Dateline NBC has been on the air since 1992, and actually did an episode on the Steven Avery / Teresa Halbach case back when it was all going down in 2006. Now that the Netflix documentary Making A Murderer has thrust the case back into the spotlight, Dateline has returned to Manitowoc to review the story again.
Overall the show was pretty negative towards Avery and the idea that he might be innocent. That’s even with his new lawyer, wrongful conviction specialist Kathleen Zellner, saying she’s already got evidence that proves Steven didn’t do it. Via NBC News:
“Generally, since 2007, there have been significant advances in forensic testing … the clearest way to do this is with scientific testing,” Kathleen Zellner told Dateline NBC’s Andrea Canning in her first TV interview since taking the case. “Am I going to tell you exactly what it is? I am not. But it’s been a long time. There was a lot of evidence that wasn’t tested.”
The way Zellner put it made it sound like she’s already found something pretty convincing that will exonerate Steven Avery. It’s hard to get too excited though without knowing exactly what it is. And it’s worth noting that Avery’s original 2006 lawyers felt they had a lot of evidence that pointed towards their client’s innocence, but the prosecution managed to refute or downplay it all and secure a conviction.
That’s our adversarial justice system at work: both sides are trying to establish their opinion of what happened as reality. Kathleen Zellner is going to try and spin every scrap of evidence to her client’s advantage. Is she just preparing to throw crap at the wall to see what sticks or does she really have something on par with the DNA test that freed Avery back in 2003?
Regardless, Steven Avery seems on board with her opinion that scientific testing will save him. Here’s a statement letter he gave Zellner:
The Dateline show also touched on Brendan Dassey, Avery’s unfortunate nephew who got railroaded into a life sentence because of a false confession and unethical treatment by his lawyers.
“The film restored his presumption of innocence,” his appeal lawyer Steven Drizin told Dateline. “Everybody who saw that film is left with one indelible impression: This kid got screwed and he deserves a new trial.”