TheWrap takes a look back at the last eight-plus months to see how "Making a Murderer" impacted the cases of Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, who were convicted for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach.
Making a Murderer Premieres
The documentary was released on Netflix Dec. 18, 2015. It has since received an approval rating of 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Ken Kratz Bashed on Yelp
A week after "Making a Murderer" premiered, fans took to Yelp to warn potential new clients against hiring Steven Avery's prosecutor.
“Mr. Kratz is a seasoned sexual harasser, with deep knowledge of abuse victims which he took advantage of. He has a long experience in evidence fabrication, and has the required strategic thought skills to send innocent men to jail for forged crimes,” one man wrote in a Yelp review. “When you think of garbage think of Mr. Kratz, he is the living representation of immorality and indecency that you need by your side to solve any legal issues.”
Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer’ Viewers Target Prosecutor Ken Kratz – On His Yelp Page
Protests Outside the Courthouse
In January, people protested outside the Manitowoc County Courthouse where Avery and Dassey were convicted.
Supporters traveled from as far as Texas, Florida and Oregon. The event was live-streamed on Periscope, drawing hundreds of people online, many from outside the U.S.
Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer': Steven Avery Supporters March on Manitowoc Courthouse
Avery Hires a New Lawyer
Avery retained Kathleen Zellner, an Illinois-based attorney who specializes in wrongful convictions, in January.
“The Zellner Law Firm is looking forward to adding Mr. Avery to its long list of wrongful conviction exonerations,” Zellner’s statement read.
Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer’s’ Steven Avery Has a New Lawyer
Avery's Ex-Fiancee Calls Him a "Monster,' 'Not Innocent'
Avery's ex-fiancée Jodi Stachowski said he is a “monster” and that “he’s not innocent” in the murder of Halbach in a January interview with HLN’s Nancy Grace.
Stachowski also admitted that she “ate two boxes of rat poison just so I could go to the hospital to get away from him and ask them to get the police to help me.”
Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer': Steven Avery’s Ex-Fiancee Calls Him a ‘Monster’
Transcript Suggests Avery Touched Dassey Inappropriately
In February, TheWrap obtained transcripts from a May 13, 2006 interview, in which 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.”
Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer’ Reporter: Evidence Ignored That Steven Avery Sexually Abused Brendan Dassey
Steven Avery Jr. Doesn't Know If His Father is Guilty
Avery’s son had “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.”
Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer’ Update: Steven Avery Jr. Has ‘No Idea’ If His Dad Is Guilty (Video)
Ken Kratz, Michael Griesbach Publish Tell-All Books
Avery prosecutor Ken Kratz and Michael Griesbach, the assistant district attorney responsible for helping Avery get out of jail in his first case, both wrote tell-all books chronicling the case and its representation in "Making a Murderer."
Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer’ Prosecutor to Write Tell-All Book
Kathleen Zellner Says There Are "a Couple" New Suspects
In an in-depth profile published in March by Newsweek, Zellner said that she has found “a couple” of suspects, both of whom are men who knew Halbach.
“We have a couple,” Zellner, who specializes in wrongful convictions, said. “I’d say there’s one, leading the pack by a lot. But I don’t want to scare him off, I don’t want him to run.”
Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer’ Update: Avery Lawyer Cites a ‘Couple’ of New Suspects in Teresa Halbach’s Death
Ken Kratz Admits to Suicidal Thoughts
Kratz told Dr. Drew that he had suicidal thoughts after “this whole thing kind of blew up,” referring to the Avery Case and an Associated Press report exposing racy texts he sent to a 25-year-old woman while Kratz was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend.
"Making a Murderer" Gets New Episodes
In July, it was announced that “Making a Murderer” is set to return to Netflix with new episodes that are already in production.
The forthcoming installments will follow up with Avery and co-defendant Dassey as their respective investigative and legal teams challenge their convictions.
Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer’ to Return to Netflix With New Episodes
Brendan Dassey's Conviction Is Overturned
In August, Dassey had his conviction overturned.
Federal magistrate judge William E. Duffin granted Dassey’s writ for a petition of habeas corpus, finding that his imprisonment was unlawful because his confession to the murder of Teresa Halbach was involuntary.
In reaching that decision, Duffin wrote that the “misconduct” of Len Kachinsky, Dassey’s court-appointed attorney, was “indefensible.”
Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer’ Subject Brendan Dassey’s Conviction Overturned
Motion for Evidence Is Filed
On Aug. 27, Zellner 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.
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.
Also Read: ‘Making a Murderer': Steven Avery’s Lawyer Files Motion for New DNA Tests
Zellner Teases Brendan Dassey Decision
Zellner teased the media
and documentary fans on Sept. 2, tweeting a picture of a man she helped exonerate in a murder case, who held a signing saying "It is over." A spokesperson from the Wisconsin DOJ denied all media speculation about the fate of Dassey.
State Will Appeal Dassey's Overturned Conviction
The state of Wisconsin said they would appea
l Dassey's overturned conviction, saying that his confession "was voluntary and the investigators did not use constitutionally impermissible tactics."
Steven Avery Project
Avery is Engaged
On Sept. 24, news broke that Avery is engaged to be married. The lucky lady is Lynn Hartman, identified as a legal secretary — which might come in handy — from Las Vegas. The couple has reportedly been dating for eight months but have only met in person once.
Nevermind, Avery Is NOT Engaged
On Oct. 1 came the news that Avery has dumped Hartman because he believes she “is a golddigger,” Avery’s friend Sandra Greenman wrote on Facebook
Brendan Dassey Will Be Released
On Nov. 14, a judge ordered Dassey’s supervised release, pending possible retrial.
According to court documents obtained by TheWrap, U.S. Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin granted Dassey’s motion for release -- conditional upon his supervision by the U.S. Probation Office. Dassey will not be allowed to obtain a passport and can only travel in the court’s Eastern District of Wisconsin. He is not allowed to possess a weapon or any controlled substances.
Wisconsin DOJ Files Emergency Motion
On Nov. 15, Attorney General Brad Schimel filed an emergency motion to stay Dassey’s release.
Dassey Will Be Home for Thanksgiving
Dassey will be home for Thanksgiving after the judge in his case rejected the state’s latest motion.
According to a Wisconsin Department of Justice release obtained by TheWrap, Dassey will be discharged from prison no later than Friday at 8 p.m. Attorney General Brad Schimel plans to file an emergency motion on Wednesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit seeking a stay of this release order.
Nope, He Won't Be Home For Thanksgiving
On Nov. 17, the judge ordered that Dassey will remain in prison pending an appeal of his overturned conviction, Attorney General Brad Schimel said.
“Moments ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit granted the State of Wisconsin’s motion to stay U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin’s order to release Mr. Brendan Dassey. Mr. Dassey will remain in prison pending the outcome of the appeal,” Schimel’s office said in a release.
Fellow Inmate Says Avery Confessed to the Murder
Joseph Evans, who is serving a life sentence for murdering his wife, alleges in a nine-page letter published
on the Rockford Advocate that Avery described raping and killing Halbach.
“He said he put the knife to Teresa’s throat as he guided her to his bedroom,” Evans wrote. “Steven said Teresa was crying and begging him not to kill her.”
Zellner Alleges Teresa Halbach May Have Been Killed by Ex-Boyfriend
In June 2017, Zellner filed a 1,200-page notice for post conviction relief in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, in which she alleged that Teresa Halbach’s ex-boyfriend may have killed her.
In the filing, Zellner notes that Halbach was in an abusive relationship with Ryan Hillegas prior to her murder and that jealousy could have been his motive for the murder when Halbach didn’t remain romantically interested in him.
Federal Appeals Court Upholds Ruling That Dassey’s Confession Was Coerced
In June of this year, a federal appeals court
upheld the ruling that Dassey’s conviction was coerced and he should be released from prison.
The majority of the three-judge panel agreed with Judge William Duffin’s August ruling that Dassey’s confession of the murder of Teresa Halbach was involuntary and that investigators violated Dassey’s rights.
State Requests Rehearing in Dassey's Case
In July, the Wisconsin Department of Justice requested a rehearing by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit after the federal appeals court said his conviction was coerced.
Avery Denied New Trial
In October, Avery was denied a new trial by a Wisconsin judge.
Judge Angela Sutkiewicz ruled that Avery had failed “to establish any grounds that would trigger the right to a new trial in the interests of justice.”
Zellner then told TheWra
p that she would be filing a motion to vacate the judge’s order and that she plans to conduct further testing and amend his petition with new witness affidavits.
Judge Rejects Avery's Bid For New Trial, Again
In November, Avery's request for a new trial was rejected by Judge Sutkiewicz again.
According to the Post-Crescent
, the ruling comes after Zellner appealed her filings to a higher court.
Supreme Court Declines to Hear Brendan Dassey's Case
In June, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear Brendan Dassey’s murder case. As is typical for such denials, no reason was given for passing on the appeal.
Avery Denied a Trial, Again
In September, Avery was denied a new trial by Sheboygan County Circuit Court judge Angela Sutkiewicz.
According to the Post-Crescent, Avery's attorneys sought to supplement the record with a CD they argued contains "exculpatory, material evidence" that was reportedly only disclosed to them in April. Avery's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, argued that the state failed to disclose the disc and violated his right to a fair trial, therefore arguing for a new trial.