Last week, fans of the hit Netflix documentary Making A Murderer celebrated as Brendan Dassey’s conviction for the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach was thrown out by a federal court. The development was also good news for Brendan’s uncle Steven Avery, who was convicted in a separate trial for the same crime.
Members of Steven’s family were actually visiting him in prison when word came that Brendan was to be released from jail within 90 days. His cousin Carla Chase told WBAY-TV “He was kind of stunned because he can’t believe that it actually came through. He was in a little disbelief. He didn’t believe that it actually came through and it’s like yes, it came through everywhere, it’s news and all.”
Avery’s appeal lawyer and wrongful conviction specialist Kathleen Zellner also saw him that day and told WISN News “We fully expected this outcome from an unbiased court that carefully examined his confession. I was just visiting Steven Avery, and he is so happy for Brendan. We know when an unbiased court reviews all of the new evidence we have, Steven will have his conviction overturned as well.”
She followed that up with several fiery statements on Twitter about the case. Zellner has been using social media since coming onto the case in January to make bold claims about her client’s upcoming vindication, and these tweets were no different.
Brendan’s successful ruling may not help Steven Avery too much when it comes to his own appeal, which is set to be filed at the end of August. As we learned in the federal judge’s decision on Dassey, common sense arguments won’t get you very far; you need facts that line up perfectly with established case law. But the court of public opinion isn’t as stringent, and they’ll understand that if Brendan Dassey wasn’t helping Steven Avery rape, murder, and cremate Teresa Halbach on Halloween, it doesn’t leave much time for Avery to have done it on his own.
It’s important to remember that Brendan was a big part of Steven’s alibi on the day of the murder: the two were together between 7PM and 10PM burning garbage in his fire pit. According to the state, though, they were actually burning Halbach’s remains and cleaning up her blood with bleach in his garage. Now that this ruling has affirmed there’s no evidence Dassey participated in the murder, how likely is it that Steven Avery kept the teenager in tow all evening as he meticulously cleaned up the crime scene and burned his victim’s body to ashes?
It’s going to take more than just a line of reasoning to have Steven’s conviction thrown out, though, which is why it’s good that he has Kathleen Zellner on his side. She specializes in tearing apart forensic evidence slanted to back up the prosecution’s case, and recently did just that to get another one of her clients a new trial. She’s promising a ‘tsunami’ of new evidence and has even teased that her appeal may reveal who really killed Teresa Halbach.
So between Brendan’s imminent release and Steven Avery’s appeal, it looks like there’s going to be more than enough content for a bombshell second season of Making A Murderer. With so much movement on their cases happening so quickly, it may not take documentary makers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos that long to complete the story, either.