The sock print
Toward the end of the Netflix series “Till murder do us part: Soering vs. Haysom,” a forensic podologist makes the claim that the bloody sock print at the crime scene was most likely left by me.
This is not true!
Sock print analysis is not a recognized forensic science. It falls under the category of “junk science”: pseudo-forensics that give the appearance of being scientific, but in fact are grossly misleading.
Chris Fabricant, a nationally recognized expert in this field, appears briefly at the beginning of episode 4 of the Netflix series to state just that. Here are two articles on “junk science” that mention forensic podology near the end.
Prof. Brandon Garrett of Duke University is the co-author of the leading national study on “junk science.” On pages 71 and 72, he discusses sock print comparisons as a prime example of forensic pseudo-science.
The case discussed on those pages is that of Charles Fain. He spent 18 years on death row before being exonerated. The forensic “scientist” who testified against him was Robert Hallett — the same man who testified at my trial.
The forensic podologist in the Netflix series makes the same mistake as Robert Hallett: She compares a sock print made in motion with a footprint made while standing. That’s like comparing apples and oranges.
Also, she has no information on the type of sock worn. The thickness of the fabric will determine how much fluid is absorbed and thus how large the print is.
Finally, the idea that anyone could be identified from a sock print that is as smeared as this one is absurd.
Rick Johnson´s lab report
On June 7, 1985, Rick Johnson — a forensic analyst with the Virginia Bureau of Forensic Science — issued a lab report stating that the sock print above corresponded to a man’s size 5 to 6 foot. I have a size 8 ½ foot.
The sock print is nearly half an inch shorter than my foot. That eliminates me as a source.
Perhaps that is why the prosecutor did not call Rick Johnson to testify at my trial. Instead, he called Robert Hallett. He was willing to explain away the obvious difference in length by claiming there was a “double hit” of the heel.
But that is precisely the same explanation Hallett gave at the trial of Charles Fain, see above.
Hallett’s testimony re: Jens Soering
Hallett’s testimony re: Charles Fain
On August 29, 1985, Rick Johnson issued a lab report stating that Elizabeth Haysom’s half-brother Julian could have made the sock print.
Julian Haysom is completely innocent of the crime. Yet he cannot be eliminated as a source of the sock print. Exactly the same can be said of me — nothing more and nothing less.
The producers of the Netflix series had the affidavits of two recognized impressions examiners who said that the sock print
should never have been used, because it is too smeared, and
could equally well have been left by Elizabeth Haysom. x
It is difficult to understand why the Netflix producers chose to ignore these two impressions examiners completely. A fair representation of the facts should have included all three voices — not just the one voice that gave the Netflix producers an “interesting” end to their series.
Finally, the Netflix producers had a sample ink foot print of Elizabeth Haysom’s that fits the sock print at the crime scene as well as my own sample ink foot print. My attorney found this foot print in Robert Hallett´s file - but only after my trial, when it was too late.