The New York Times Reporter Who Inspired ‘Making A Murderer’ Revisits Manitowoc

News & Culture Writer
01.28.16
Making a Murderer

Netflix

The November 23, 2005 edition of The New York Times featured an article titled “Freed by DNA, Now Charged in New Crime.” Written by journalist Monica Davey, who currently serves as the NYT‘s Chicago Bureau Chief, the article detailed the arrest of Steven Avery in the murder of Teresa Halbach, a 25-year-old photographer whose remains were found mostly burned to cinders on the family of the accused’s property. If this sounds familiar, that’s because Davey’s article is what inspired then-graduate students Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos to take up Avery’s story as their own and create Making a Murderer.

Now that the 10-part Netflix documentary series has become an international sensation, the NYT sent Davey back to Manitowoc County. Not to dig up anything new that Ricciardi, Demos, and a host of other real-life characters involved hadn’t already stirred up with media interviews and reports, of course, but to see for herself how much Manitowoc had changed in more than a decade. That, and to find out how the area was coping with its newfound — though mostly negative — fame.

As one of the few people willing to talk to Davey puts it:

“We lived through this 10 years ago,” Jason Ring, the president of the Manitowoc Area Visitor and Convention Bureau, said from a counter covered in maps and brochures.

“We made our judgment, and the trial came to an end, and locally most people were in support of that,” Mr. Ring said. “Now it’s back — by no choosing or no doing of anyone in this community.”

“So that’s the first point of injustice,” he added. “That we have to live through it again.”

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