BEDFORD, Va. -- Heiress Elizabeth Haysom told attorneys at her sentencing hearing Wednesday she didn't want to talk about charges that she had a sexual relationship with her slain mother and said her boyfriend took the initiative in plotting her parents' murders.
Haysom told the court that while she initially believed she was manipulating boyfriend Jens Soering, accused of capital murder and being held in London awaiting extradition, she later realized it was Soering who got carried away and planned the murders.
'I do not mean to minimize my guilt,' she said, but added: 'Jens acted of his own free will ... he didn't have to do anything. No one forced him to do anything.'
The heiress pleaded guilty to charges of being an accessory before the fact of murder and faces 20 years to life in prison.
At Wednesday's hearing she was confronted with a pre-sentencing report that alleged 'a full-blown sexual relationship' her mother - which has never been raised as a possible motive for the killings.
'She did not sexually abuse me.' Haysom said. 'This isn't an issue I wanted to bring up. It's not something I want to discuss in public.'
Haysom's lawyers would not comment further on that testimony.
Derek Haysom, 72, a retired steel executive, and Nancy Haysom, 53, a Lynchburg socialite, were found slashed and stabbed to death in their rural Virginia home in April 1985. Elizabeth Haysom and Soering, the son of a West German diplomat, honors students at the University of Virginia, were arrested last year in London. Soering has been fighting extradition.
Testimony has shown that Haysom wrote to Soering, telling of her frustrations with her parents. But Haysom testified that she never intended for her parents to be slain.
'I never thought that Jens would murder my parents,' she said. 'I never believed he would do that to my parents. I still can hardly believe it.'
Updike referred to letters between Haysom and Soering during Christmas break in 1984 in which Soering referred to 'the ultimate weapon' against her parents.
'I wanted my parents out of my life. I had this immature, ridiculous fantasy about them being dead, but not murdered. It was in my head, and Jens made it reality,' she testified.
But Haysom said she was 'caught up in my own self-centered selfish little mind. To kill someone is so very definite and so very real. I couldn't believe someone could really do that.'
She told Updike her parents remained supportive of her when she wantedto leave her British boarding school, and said that after she returned to Virginia in 1984 they continued to demonstrate their love and support.
But she said she felt her mother 'loved me too much. She made me feel guilty because I let them down so badly,' Haysom said, referring to her drug abuse and travels around Europe in the summer of 1983.