The case surrounding Steven Avery keeps evolving.
In the last three weeks, the “Making a Murderer” subject has been at the forefront of discussion yet again since transcripts surfaced revealing that Brendan Dassey, Avery’s nephew who was also convicted in the murder of Teresa Halbach, told his mother that Avery had touched him inappropriately.
At the same time, Avery’s new lawyer Kathleen Zellner has said she plans to use “advanced luminol testing to exonerate Avery,” and has posted several updates on Twitter since, saying she has been collecting samples for new tests and Avery “was smiling, so were we.”
“Making a Murderer” explores the case of Avery, a Wisconsin man who was imprisoned on a sexual assault conviction for 18 years before being exonerated on DNA evidence and released — only to be charged and convicted for Hallbach’s murder three years later. Former Calumet Country district attorney Ken Kratz successfully prosecuted Avery for the young photographer’s rape and murder, the crime for which Avery is now serving a life sentence.
Since its premiere on Dec. 18, the series has strongly suggested that Avery was framed for the crime by Wisconsin law enforcement.
See below for 7 updates in his case.
1. Transcripts Suggest Steven Avery Touched Brendan Dassey Inappropriately
One of the reporters who covered the “Making a Murderer” trial says everyone involved — police, lawyers and the filmmakers who re-examined the case — ignored statements by Brendan Dassey that Steven Avery touched him inappropriately.
TheWrap obtained transcripts containing Dassey’s statements on the matter. In a May 13, 2006 interview, Dassey told police that Avery sometimes tried to grab his penis “through the pants.” In a phone call later that day to his mother, Barb Tadych, Dassey said he told police that Avery “would grab me somewhere where I was uncomfortable.”
Avery’s new attorney strongly denied her client molested Dassey.
2. Dassey Denied Sexual Abuse in Psych Evaluation
After TheWrap was told that reporters and lawyers ignored the possibility that Avery molested Dassey, a 2006 mental evaluation revealed psychologist Robert H. Gordon’s conclusion that Dassey had not been molested.
“Brendan reported having no history of being physically or sexually abused,” Gordon wrote.
3. Zellner Plans to Run New Tests to Exonerate Avery
Zellner revealed via Twitter her plans to use “advanced luminol testing to exonerate Avery,” which the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says is used to detect blood in large areas that can’t be seen during the visual examination.
Zellner took to Twitter on Feb. 19 to announce a fifth visit to Avery to collect samples for additional tests.
– Kathleen Zellner (@ZellnerLaw) February 20, 2016
4. Zellner Vows to Identify “Who Actually Killed Teresa Hallbach”
According to TheLipTV, Zellner “also intends to prove who actually killed Teresa Halbach. She asserted it is fairly obvious if you review the record of the criminal case.”
Zellner said: “They did not look at a lot of other suspects, certainly some very key people they should have been looking at. There was a very poor investigation done of the victim’s background, who she was involved with, the circumstances of her life.”
5. Feb. 11 Appeal Hearing
Avery was set to appear at a Feb. 11 court date, when a Wisconsin judge was supposed to hear Avery’s motion for appeal. However, Zellner has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment regarding the status of the hearing.
6. Second Prosecutor to Publish Tell-All book
After Kratz announced he would be writing a tell-all book, another lawyer involved in the case announced plans to do the same.
Michael Griesbach was a prosecutor who handled both Avery’s wrongful conviction in 1985 and the much-disputed conviction for the Hallbach murder in 2005.
Griesbach’s book “Indefensible: The Missing Truth About Steven Avery, Teresa Halbach, and ‘Making a Murderer'” promises to present new incriminating evidence proving Avery’s guilt, and will be published on Mar. 29.
7. Steven Avery Jr. Doesn’t Know if His Father Is Guilty
Avery’s son has “no idea” whether his father is guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach, for which he’s currently serving life in prison.
“I have no idea,” Steven Avery Jr. told Crime Watch Daily in an interview. “I mean … only one person can answer that and that is Teresa. But she can’t answer it no more.”
Avery’s other son is more certain of his father’s innocence. “No, I don’t think he did,” Bill Avery said in the interview.