One of Jens Soering’s most frequent allegations is that he was denied access to a lawyer when being held for questioning in London. This is a recurring theme of his story and represents a significant aspect of his extensive catalogue of lies, the allegation to be found scattered throughout his writing and interviews. To repeat just the most recent example, he said this to Amanda Knox:
Soering: “And here’s the irony. If they had let me see my lawyer, my lawyer would have said, “Guess what, Jens, your father’s status as a consular diplomat does not actually protect you,” and then I would have said, “Oops,” and I almost certainly would have told the truth; and on June the 7th I actually told the cops what I was gonna do…
There were nine interrogations over four days [note: there were seven, which included one about fraud offences] and all without counsel…
…the only way to ensure that a confession really is voluntary is to actually to follow the damn law and give the suspect a lawyer, that’s all they had to do in my case; all they had to do was follow the law…
…but I’m not the first person who broke the law here. The first person who broke the law was the cops who did not give me the lawyer that I was entitled to and that I asked for many, many, many times.”
A closely related issue deserving mention once again in this context is the contribution of Dr Andrew Griffiths, discussed at length in a previous post. It was noted then that his 2016 report has never been published, but there was possibly an indication of its contents in the revised version of The Soering Case Made Simple! (The Confession, page 18/93, PDF numbering). In that document Soering quotes what he says is a short extract from Griffiths’ report. As with anything he writes, its accuracy cannot be assumed, but so far as relevant here he claims the following:
Soering: “In particular, Dr. Griffiths faulted the police for denying me access to my attorney throughout the four days that I was questioned: “The fact that legal protocols appear to have been breached meant that Soering did not receive the appropriate legal advice…””
Legal protocols breached by whom, may we ask?
This is getting more interesting. If that quote is in fact accurate it is untrue and without any foundation, which would be a big step in the direction of a serious libel and the Gothic facade of the Royal Courts of Justice in London, the small entrance disguising a cavernous interior, home to the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court, among others. (The more famous criminal courts of the Old Bailey are situated just a little further down the road.)
During the four days of Soering’s questioning in London, no legal protocols were breached, and any allegation to the contrary by the discredited Andrew Griffiths may yet have unwelcome consequences for him in court before the piercing scrutiny of a red judge.
So now it’s time to demolish those particular lies once and for all.
For the sake of clarity and manageable length it is preferable to stick to one topic at a time, so this post is intended to deal only with the false allegation that Jens Soering was ever denied access to a lawyer or to legal advice. It therefore follows that there will be relatively little about the actual murders themselves, which is quite deliberate. That is a big subject in itself, needing to be covered separately in future posts.
The truth is that Soering was never for a moment denied access to a lawyer, and this is reinforced by the fact that Elizabeth Haysom did request assistance from their solicitor, Keith Barker, who was present for her until she chose to continue without him on the final day, 8 June 1986. This was actually verified by Barker himself in his 1995 affidavit, which was clearly designed to assist Soering’s case, but in reality it only served to reveal the truth of the matter:
Barker: “After the initial Magistrates’ Court hearing I recollect that I went to the cells where my clients were held before they were taken away and I said to both of them that they were to answer no questions without me being present.
…I believe I also telephoned and spoke to the then Chief Superintendent and I asked to be present when [Jens Soering] was interviewed and I believe that I was told that Mr. Soering had signed the custody record as not wanting a Solicitor present.
I was in the police station on 6th June and 7th June when I was present for interviews with Miss Haysom.”
In the circumstances they were given very sound advice by Barker, which Soering promptly disregarded. It can be seen on the original police custody record that the information provided by the Chief Superintendent was correct. After they arrived at Richmond police station from court at 12.50 pm on 5 June 1986, Elizabeth Haysom requested a solicitor, which was her right. Jens Soering, by contrast, signed the custody record to affirm that “I do not want a Solicitor at this time”:
During his interviews with investigators in London, Soering admitted murdering Derek and Nancy Haysom and provided full details of what happened. In the end the only thing he refused to speak about was the knife he took with him to their home because he felt that premeditation could be inferred from such an admission.
However, he was also slippery and evasive at times, making it hard to discern exactly what he thought he was doing. He always knew he was at serious risk of being returned to Virginia and executed, and expressed that fear explicitly. But still he admitted what he’d done, albeit tentatively, in stages. He appeared to think that what he said in London was in some way provisional and wouldn’t necessarily count against him when he was back in Virginia, despite the terms of the Miranda warning. There were times when he would make admissions only when the tape recorder was turned off, a request he made on numerous occasions, seemingly in the belief that if those admissions were not on tape they were somehow “off the record.” He knew, and acknowledged, that he needed legal advice, but thought it could wait until some indeterminate point in the future, most likely upon his return to the United States. He hoped to be tried in Germany, but had no good reason to believe that was going to happen.
One very plausible explanation arises for Jens Soering’s detailed confessions, although it does involve an element of speculation. There is no doubt that he believed investigators had much more solid evidence linking him to the house and the murders (sufficient to convict him) than they actually possessed at that time. It may well be that by confessing he felt he could give an account which also mitigated his culpability, thereby reducing the sentence. It’s a little-known feature of the case which will benefit from careful examination in due course.
It also became apparent that certain elements of what passed for his legal knowledge came from watching American cop shows of the 1970s and 1980s like Kojak and Cagney & Lacey. So if, in summary, his understanding sounds muddled and incoherent – undeniably it was. That’s the product of an inflated ego, thinking you know it all at the age of 19, and then making the reckless decision to go it alone. One of the occasional moments of humour in this case came in The Wrongful Conviction Podcast with Jason Flom. Flom said:
“So, here you had a guy, you were actually the smartest guy in the room…”
The smartest guy in the room? He really wasn’t, not by a long way.
Gardner: “Do you understand the Miranda?”
Soering: “Yes, I’ve seen it and heard it on almost every episode of Cagney & Lacey, Hill Street Blues, and all those other programmes.”
Soering: “[…] I don’t know if it enters here at all, but plea bargaining has a lot to do with … you plea bargain by going guilty on different or lesser offense or something like that.”
Gardner: “How do you have knowledge of this?”
Soering: “Cagney & Lacey, Kojak, etc., all right.”
Beever: “Back to them again.”
Soering: “Well, I mean …”
Two things often seen mentioned in the interviews are the British caution and the American Miranda warning (or Miranda rights), so it may be helpful to set out exactly what is meant by those terms. They are similar in purpose, although the Miranda warning is considerably longer. One or the other will be given to criminal suspects in their respective jurisdictions as notification of their rights when being questioned by police.
The wording of the British caution was in fact amended and expanded in 1995, but that has no application here. At the time of Jens Soering’s arrest in 1986 the initial caution was this:
“You do not have to say anything unless you wish to do so, but what you say may be given in evidence.”
Upon being arrested and taken to a police station, a suspect would also then be advised of his or her right to free legal advice from a solicitor, and given a written notice to that effect, receipt of which was acknowledged by signing the custody record (seen in the example above).
The American Miranda warning derives its name from the case of Ernesto Miranda and the 1966 decision of the US Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966). The precise words used may vary slightly from one state to another, but the warning Soering received was as follows:
“Before we ask you any questions, it is my duty to advise you of your rights.
You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say will be used against you in a court of law.
You have the right to the presence of an attorney before making a statement.
If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you by the court at no cost to you.
You have the right to stop answering at any time during the questioning.
I have had the above statement of my rights read and explained to me and fully understand these rights. I waive them freely and voluntarily, without threat or intimidation and without any promise of reward or immunity.”
He was then asked to sign the Miranda form to confirm that those rights had been read to him. On the first two occasions he declined to sign the form, but did so on each subsequent occasion.
Since he was being interviewed in England about murders committed in the United States, Soering repeatedly received the British caution and the Miranda warning while in London, as will be seen below.
The following details are taken either from available records or from interview transcripts for the specified dates.
5 JUNE 1986
The US Miranda warning and UK caution were given to Soering, but he declined to sign the Miranda form.
There is no audio and, at Soering’s request, contemporaneous notes were not taken. He made no relevant admissions.
The US Miranda warning and UK caution were given to Soering, but he again declined to sign the Miranda form.
As before, there is no audio and, at Soering’s request, contemporaneous notes were not taken. However, after being confronted with the letters he began his confession and extensive notes were written up immediately afterwards.
The US Miranda warning and UK caution were given to Soering, and this time he signed the Miranda form. The interview was taped, subject to periods when he was not willing to make certain admissions while the tape was running (and see below).
He admitted driving the rental car back to Lynchburg from DC. Elizabeth knew why he was going. They had discussed it beforehand but neither of them was truly clear about what was going to happen. He arrived at Loose Chippings, the Haysoms’ home, after dark on the Saturday evening. Derek Haysom answered the door. Nancy Haysom was upstairs and then came down while they were having a drink. Jens left soon after the argument.
Initially he found it hard to talk to investigators about the fight itself and the murders, and at that stage was unwilling to say directly whether he had cut them both with a knife.
Although not strictly necessary for the present topic of lawyers and legal advice, there is one short sequence of questions and answers from the first day which is too revealing to leave out here.
Soering had explained that he removed his blood-stained clothes and threw them away, which is why, when he returned to Washington DC, he was wearing Derek Haysom’s sweater and the “bloody sheet” Elizabeth Haysom described in her testimony. There is, of course, a compelling inference to be drawn from the admission that he had removed and discarded his jeans, and its significance was not lost on Ken Beever.
A suitably incisive question doesn’t need to be complicated. Frequently it just needs to follow logically from the information already provided. In this instance Beever’s memorable question shone a bright light on the truth.
From the transcript, 5 June 1986, towards the end of the interview:
Beever: “That would mean that you arrived back at D.C. with no trousers on, wouldn’t it?”
Soering: “Um … Yea, there should be a video tape of the elevator in the Marriott that evening, which does show me without my trousers on because that’s in fact what happened.”
Beever: “You went back to the Marriott Hotel?”
Having driven down into the Marriott’s underground parking garage, Jens discarded the bloody counterpane and then faced the problem of getting back to their room wearing only underpants below the waist. To assist with this, Elizabeth gave him her overcoat to put on. They took the elevator from the parking garage directly to the floor on which they were staying and managed to get back to their room without anyone seeing him. That was lucky because he must have been an odd sight in an overcoat and bare legs, one that a casual observer would quite possibly have remembered.
However, many parts of the Washington Marriott were covered by a network of security cameras, and both Jens and Elizabeth were very aware of them. He believed, probably correctly, that those cameras would have captured him as he walked bare-legged from the elevator to their room. What he didn’t know in London was that the Virginia authorities had seen no reason to seize and view the tapes. By the time they were alerted to this valuable evidence it was too late: the recordings were gone, the tapes having been used over and over again by the hotel (or thrown away). His damaging admission to the detectives was one he need not have made. It did, nevertheless, provide further corroboration of Elizabeth Haysom’s account.
The interview continued –
Gardner: “You drove all the way from Lynchburg to Washington, from Loose Chippings to Washington, with no britches on, no trousers?”
Beever: “Did you have an injury that night?”
Soering: “I … I’m sorry …”
Beever: “You can’t answer that question?”
Soering: “I …“
Beever: “Sorry, let me finish, when you threw away your trousers and your windcheater away that night, did you have an occasion to throw a knife away or a weapon away?”
Soering: “Um … I … I’m really afraid of answering that question and …“
Gardner: “Would you like to stop for the night?”
Soering: “Ah …“
Gardner: “Stop for tonight and we’ll pick it up again in the morning.”
Soering: “Yea, … I’m … I’ve got some questions … um … um …“
Beever: “If you want to ask some questions, fire away.”
Soering: “Ah … I’d like to speak to someone in the morning.”
Soering: “Ah, before I come back here.”
Soering: “Um … I’d …”
Gardner: “Somebody being … ah … to whom … to whom are you referring?”
Soering: “Well, for some reason my father pops into my head … but ah … I think I need to talk to somebody … I …“
The interview concluded at that point. When he said he’d like to speak to someone he could easily have asked that his lawyer be present the next day, but didn’t. However, the following morning he wanted to call the West German embassy and was allowed to do so. After speaking to an official at the embassy Soering requested a further interview.
6 JUNE 1986
The US Miranda warning and UK caution were given to Soering, who signed the Miranda form and said he was willing to talk.
Gardner: “Would you care to voice your opinions?”
Soering: “I would at a later point.”
Soering: “But I don’t think that … I think that would come into the general set of feelings I have or had towards Mr and Mrs Haysom. Back to the question of what I told in previous interviews has been true. All right? That certain questions I avoided answering and did not answer … all right? For two reasons: a) I find it difficult to talk about them; b) they are questions that I think I should answer only in the presence of an attorney.”
Soering: “At a later point.”
Soering: “All right? The things I tell you are the truth, particularly in the last interview, and interviews before there may be other points similar to the ones about Elizabeth’s relationship to her parents that I do not remember right now which are not true. What I will want to point out is that information I told you about my personal feelings, my background, all right? And philosophically, OK? This is in relation to whether there was any cult involvement on my part.”
Soering: “And what I told you about Elizabeth…”
Soering: “… is that, that was the truth. All right.”
Soering: “And as I said, that can be verified in so far as that I’ve spread papers all over Lovett and UVA and taken courses in all these subjects and, you know, read beyond what was necessary for this subject because I was interested in them. All right? Is there other points that you want me to bring up, that you want me to clarify or correct from the previous interviews?”
Beever: “Before we go any further, he did mention to us, he said he might want to clarify on points that he’s missed out in the past, in the presence of an attorney, at a later date. Near enough … those were the words you used.”
Beever: “Yes, I understand that, so let’s take it at this stage of the proceedings, during this interview, you are quite happy for this interview to take place without that attorney, but you are requesting for your attorney to come to you later on today. Is that correct?”
Soering: “I don’t think that … I can’t … depending on how this interview goes, I don’t see any need for an attorney right now, OK, today. We’ll have to see how this interview goes and what happens during this interview. I can’t tell right now.”
Gardner: “OK. I want you to remember that, on the questions I asked you, it says you have the right to stop answering any time during the questions.”
Soering: “I’m aware of that right now.”
Gardner: “You know that.”
Gardner: “So, just as yesterday, if we ask you a question and you’d prefer not to answer that question, just say “I’m not going to answer that question”.”
Soering: “All right, all right.”
Beever: “… What we can discuss that we haven’t discussed before, and if you choose to answer, to answer the question .. were there any discussions between you and Elizabeth between December and that weekend in Washington, DC? That’s an entirely separate question.”
Soering: “Right, OK. I think it would be better for me not to answer that question at this time.”
Beever: “Quite. I understand.”
Soering: “Because I think we’re … we are talking about premeditation there and...“
Beever: “You’re taking advantage of your rights and I understand … that’s finished, I won’t ask the question again.”
Soering: “I think that’s something that I will discuss, obviously, once I have an attorney present and I know in which country this is going to be tried. All right?”
It can be seen quite clearly that Soering was not being put under pressure. On the contrary, his rights had been pointed out to him again by both Gardner and Beever, and he felt able to look after himself. Note that he chose to skip over a question which might have implied premeditation on his part, and he was not pressed on the matter at that time.
Soering: “Right. And I’m going to repeat now what I said yesterday. To me, that question is highly suspicious and it sounded like some form of entrapment and I don’t want to answer that unless I have a solicitor present.”
Soering: “And that’s … I’m not casting aspersions on you, as purely to protect myself.”
Beever: “Ah, going on from that, that’s only answering the first half of that statement. If I was to say to you now, did you commit voodoo acts on Mr and Mrs Haysom’s dead bodies, how would you answer that question?”
Soering: “You’re a very smart man. Amm. Congratulations. Ah, I think the best thing for me to do at this point on the record … I have answered that question off the record, I’m not going to answer it on the record … for the same reasons I described above.”
Wright: “No, it’s your right, Jens.”
Soering: “I mean, I know exactly what you’re trying to do and it’s very well done, but I can’t do it.”
Beever: “Understood. Let’s go on then. Ah, towards the end of the yesterday evening … I am speaking from memory because I’ve got no record in front of me … you openly admitted to us regarding the removal of your clothing on the return journey to Washington, DC in the hire car.”
Soering: “Um hmmm.”
Beever: “If I remember correctly, you said you were wearing a silver windcheater, as we call it in England.”
Beever: “And a pair of jeans. And you said that you disposed of them separately in trash cans. Is that one of the occasions when you were telling us the truth yesterday?”
Soering: “That’s a question which I don’t think I’m going to answer.”
Beever: “Ah, going on from that then, ah.”
Soering: “Could I answer off tape?”
Beever: “That’s for Mr Gardner to decide.” [Several voices speak together.]
Gardner: “Are you requesting we turn it off?”
Gardner: “OK. You may turn the tape off, OK.”
THE TAPE IS TURNED OFF.
THE TAPE IS TURNED ON.
Gardner: “OK, Jens, of course we’ve turned the tape back on and we were talking and you were giving an explanation of why you wish to answer some questions and refuse to answer others. Go ahead.”
Soering: “Right, at this point in time, I am answering all the questions I am answering that Mr Gardner, officers Beever and Wright are putting to me truthfully. They are … I will answer all questions that I feel will not negatively affect my case, I will answer truthfully. All questions that I feel may affect negatively and that I need the advice of a solicitor on, I will not answer at all. I will not lie, I will not answer at all because at this point I feel fairly convinced that any statement I make will be checked out several dozen times to make absolutely sure that it’s the truth. Therefore it would be very stupid for me to lie. I’m not going to do that therefore and, ah, do you want me to add in the bit why I … it is important to me to be truthful?”
Gardner: “Sure. OK.”
Soering: “I made statements off the record to Officer Wright which, I mean, yes, one would have to say that they concern a part of the case which I’m not going to discuss on the record at this point but which will probably will work out to be in my advantage. They can be substantiated in court, therefore it is important to me to be truthful and so that officer Gardner and officer Reid investigate that part of the investigation to the best and fullest of their ability in the confidence that I am telling the truth which in fact I am doing. If I feel that there are certain questions which I can’t answer truthfully at this point without incriminating myself I will not answer them. I will not lie.”
Soering: “All right?”
Beever: “Earlier on in that rather lengthy explanation you said that you had an off-record conversation with officer Wright.”
Beever: “You mean…”
Soering: “Gardner. Sorry. I apologise.”
Beever: “Would you clarify that.”
Soering: “Yes, I had an off the record conversation with officer Gardner which I’ll say that too, it ties in with another … it is part of another off the record conversation which I had with all three officers about part of the investigation which I believe I have some knowledge of, which they did not have.”
Gardner: “OK. Let me ask you something while we are sitting here. Have we in any way threatened you at any time in the last two days, have we threatened you with any bodily harm? … OK, you say no … you’re shaking your head no … OK.”
Beever: “I think it’s fair you should answer that question, Jens.”
Soering: “Yes, I think I’ll have to be fair on that one. No, I have not been threatened physically.”
Soering: “It’s just that you know … it’s one of those things … ah, forget it.”
Gardner: “Well, the point I’m making...”
Soering: “Yeah, I mean yes, these statements have not been forced out of me.”
Gardner: “I mean, we’re not holding a gun to your head and telling you that if you don’t talk to us that we’re going to shoot you or offering you bodily harm, and the point I’m making is that you have had the Miranda, which I have to by our law advise you of your rights. And you have the right to remain silent. And the point I’m making here is that you are doing that freely and voluntarily of your own free will. And that’s the point I’m making. And that, are you doing that freely and voluntarily of your own free will?”
Soering: “Um hmmm.”
Gardner: “Without any threat or intimidation?”
Soering: “Without threat or intimidation.”
Gardner: “OK. Going … just continuing on … let’s keep this thing rolling if we can … I’m sure that’s agreeable with everyone here. Uh, yesterday we talked to you three times and I think I’ve covered this. But I want to make sure it’s … all bases are touched. The second interview we were talking about … well let’s just basically sum it up. The first interview we got a background from you and then you went back downstairs, you came back, we advised you of your Miranda and you elected to talk to us again. Ah, at a certain [word missing] in the interview, or at the end of the interview where we cut it off, you said you wanted to talk to the … make a phone call to the West German Embassy, or is it German Embassy?”
Soering: “Well, West German, all right?”
Gardner: “Does that make no difference – German or West German?”
Soering: “West German.”
Gardner: “OK. West German Embassy. And also you wanted to talk to, speak with a solicitor, OK. At which time you went downstairs. OK. I think these two gentleman took you downstairs and told the Desk Sergeant, I believe, that you wished to come back and talk to us further.”
It should be pointed out that Gardner was mistaken there when he said that Soering wanted to speak with a solicitor. The previous day he said that he’d like to speak to someone in the morning, and his father popped into his head, not a solicitor/attorney. See above: 5 June, interview 3.
Soering: “Um, hum. Right.”
Gardner: “OK. But did you make that statement?”
Soering: “Well, that’s on the record. That’s right.”
Beever: “You also signed … we got you to sign that record.”
Wright: “I was also present after the phone call to the Embassy …”
Soering: “Well, nobody was there, right.”
Wright: “… when Jens asked me if he could come up and speak with us.”
Gardner: “OK. All right, I’m going to ask you some questions now in reference to our conversations yesterday and that are point blank questions. Yesterday, Jens, you did not deny being at the Haysoms’ residence, which is called or referred to as Loose Chippings, the night of the … of the death of the Haysoms. Do you still stick by that statement?”
Soering: “The statement that I do not deny being there?”
Gardner: “Well, matter of fact, you said you were there that night.”
Soering: “Did I? I think … it’s going to make the three of you angry, but I think for now I will actually like to correct that statement and leave that as another question that I don’t want to answer here affirmatively or negatively.”
Gardner: “OK … Detective Wright is leaving the room there.”
Beever: “And I make the time 1.38, I beg your pardon, the time is 12.38.”
Gardner: “OK. Are you getting hungry? It’s about lunchtime. Would you like to go eat, or …”
Soering: “I’m fine … I haven’t eaten since yesterday lunch, but I’m not hungry today.”
Gardner: “… go to the rest room?”
Soering: “I’m fine.”
Gardner: “OK. But in fact, we have it on tape, and I think Sergeant Beever will back me on this, that you frankly admitted to being there that night.”
Soering: “I admitted to being there Saturday night.”
Gardner: “When in fact …“
Beever: “Can I cut in on you there? It is fairly important. Mr Wright has just come back in at 12.39 approximately and we’ve been told that the Embassy are returning their call to Jens here. It’s important that you … that he does speak to…”
Wright: “I can get that transferred to here and put it on the custody record. The Custody Officer can transfer it up here.”
Beever: “Let him make his … yes, put the phone call through to this interview room then, please.”
Gardner: “OK, and we’ll turn the tape off. Because you do want to speak with the Embassy.”
THE TAPE IS TURNED OFF.
THE TAPE IS TURNED ON.
Gardner: “OK, Jens, you just concluded talking to the West German Embassy.”
Soering: “Right, do you want to know what he said?” [The conversation had taken place in German.]
Gardner: “Well, you don’t have to tell me what was said.”
Wright: “Can I just butt in at this point and say that having had that phone call it might be an important thing to just have it on tape to remind him of his rights. Agreed that he’s still under caution as far as English law goes, and whatever you’d like to say about yours.”
Gardner: “Any time we take a little break like that … like after that phone call …I’m glad we caught that … you do have the same rights you had all along. But you were discussing with me the possibility of you being tried in another country, is that what you …“
Soering: “Well, we’ve discussed this before … I don’t see how it has any … I’m working from the assumption right now that I will be tried. All right. And I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t tell you that there are obvious preferences for me as to countries to be tried in. Ah, I was told that if the United States does not ask for me to be extradited that I will be deported to Germany and upon request of the United States tried for this crime there, but that if America … or Virginia … asks for me to be extradited to America, it’s a question of British law on whether I’ll get extradited, and … ah … I just wanted to ask whether any of this … if we need to discuss any of this with the District Attorney and whether we can discuss what you talked to him about with me.”
Wright: “I think that was an unfair question to put to Mr Gardner, because he’s here as a police officer, and when you start talking about the complexities of the British and American and German law, and whatever he has discussed with the District Attorney of Virginia, really is not the consideration. The consideration in these interviews is to investigate the alleged crime.”
Soering: “Right. OK.”
A little while later Soering wanted to know if the detectives had asked all the questions they wanted to ask about the previous interviews. Gardner replied:
Gardner: “I can’t think of any right now. It’s obvious that you’re not going to answer any question at this point … and it just hit me what I was wanted to say while you were on the phone … that’s, it’s obvious that you’re not going to answer any questions that you feel could put jeopardy on yourself or jeopardise yourself, and you’re not, so you said, until you speak with a counsellor, excuse me, a solicitor, or an attorney in the United States. Is that what you are saying?”
Soering: “Well, I will not discuss the points you just mentioned and I won’t give physical evidence until I am interviewed by you with an attorney of the country in which the trial will be held … apparently at this point is still in question … to some extent.”
Gardner: “Yes. Yes.”
Soering: “At least I hope so. So, you know…”
Beever: “Would you think there was a ninety nine percent chance. The fact that the crime was committed in America, and you have an American D.A., and an American investigator here, you would think there was a very good chance that the authorities would go for extradition to the USA in this case? If you were charged, or if proceedings were started, you understand that?”
Soering: “Yes, I understand the question. I didn’t know there was a D.A. here.”
Beever: “There is a D.A. here available who we can speak to and seek guidance as regards the investigation and as regards the law.”
Beever: “If that is the case, let’s get down to brass tacks now. The strong likelihood is that we are going to seek … or the people from the United States … are going to seek extradition to the USA. You have got to face facts, haven’t you, and say that is the strong likelihood. Does that assist you in considering your position in this office today?”
Soering: “Not really, because if I work from the assumption that I will probably be extradited to the United States, then I would only be answering the questions in the presence of an American attorney, whoever he may be, and you know he’s not here now, so you know...”
Beever: “Are you at this stage, again … let’s get this absolutely clear so we can comply with Miranda … are you asking for an attorney at this precise moment?”
Soering: [Long pause] “I, ah…”
Beever: “Let me be more fair with you. If you asked me now in London at quarter past one, nearly, in the afternoon, and you’re asking me for an American attorney, or asking Mr Gardner for an American attorney, that’s a fairly impossible task, isn’t it? Are you asking for the attorney who represented you in court yesterday? Do you want somebody here to talk to and to represent you? There’s one or two things I want to remind you of before you go downstairs, because this is the wisest move now. Number one, I want you to remember that you discussed sentences in various countries with us and we know … and don’t let’s beat about the bush, you fear trial in the United States because you fear the death sentence. You have said that to us.”
Gardner: “Would you speak up, please.”
Gardner: “I’ll just move this over here.”
Beever: “You have told us earlier on that you obviously fear the death sentence. The expression you used was, “if I’m convicted in there, they’ll plug me into the wall”.”
Soering: “Well, I said that because as far as I know in Virginia there still is a death penalty.”
This now returns us to the interview section already seen in the previous post, Killing for Love and the Doctored Audiotapes, Part 1.
7 JUNE 1986
The US Miranda warning and UK caution were given to Soering, and he signed the Miranda form.
Gardner: “Uh huh. And then you discussed first degree murder.”
Soering: “Well, I don’t know what these mean, see, until asking.”
Gardner: “And you discussed second degree murder and then manslaughter, I believe.”
Soering: “I didn’t know that was actually something that existed.”
Gardner: “All right then, you have voluntarily and involuntarily manslaughter.”
Soering: “I didn’t know that.”
Gardner: “Now I think I’m going to stop right there, because I don’t think that I am educated enough and that it’s in fact is my responsibility to inform you of that, OK. I think that is an issue that you should take up with your solicitor.”
Gardner: “American solicitor. In fact if that is forthcoming, you understand what I’m saying. If it needs to go that far. At which time you will be told of … that you are charged with something.”
Soering: “Right. I’m sorry if I’m making you uncomfortable [inaudible]…”
Soering was supplied with food at this point.
Wright: “Can I ask…”
Gardner: “Can we just take a break?”
Wright: “Cause he’s eating food.”
Gardner: “OK, I’m going to end. Cut the tape off here. It’s now 2.34.”
THE TAPE IS TURNED OFF.
THE TAPE IS TURNED ON.
Gardner: “OK, Jens, you have eaten your lunch. And we have just been sitting here talking, the three of us.”
Gardner: “And we’ll just pick back up from where we were before. Now, if you would just repeat … you know, or just go over what you just got through saying there. It’s, by the way, the time is 3.26 on June 7th.”
Soering: “Well, what I was saying was that, like I said before, was that I’d like to speak with either officers Gardner or Reid in America in the presence of an American attorney to explain my role more fully than I have at this time, because there are certain questions during these interviews which I have refused to answer which I could answer under advice of an American attorney. And an American attorney is not going to be provided for me here for obvious reasons.”
Gardner: “Do you object to us or have you objected talking to us without an American attorney so far?”
Gardner: “Yes, to answer your question … I’m going to answer your question and then I want you to go back and repeat what you said just before I turned the tape back on ’cause you were just chatting, Sergeant Beever and yourself. We were just sitting here listening. To answer your question, yes, you will have the opportunity and you will have the opportunity to, if the occasion arises, to get back together...”
Soering: “Uh huh.”
Gardner: “In Virginia, with an attorney present. One that I’ve said before either you hire or one that the court appoints for you. And I’ll be happy to sit down and at that time and talk to you about your involvement.”
Soering: “Uh huh.”
Gardner: “Now before I turned the tape back on, you made the statement something like, “you three know what I’ve done”, basically that’s what you said, right?”
Soering: “All right, fair enough. Umm, well, if there are going to be no proceedings against me, I will consider at that time that that becomes certain how much further information I should be passing on to officer Gardner. If proceedings are brought against me for some reason here in Britain, I would not be needing the presence of an American attorney. I would be needing the presence of a British attorney. I would then be speaking to either officers Wright and Beever or officers Wright, Beever and Gardner. All right, that’s to the question which I did, ahh, not answer earlier.”
Gardner: “OK. I just want to tell you before I turn the tape off and go over what I’ve said, and just like I’ve told you before, you know, the Miranda warning, before we started talking today at 1.21 pm. First of all you wanted to talk to us.”
Soering: “Uh huh.”
Gardner: “I mean, I’m not putting words in your mouth, I want you to tell me. You requested to have a chat, talk with us. Yes?”
Gardner: “OK, thank you. And that I advised you of your rights and you signed the waiver form.”
Soering: “Uh huh.”
Gardner: “And said that you would talk to us. Now what I was going to say is that any time you want to talk to either one of the three of us all you have to do is ask and we’ll come and talk to you.”
Soering: “And that includes any time in America, if in fact I go to America?”
Soering: “Any time prior to the trial.”
Soering: “And that would be in the presence of a solicitor?”
Gardner: “If you so desire.”
The interview concluded.
8 JUNE 1986
The US Miranda warning and UK caution were given to Soering, and he signed the Miranda form.
This interview was the longest, at 4 hours 57 minutes. He explained everything that happened and how he murdered the Haysoms.
Soering: “The first person who broke the law was the cops who did not give me the lawyer that I was entitled to and that I asked for many, many, many times.”
It shouldn’t need saying that the police are not a branch of the social services. They had very serious crimes to investigate and went about their task on that basis. At the same time, however, the records, tapes and transcripts show very clearly that Jens Soering was always treated with the utmost propriety. His rights were scrupulously respected, were read to him at the beginning of every interview, and then frequently reiterated during the interviews, as we have seen. There is even an argument to be made, whether fully justified or not, that Elizabeth Haysom was spoken to a little more sternly at some points in her interviews, although she, of course, never made any allegation that her treatment was anything but proper and correct.
The truth is that, from his perspective, Soering made many foolish errors in London, and since then he has spent 33 years attempting to blame everyone but himself for them. When he claims that he was not allowed to see his lawyer he is telling another massive lie, just one of so many. Being over 50 years old now, it’s long since time for him to grow up and take responsibility for his own actions and his own decisions, whether his fans like it or not.
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