Amanda Knox is among almost 250 people who have signed an open letter to Governor Tony Evers supporting the petition for clemency for “Making a Murderer” subject Brendan Dassey.
“We write this letter to express our sincere hope that you will extend executive clemency, in the form of either a pardon or a commutation, to Brendan Dassey,” the letter, obtained by Fox 11 News and dated October 24, read. “Some of us are psychologists, including leading experts in the psychology of interrogations and confessions. Some of us are experts on juvenile justice; some of us are disability experts. Some of us are academics who study miscarriages of justice in Wisconsin and abroad. Some of us are exonerees who have ourselves been convicted of crimes we did not commit and who were later cleared by DNA evidence. Still others simply wish to lend our names and voices in support of Brendan.”
The letter continued: “Many of us believe Brendan Dassey to be wrongly convicted and his statements, which constitute the primary evidence against him, to be unreliable. Many of us believe that the process that led to the conviction of this sixteen-year-old special education student was indefensibly flawed, characterized by egregious defense attorney misconduct. And many of us believe that Brendan’s sentence – life in prison, with no chance of parole until 2048 – is wildly inappropriate. All of us agree that, after serving more than thirteen years in prison and accumulating an exemplary prison record, it is time to bring Brendan Dassey home.”
Earlier this month, Dassey’s legal team launched a campaign to persuade the governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers to grant him clemency. According to the petition, Dassey is either asking for a pardon, which would result in his release from prison, or a commutation of his remaining sentence. This is one of the last remaining legal options available to Dassey.
Dassey was 16 when he confessed to aiding his uncle Steven Avery in killing Halbach. However, his attorneys have since seen it as a coerced confession given Dassey’s learning disabilities. At the time of the interrogation, no lawyers or other adults were present. The Netflix series “Making a Murderer” chronicled the trials and convictions of both him and his uncle, Steven Avery.
In December 2018, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that Dassey’s confession was voluntary. It was a tight vote, however, with a 4-3 outcome. Lower courts ruled that Dassey’s confession was involuntary. In June of last year, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear his case, but no reason was given. Dassey is currently serving a life sentence. At this time, Dassey is not eligible for parole until 2048, when he would be 59 years old.
Avery was also found guilty in Halbach’s 2007 murder. Avery, who says the police framed him for the crime, is still appealing his case.
Avery is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Knox spent four years in prison in Italy after she was convicted for the 2007 murder of a fellow exchange student who shared her apartment. She was released from prison in 2011 after a subsequent trial showed the evidence used against her was not credible and police made numerous errors, and in 2015, she was definitively acquitted by the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation.
Click here to see the full letter and all the petitioners.