I answer your questions!
In the comments under my YouTube video, as well as on various forums and blogs, questions have been asked about the requests for DNA testing, and I’d like to answer them here.
But first: A certain former lawyer from Texas commented on my YouTube video. In his July 24 blog entry, he wrote, “Söring’s argument is technically accurate!”
“Technically” is, of course, the only thing that matters in court. Long explanations follow about whether I personally can really know that all evidence items are contaminated. However, I don’t need to know that myself. Wesley Nance says it himself, and everyone can see it in the movie “The Promise“/“Killing for love.”
Moreover, contamination is only one of the three legal obstacles that make it impossible for me to file a petition. The others are the missing logbooks and the impossibility to prove my innocence with DNA tests. The ex-lawyer from Texas does not deal with these two issues at all.
Last, he claims that the podcasters take no position on the question of guilt. This is complete nonsense. Please listen to the last five minutes of the latest podcast episode, “The Decision.” Let’s keep it real, huh?
And now for your questions — and a note from me about the DNA Databank at the very end.
What Soering says about “perjury” in the video is largely nonsense: this is not about requesting investigations to reopen the proceedings. The provisions that Soering reads out are therefore not relevant at all.
The provisions that I read out are an absolute precondition for being able to file the petition at all. It is exactly the same as an application for unemployment benefits: You have to prove that you are unemployed, otherwise you cannot submit the application.
The point is that the prosecutor would release the evidence to be tested (which he has agreed to do). The DNA tests would then be privately funded.
The prosecutor does not need my signature to have the evidence to be tested. He is a prosecutor: he has full authority to have any evidence under his control tested at any time. It is not true that he has agreed to release the evidence for testing. On the contrary, he states:
I cannot proceed with a test that is likely to inject unanswerable questions into the case. (T)hese concerns were, and are, paramount in my unwillingness to request a retesting. (Nance email, July 8)
(I)t’s my concern that we would inevitably inject new completely unanswerable questions into this case. This is something I will not do. (Nance email, July 13)
“The DNA tests would then be privately funded,” you write. I would be interested to know: by whom, exactly? After all, I am supposed to give my life into the hands of these people. Would you give your life, your future, to unknown people with unknown motives?
However, Soering is right about one thing: these tests could never prove his innocence, only his guilt if his DNA is found on an object involved in the crime. And that is why he rejects such tests.
I do not reject the tests, I asked for them twice: in 2017 and in my emails to Wesley Nance on July 7 and 8.
It is true that the tests cannot prove my innocence — because the absence of DNA can never prove innocence. After all, I could still have been at the crime scene and gotten lucky.
That’s why I can’t submit the petition: It is an absolute prerequisite that the test results must prove my innocence. If they don’t, I can’t submit the application. Just like the application for unemployment benefits: You have to prove that you are unemployed, otherwise you don’t get any money.
Interestingly, this is also why Elizabeth Haysom cannot file the petition. She was convicted of murder in the first degree, as an accessory before the fact. DNA tests can’t prove she wasn’t an accessory before the fact. So she can’t file for testing.
NOBODY really NOBODY wants to push JS into perjury! The evidence , that should be tested, is the evidence where there is the highest probability that it is NOT contaminated, where the storage is traceable AND that can be used to prove JS’s innocence.
“Probability,” of course, is not enough in a court of law. Wesley Nance himself says that the evidence is contaminated and chain-of-custody was not maintained. Who am I supposed to believe? Some podcasters, or the prosecutor? And as mentioned above, the DNA tests cannot prove my innocence.
The log book thing is correct. BUT this does not concern all the traces ! In total, more than 200 items were secured at the time. Of these, some ( NOT ALL !!!) are now to be investigated. And those, which are most likely NOT contaminated, because there the chain-of-custody could be followed or because they are items which have NOT been touched for lack of interest so far. For example, the hair in the sink that was seized.
Wesley Nance clearly states that there are no log books (and therefore no provable chain-of-custody) for the evidence room. No one knows who was in the evidence room and what was touched there over 30 years. To this end, one must also understand the following: If there is no provable chain-of-custody for the evidence in the evidence room, then the test results are legally worthless — they cannot even be brought to court. In order to bring evidence — or the evaluation of evidence through DNA testing — to court, it must first be proven that chain-of-custody was and remains unbroken. This is why police officers and prosecutors are usually so meticulous about maintaining chain-of-custody. Without a provable chain-of-custody, the evidence — or the evaluation of the evidence through DNA tests — will not be admitted by the judge. That is not the case here. It is true that tests could be carried out, but then nothing could be done with the results.
The hair is really one of the most interesting evidentiary items. With today’s DNA technology, it would be possible to distinguish who it came from and what is just contamination.
According to Wesley Nance, it is impossible to distinguish which DNA came from the night of the crime and which came later:
It would be impossible to differentiate from a contamination profile and a profile that has actual evidentiary value. (Nance email, July 7)
(T)here would be no way to differentiate between a relevant profile from 1985 and a red herring from 1995, 2005, etc. (Nance email, July 11).
It is clear that Soering is afraid of this (of the hair in the sink – note). He could have been the last one to use this sink.
I was definitely excluded as a source, see lab report of February 8, 1990:
The victims were also excluded as a source, see the lab report on blood type testing, page 6 (Item #11B), which is already linked here.
This hair was never compared to Elizabeth Haysom. At my trial, the prosecutor at the time could not credibly explain why not. He said they wanted to compare my sock print — but that does not explain why the hair was not compared to Elizabeth. From the trial transcript, June 21, 1990, page 180:
Both Detective Sergeant (ret.) Richard Hudson (in an email) and my lawyer Stephen Northup (in a phone call) told me: If DNA tests show that the hair in the sink has Elizabeth’s DNA, it still would not prove her guilt — because she had been in the house a week before. So the hair doesn’t help me at all.
The evidence can be contaminated, right, but just not with Soering’s DNA. If his DNA would be found on an object involved in the crime (e.g. clothes of the victims) then this would prove his guilt even for people like you, who ignore the whole load of other evidence for inexplicable reasons.
That’s logically correct — but it’s also exactly what makes it impossible for me to file the petition! Under the statute, I can apply for the DNA tests only if they prove my “actual innocence.” If tests can only prove my guilt, I cannot submit the petition.
Such an investigation would also have potential to acquit Soering. Namely, if another DNA would actually be found that is NOT contaminated and does NOT belong to Soering. So the petition very well meets ALL the criteria to request new investigations WITHOUT Soering committing perjury.
It is not true that my innocence would be proven if the DNA of other perpetrators were identified: e.g. the DNA of William Shifflett or Robert Albright on the beer cans. I could still have committed the crime, along with those two accomplices.
You say yes, Elizabeth did it. She has blood type B, correct? Then the blood type 0, from the unidentified person (for example, from police officers who at that time were somewhat careless, according to Terry Wright) is completely irrelevant. It says nothing about her innocence, but only that care was not taken with the evidence.
There was type B blood found at the scene, see the lab report on blood type testing, page 9 (Item #38K), which has already been linked here.
It is undisputed that Elizabeth had type B blood, but see also the lab report dated November 18, 1985.
Forensic scientist Mary Jane Burton first testified that the type B blood sample could possibly be type AB blood under certain circumstances. However, on cross-examination, she said her test result was clearly blood type B and that this result was “true and correct.” From the trial transcript, June 13, 1990, page 24:
In 2009, the type B blood sample was tested for DNA, but no results were obtained. See the lab report on DNA testing, page 4 (Item # 38K), which has already been linked here.
Just read on Allmystery that sb doesn’t understand why testing was done in 2009 and not now. Will answer that one because I had to look that up too. In 2009 blood samples were tested that would be kept in a lab. But here we are talking about evidence (that is, something that can be touched and that was accessible to all, in the evidence room) therefore that is also contaminated.
Correct: what was tested in 2009 was samples that were accidentally found in the Department of Forensic Science, see below.
Regarding those samples, Wesley Nance says he has verified that they were completely used up in the 2009 DNA testing, so there is nothing left to test at the D.F.S.:
We have verified that those samples/swabs were completely used up during that reevaluation and there is nothing left to test. (Nance email, July 13)
Even if there were something left to test there — at the D.F.S. — the same problems would exist as with the items in the evidence room:
(1) there is no provable chain-of-custody,
(2) the samples are contaminated,
(3) the test results cannot prove my innocence — because the absence of my DNA cannot prove that I was not at the crime scene anyway.
With those lab samples, you also have to understand where they came from. The podcasters either overlooked or omitted that.
In the 1970s and -80s, forensic scientist Mary Jane Burton apparently made a habit of bringing blood samples from the lab to each trial. There, she would testify before the jury and show them the samples she had tested. After the trial, she filed these samples away in the records, but without securing them in any way. Here is an article on this from December 16, 2005:
Interestingly, this article states that Burton’s actions were a violation of the rules. The reason is not given, but I think it is quite simple: Burton broke the chain-of-custody.
She hand-carried samples from the lab to the courthouse and back without ever recording the transport in logbooks. From a purely legal standpoint, therefore, the test results were actually worthless. If a defense attorney had found out about them, the resulting verdicts might have had to be overturned.
Moreover, it is not known who touched the samples in the courtroom. Possibly the prosecutor, possibly the defense attorney. Sometimes attorneys give certain items of evidence to the jurors themselves so they can touch them.
Many years later, Burton’s strange habit was discovered by accident when Dr. Paul Ferrara, the director of the D.F.S., found old samples in a file. As a result, Governor Mark Warner ordered all files to be searched and all samples found in them to be tested for DNA. This is how the samples in “my” case, the Haysom murder case, were tested. Here is a detailed Virginia state government report on this, pages 7 through 12 are relevant to us:
Unfortunately, Burton was not a very good forensic scientist. Among other things, she was partly responsible for the wrongful conviction of Willie Davidson:
Finally, a comment from me about the DNA Databank:
District Attorney Wesley Nance has full legal authority to have any evidence under his control tested at any time — without any petition, either his or mine.
However, he is not authorized to enter the resulting test results into the DNA Databank for matching.
The DNA Databank is a federal project and is subject to federal laws. Because genetic profiles are involved, special precautions are in place to protect privacy.
Therefore, prosecutors are allowed to enter DNA profiles for matching — but only if the case is officially “open.” If the case is closed, as the Haysom murders are, Wesley Nance cannot enter any DNA profiles he might find through further testing.