The lawyer representing “Making a Murderer” subject Steven Avery has filed a motion demanding physical evidence from the murder of Teresa Halbach for further scientific testing that she claims didn’t exist during the trial.
On Friday, Kathleen Zellner hand-delivered the motion at the Manitowoc Circuit Court, a spokesperson for the Midwest Innocence Project told TheWrap. In the filing, Zellner revealed that “Mr. Avery has already completed a series of tests that will conclusively establish his innocence” and that she intends to reveal the identity of an alternate suspect once she has the test results.
Avery’s lawyers called the proposed analyses “the most comprehensive, thorough and advanced forensic testing ever requested by a criminal defendant in the State of Wisconsin.”
In the 45-page motion, Avery asks for “post-conviction testing of physical evidence,” adding that “considerable progress has been made in forensic DNA methods, procedures and tests, including the development of tests for the specific detection of blood, saliva, semen and urine.”
The motion claims that new testing technology can distinguish whether DNA has come from blood, saliva, semen or urine, and Avery claims that if he was truly bleeding from his finger like prosecutors claimed, there should be blood DNA on the hood of Halbach’s car. Avery has offered to pay for the new tests.
Avery also requested radiocarbon testing, “which could definitely establish the age of Mr. Avery’s blood found in the victim’s vehicle and determine, based on the age, if the blood was planted.”
The lawyers are also requesting the battery cable, the interior hood release and the blinker light of the RAV4 found at the Avery Salvage Yard a few days after Halbach went missing on Halloween 2005. Avery’s team is also asking for advanced DNA analysis on previously-tested items, such as the license plates.
The car key, which has been a debated piece of evidence since officers Andrew Colborn and James Lenk found it in Avery’s bedroom a week after Halbach’s disappearance, has also been requested for testing. The motion argues that “If there is only saliva and no blood, this will refute one of the State’s theories that blood from Mr. Avery’s cut finger ‘mask[ed]’ the victim’s DNA.”
Avery is requesting previously obtained fingerprints from Colborn and Lenk to compare them to the fingerprints found on the RAV4: “If the unidentified fingerprints on the victim’s vehicle match either Officer Colborn or Officer Lenk, it would be significant evidence of their involvement in moving the victim’s vehicle onto the Avery property.”
Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were convicted in 2007 for the murder of Teresa Halbach two years earlier. When the Netflix docuseries on the subject, “Making a Murderer,” was released in December, the nation was split over whether Avery was guilty or local law enforcement framed a man who had just been exonerated in a rape case for which he spent 18 years in prison.
Zellner also filed a motion with the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin to hold Avery’s appeal until a ruling is made on the new testing.
“Judicial efficiency and the interests of the parties and the public weigh in favor of placing this appeal on hold pending the resolution of the testing should testing be granted … There is no harm to the Plaintiffs as the status quo includes Mr. Avery’s continued incarceration,” read the motion, obtained by TheWrap.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.