If you feel it's been a while since we brought you a Making a Murderer update, you wouldn't be wrong.
As we've previously reported, the appeals for both Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey have continued, after both were convicted for involvement in the murder of Teresa Halbach back in 2007.
Each subject of the Netflix true-crime series has maintained their innocence (despite Brendan Dassey's previous confession, now hotly contested), and since both parts of Making a Murderer hit the streaming platforms, their real-world legal teams have been working hard on their appeals.
Kathleen Zellner, who was introduced to documentary viewers in season two but has been representing Avery since 2016, has been trying to win a new trial for her client. In October 2019, we reported that the post-conviction lawyer had filed a 135-page document to the Wisconsin Appeals Court District II, requesting a new trial be given.
Specialising in wrongful convictions, Zellner believes wholeheartedly in her client's innocence and has previously shared a theory that calls back to a pretty major sticking point for viewers of season one (and therefore Avery's original trial) which could change the narrative surrounding the case.
It concerns the fragments of bone found in the Manitowoc County Gravel Pit. In a nutshell, Zellner made moves to test the evidence in order to determine whether they were a) human and b) belonging to Halbach – if each of these questions garnered a yes, the State's theory that she was killed and burned in Steven Avery's burn pit could be refuted.
But Zellner believed that the Attorney General's Office had been attempting to "deceive" her and her client by hiding the whereabouts of this forensic evidence.
Fast-forward almost a year (yes, October is edging closer and closer), and we've got some more news to share. In a 49-page response, filed June 25, to the State of Wisconsin (who argued in May that Avery's prior motion be denied), Zellner names another possible person of interest: Bobby Dassey.
Making a Murderer viewers will remember him as the brother of Brendan Dassey. He was introduced in season two, and the contents of the family computer – which housed violent imagery and pornography – was a worrisome talking point among viewers. While this discovery was actually made at the time of the original police investigation, it had been concealed from Avery's defence team and therefore was not used in the original trial.
It is important to note, however, that Bobby has never been arrested or charged in relation to this case and has denied involvement.
While you might think it's part of the normal legal process to name likely alternative suspects, this was something that Avery's original lawyers Dean Strang and Jerry Buting were prevented from doing during the original trial – something that they have said impeded them from the start.
It was a huge question for audiences who didn't understand the legal system – something that Buting and Strang explained in more detail during an exclusive interview with Digital Spy last year. In a nutshell, Wisconsin law prevents the defence from introducing evidence that implicates other suspects unless they can prove these others had motive and opportunity. And it seems that this is now something that Zellner is looking to overcome.
"At trial, the State's primary witness Bobby Dassey ("Bobby") committed perjury when he testified that Ms Halbach never left the Avery property and that he was asleep when he was doing internet searches," the latest brief read.
"If Mr Avery establishes in an evidentiary hearing that the primary burn site was the Dassey burn barrel and the bones from that 28 barrel were planted in Mr Avery's burn pit, that evidence would be potentially exculpatory and would undermine confidence in his verdict," the pages later go on to explain.
Exculpatory evidence is defined as evidence that could be favourable to the defendant, and that would help them towards exoneration or a verdict of "not guilty."
After filing the latest brief, Kathleen Zellner shared a message of hope with followers of the case (via Twitter): "We’re going to win this!!!"
In terms of the Netflix series, we've previously speculated that season three might go ahead in order to document any big developments – which would, you'd expect, definitely include a new trial should Avery be given one.
There's been no official word yet from filmmakers or the streaming platform that a third docu-series is under discussion, but we'll be watching this space.
Making a Murderer seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix.
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