: “OK. Did Elizabeth know where you were going?”
Soering: “Oh yes, she knew where I was going, right.”
Not a lot of protection happening there, and he went very much further at other points, as we’ll be seeing in due course.
Two days later, on 8 June, knowing that Soering had confessed, Haysom was asked by Scotland Yard’s Ken Beever to explain why she had stayed with him after what he’d done:
Haysom: “There are a number of reasons why I stayed with him… I felt deeply responsible for what had happened. I also had huge loyalty to Jens. I love him dearly and I needed him so much, especially since I didn’t have my parents. I know that sounds odd – that I couldn’t bear the thought of betraying him and losing him as well, and at that time I also believed that he would go to the [electric] chair…”
Her later reaction was articulated when giving evidence at her sentencing hearing in 1987, seen in Killing for Love:
Haysom: “Sergeant Beever confronted me in the cell with Jens’s statement. He was very careful to tell me a couple of details about Jens’s statement. My response was one of anger that Jens had let me down – while I was continuing to cover up for him.”
Knox’s imputation is a fascinating insight into her thinking, or lack of it. Just how far should the concept of betrayal be applicable to the investigation and prosecution of such savage murders anyway? The lurking moral question appears not to have occurred to her, which is no real surprise, but this is not the place to address an issue which better belongs in a philosophy class.
Although perhaps a side issue here, Jens Soering’s willingness to dispense with the services of his solicitor, referred to above, has always looked unbelievably foolish. By contrast, Elizabeth Haysom chose to have Keith Barker there for her initial interviews, even though not the final one, which took place late at night on 8 June 1986. Soering’s prison letter of 17 July 1986 quite possibly gives a clue about the reason for his reckless decision. He implored her to “scrounge around for (1) a top-class, “our-sort-of-people”, solicitor and barrister with (a) connections in the Home Office and (b) connections in the Bow Street extradition court...” It seems reasonable to infer that he did not consider Barker to be either top class or one of “our sort of people” and consequently decided to go it alone, a decision he must have spent 33 years bitterly regretting. There is no reason whatever to think that Barker was anything other than entirely competent at his job. From Commonwealth’s exhibit #357:
Knox: “No one, to this day, can say they caught Elizabeth Haysom red-handed. No one can put a knife in her hand, and I’m the last person in the world to try. What I can say with confidence is that if Jens hadn’t been prosecuted as her co-defendant, had Elizabeth faced the murder charges alone, she likely would have been convicted on the strength of all the circumstantial evidence against her, and maybe even executed decades ago.” (Episode 6, The Black Box.)
Trying to put a knife in Elizabeth Haysom’s hand is the underlying purpose of the entire podcast, and one pathetic disclaimer does nothing to displace the concerted attempt.
It is also nonsense, whether from ignorance, stupidity or malign intention, and with however much empty confidence, to say that Elizabeth could ever have faced murder charges alone. If Soering hadn’t been prosecuted Virginia would have been left without a principal offender because the circumstantial evidence against her was virtually non-existent. Loose Chippings was her home when not residing at UVA, so finding her fingerprints there was unremarkable and just what investigators expected. The cigarette butts could not be forensically linked to her (not that it would have mattered, like the fingerprints), nor the small spots of what might or might not have been type B blood on a dry wash cloth in a closed washing machine. Nor, of course, the foot or shoe prints:
Chuck Reid: “The footprints of Elizabeth came back; they didn’t match what we had. It eliminated her; it didn’t put her in the house at the time of the homicides.” (Couples Who Kill.)
It has often been eagerly claimed that the spots of blood found in the closed washing machine were type B, but that is by no means necessarily correct. When asked by prosecutor Jim Updike, Virginia’s forensic scientist Mary Jane Burton readily acknowledged that the application of Luminol to the dry wash cloth could have prevented identification of the type A constituent of AB blood. It was Nancy Haysom who had type AB blood. The blood group on the wash cloth could not be stated with any certainty at all. Moreover, it should not be forgotten here that women of suitable age will bleed regularly without cutting or injury. Female blood sometimes has an innocent explanation.
Burton: “…I was able to identify it as human blood… And I went on to type it and I – and in typing it I identified the B factor, or Type B in the blood.”
Updike: “Can I ask this, if there can be any effect on Type AB blood when Luminol is applied to it as to the finding that you might get through the testing?”
There then followed a few minutes of legal argument about the admissibility of Burton’s evidence, which Judge Sweeney allowed after hearing representations from the prosecution and from defense counsel Richard Neaton.
She subsequently continued:
Burton: “Let’s go back to type A blood. A blood – there are different types of A blood… I do know it’s more difficult to pick up an A-2 or an A-3 on a dried stain, and particularly on a very dilute dry stain and this is not true of B, there are no sub-groups of B that I know of. And so if truly the known blood was an A-2-B, which is very possible, a very dilute strain, I would miss the A in typing it.”
Updike: “In a diluted stain under these circumstances, the A portion of an AB could be missed?”
Burton: “Could be missed.”
(Transcript, beginning at page 163, 12 June 1990.)
Jens Soering then conveniently ignores this truth in “A Scenario of How the Haysom Murders May Have Occurred”, his 24-page, laughably self-serving re-imagining of events, which is not dated, but probably written around 4-5 years ago:
Soering: “Immediately next to Nancy Haysom’s body was a half-open washing machine; inside, on the very top, was a damp (!) cloth with B type blood on it.” (Page 10.)
The washing machine was closed, not “half-open”; he has no idea where the cloth was positioned inside it; the cloth was dry, not damp; and nobody can say that the blood was type B. All in all a fine example of Soering’s taste for fiction. He just make up anything he thinks might support his story, which he repeats a few pages later:
“…next to Nancy Haysom’s body, was the half-open washing machine containing the damp rag with a spot of type B blood, Elizabeth’s type.” (Page 19.)
And what did Chip Harding then parrot in his report to the Governor?
Harding: “E. Haysom’s type B blood was found near her mother’s body...” (Page 14.)
Absolutely outrageous. He deserves a much bigger Pinocchio than this page could possibly accommodate.
What Amanda Knox reveals throughout the podcast is a persistent lack of concern for the facts and the evidence in her presentation. Following the lead of her interviewees, she twists and turns like an Olympic gymnast on meth in a desperate attempt to exculpate a guilty man, thereby hoping to turn an accessory, Elizabeth Haysom, into a principal. And while she is not alone in her mission, it nevertheless demonstrates the moral and ethical morass into which she has fallen. As a former student of Italian she might even be aware of Dante’s Eighth Circle, Malebolge – possibly.
Ultimately the pernicious rubbish here will do nothing to help Soering’s cause. What it’s far more likely to do is harden opinion against him among everyone in Virginia with a firm grip on reality, although the opposite is true of his more distant and rabid German apologists, who take delight in quoting from Knox’s podcast. However, whether they’re really the kind of fans she would want is more debatable. She has become something of a beacon for all the (admittedly few) German nationalists channelling the spirit of Julius Streicher, people who appear on the scene like vultures gleefully feeding on the corpses of the dead. To have attracted such followers might be seen as the law of unintended consequences in action.
In that respect the German language forum can be worth an occasional visit, regardless of moderators who consistently allow those few Soering fans to ignore forum rules and even the German criminal code (Strafgesetzbuch) in their comments. Many others can be found there who more faithfully reflect the modern face of their country, being intelligent, well-informed, outward-looking people. Theirs are the dominant voices in opposition to a handful of bigots, slavish in their devotion to a murderer, and shaming themselves with the ugly image of Germany they present to the world. That minority will not overcome the principled majority who have always shown themselves able to discern the truth and willing to stand up for it. Observations sometimes come with disdainful wit (as translated by Google):
“… [Jens Soering] presents himself as some kind of Messiah, makes films, writes books and even prints T-shirts. All that’s missing are little JS figures as Christmas tree decorations or something.” (Credit: ElvisP.)
Knox: “What does Elizabeth mean that things are getting further away from the truth? Why does she seem fixated on keeping Jens tethered to these murders, even as the evidence against him falls away? I don’t know, I honestly don’t know, and I think “I don’t know” doesn’t get enough credit as a reasonable answer to such a difficult question. But “I don’t know” is also unsatisfying to many, if not most, people, and so we come up with our own answers. We try to pin Elizabeth down…”
It must be very perplexing when you’re so intellectually vacuous and trying desperately to make the pieces fit into a fabricated narrative. The questions become easy to answer once an unwillingness to face unpalatable facts and evidence breaks down. Elizabeth Haysom is manifestly fixated on nothing but telling the plain truth about what happened. The delusion here is believing that the evidence against Soering is falling away. Maybe Knox should consider the stark possibility that prolonged re-investigation of the case will only serve to reinforce his obvious guilt. Maybe demanding a pardon was therefore the most ill-advised and self-defeating thing he could have done because any lingering doubts will have vanished forever.
In a fleeting show of realism Soering acknowledged during his interview that he expects his pardon petition to be rejected by the Governor of Virginia, and it’s impossible to disagree with him there. Every rational person possessing a glimmer of intelligence has the same opinion. The evidence of his guilt is entirely compelling, so pardoning a double murderer for his revolting crimes would be as bizarre as one of his sexual fantasies. Nobody fully acquainted with the actual facts of the case, stripped of the lies and distortions routinely promulgated by everyone on Soering’s team, can have any illusions about who murdered the Haysoms.
Right at the end Soering alleges that his father and brother together more or less colluded to steal his inheritance – “all my money.” So the circle finally closes: either he’s a murderer of exceptional brutality, or he’s really the poor victim, as he and Knox would have it, of a multi-level international conspiracy which now includes his own wicked family. And presumably this website. Oh, man, has anyone ever been quite so unlucky?! At one stage it seemed as if the pair of them might cry in unison for dramatic effect, violins playing softly in the background, but in the end they stopped short and spared themselves that indignity. It would never be right for such a disgusting crime to be the subject of hilarity, and it certainly isn’t, but at the same time it’s hard not to laugh at the drivel emanating from Jens Soering and his simpering acolyte.
All in all this podcast series represents a profound failure – morally, factually, intellectually, evidentially, ethically, and in every other conceivable way. In many respects it scarcely justifies the effort of writing about it in the first place, except that lies and distortion on this scale should not be allowed go unanswered in the public arena. It has nothing new to say, and every single contributor is compromised by his or her own individual record of distortion, fabrication, manipulation or omission. They have travelled so far down this disreputable road that there is no way back and no easy exit route, so they’re not really fighting for Jens Soering at all: in effect they’re desperately fighting to salvage whatever might eventually remain of their own reputations. But it’s much too late.
Now we have to trust that Parole Board members will have gained a solid grasp of the facts and the evidence in the Soering case, along with the resolve to make the appropriate recommendation to the Governor. And preferably before we all die from old age.
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