YES, THIS POST INCLUDES MAKING A MURDERER SPOILERS. IT’S ALSO ABOUT A DOCUMENTARY DEPICTING EVENTS FROM 10 YEARS AGO. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Special prosecutor Ken Kratz, with his giant head and creepy lady voice, who pursued a weak case against Steven Avery and an even weaker one against Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey, probably came out looking the worst in Making A Murderer (and is currently getting plenty of grief for it). So it’s not surprising that he would take issue with the documentary series. He spoke to People yesterday, claiming filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos left out key pieces of evidence.
“You don’t want to muddy up a perfectly good conspiracy movie with what actually happened,” Kratz tells PEOPLE by email, “and certainly not provide the audience with the evidence the jury considered to reject that claim.”
As to what that evidence might be, he presents a theory that Steven Avery “targeted” photographer Teresa Halbach, who disappeared October 31 after being last seen taking photographs of a van on Steven Avery’s property.
He cites Halbach’s Oct. 10, 2005 visit to the property owned by Avery’s family for a photo shoot for AutoTrader magazine: According to Kratz, Avery allegedly opened his door “just wearing a towel.”
“She was creeped out [by him],” Kratz says by phone, later adding by email: “She [went to her employer and] said she would not go back because she was scared of him.”
Steven Avery is a guy who famously didn’t own any pairs of underwear, so answering the door in a towel wouldn’t be out of character.
At 8:12 a.m. on Oct. 31, the day Halbach was killed, Kratz says Avery called AutoTrader magazine and asked them to send “that same girl who was here last time.” He says that Halbach knew Avery was leery of him, so he allegedly gave his sister’s name and number to “trick” Halbach into coming.
“Phone records show three calls from Avery to Teresa’s cell phone on Oct. 31,” says Kratz. “One at 2:24 [p.m.], and one at 2:35 – both calls Avery uses the *67 feature so Teresa doesn’t know it him…both placed before she arrives.
“Then one last call at 4:35 p.m., without the *67 feature. Avery first believes he can simply say she never showed up…so tries to establish the alibi call after she’s already been there, hence the 4:35 call. She will never answer of course, so he doesn’t need the *67 feature for that last call.”
Kratz never says whether these assertions ever made it into the official evidence at trial. Though the show does show Halbach’s ex-boyfriend testifying that he logged into her cell phone account online after she disappeared. Further testimony strongly suggested that someone had erased messages after her disappearance.
During his time in prison for a rape he was later cleared of, Kratz says Avery allegedly “told another inmate of his intent to build a ‘torture chamber’ so he could rape, torture and kill young women when he was released.” Kratz adds, “He even drew a diagram.”
Kratz also claims that “another inmate was told by Avery that the way to get rid of a body is to ‘burn it.’ ” Halbach’s bones were discovered in the fire pit behind Avery’s house. He says “were ‘intertwined’ with the steel belts, left over from the car tires Avery threw on the fire to burn,” says Kratz, disputing the defense’s allegation that Halbach was burned elsewhere and her bones were later moved.
Obviously, I’m a bit biased, because I didn’t trust a single thing this Kratz guy said after his bizarre press conference where he improvised an episode of Law and Order SVU scenario based on coerced testimony from a 16-year-old with a 70-something IQ. It’s hard to come back from that. And after seeing Brendan Dassey’s stick-figure drawing of a rape chamber, drawn after being henpecked by a guy who was supposed to be his lawyer, I’m a touch skeptical of Kratz citing a “torture chamber” drawing allegedly done by an unnamed inmate.
Kratz also has some claims about the DNA evidence.
According to Kratz, Avery’s DNA, which he says was not taken from his blood, was also found under the hood of Halbach’s car, a Toyota RAV4. “How did his DNA get under the hood if Avery never touched her car? Do the cops have a vial of Avery’s sweat?” asks Kratz.
Kratz also claims that a bullet, recovered from Avery’s garage, couldn’t possibly have been planted by police, as the defense also alleged. “Ballistics said the bullet found in the garage was fired by Avery’s rifle, which was in a police evidence locker since Nov. 6, 2005,” says Kratz. “If the cops planted the bullet, how did they get one fired from [Avery’s] gun? This rifle, hanging over Avery’s bed, is the source of the bullet found in the garage, with Teresa’s DNA on it. The bullet had to be fired before Nov. 5.” [People]
Whether the filmmakers deliberately left this bit out or if Kratz is just making claims too unsupported to bring up in court is still unclear at this point, and Avery’s lawyers have yet to respond.
I’m doing a little speculating here, but seeing Avery’s hoarder house and massive, junk-strewn property, finding a spent bullet there doesn’t seem like it would’ve been very hard. And after the fairly plausible case the defense made that Halbach’s key was scrubbed clean and could’ve been contaminated after the fact, it’s not illogical to think they could’ve done the same with a spent bullet they found.
But who knows? The fact is, the confession around which Kratz built most of his case was unbelievably shady, and should’ve been enough to get multiple people fired on its own. That’s leaving aside the fact that the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department, who had enough of a conflict of interest (in having gotten Steven Avery falsely convicted of a rape in the ’80s) to necessitate appointing a special prosecutor in the first place, were nonetheless present at almost all the crucial stages of the investigation. Kratz spends the whole movie denying the role of the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department, and then when Brendan Dassey is being led into the court for sentencing, the one leading him is Andrew Colborn. Wasn’t that guy not supposed to be anywhere near the case? Who needed someone from another county watching him while he was on the scene? After all of that, he’s still leading the suspect into a courtroom?
It will be interesting to see whether public opinion, which is widely turning against Kratz and company, has any power to change Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey’s cases, which would have seemed fairly hopeless before all the recent publicity.