What is it they say about a conspiracy theorist, that all their evidence fits a narrative, regardless of discrepancies or contradictions? Well what occurs then when discrepancies and contradictions abundantly don’t fit the stories paved out for two men facing life in prison for the murder of a young woman named Teresa Halbach in 2005?
Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, who was appointed to both murder cases, says Making A Murderer filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos left out key information and evidence from the eye-opening series. “You don’t want to muddy up a perfectly good conspiracy movie with what actually happened,” Kratz told PEOPLE magazine, “and certainly not provide the audience with the evidence the jury considered to reject that claim.”
Well, I have covered those facts and many more in our part 2 special article: Facts Not Show In the Documentary. Not much was there from Kratz’s claims to solidify the case for either side, if Steven Avery and his nephew are without a doubt guilty or not. Kratz would like you to think so but as he now is well aware of due to his very own embarrassing personal issues that does have hard evidence against the ex-DA, allegations can ruin reputations.
When watching Making a Murderer on NETFLIX, Avery’s attorney Dean Strang dangerously enunciates what many have been thinking while watching the dramatic series: that a man may indeed be innocent and is being framed by a police department. Strang, Steven Avery’s lawyer risks “At his own peril” leading the jury down a path of law enforcement conspiracy in the pursuit of clearing his client’s name. Conspiracy is the last thing anyone would want to think, that is until the findings of his client’s syringed blood sample that has been clearly tampered with in a strange twist of events. Making A Murderer revealed so much new information I wasn’t aware of before.
I lived in Wisconsin when this case was all over the news. I’ve been to Manitowoc myself in 2007. I was absolutely sure that Steven Avery and his nephew were guilty by what we knew and were told by media and officials. Now what has been seen in Making a Murderer with all the revealed new information, I was never made aware of before. I simply had to reevaluate everything. With what I do know now from Making A Murderer, and with a fresh new set of eyes that have not been so blinded by overloads of muddled “facts,” this case has been turned upside down and the Wisconsin justice system is being ignorant to the facts.
If you think cops and officials won’t lie for their own self-preservation because they made an oath to the “badge,” you have a rude awakening in-store for you. If you have enough motive, you’ll do anything, as with the “G.I. Joe” police officer from Fox Lake, IL. in 2015. Who was able to confuse a scene and threw off fellow investigators by knowing how to stage ‘planted evidence.’
I have no love or hate for Steven Avery, Brendan Dassey, their fates, the Wisconsin judicial system, or even Manitowoc law enforcement. I do have a passion for truth. The truth was lost in this investigation from the moment Dassey was made to be a quick scapegoat with NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE ever found at all to support his involvement to a graphic murder scene story. All in efforts for a couple of cops to make sure they lock up a man for good, a man who poses a very serious danger to them all. Even if it means locking up an innocent man, his unintelligent nephew, and letting a real murderer get away with the killing of Teresa Halbach. If I had to live in Manitowoc, I would have no faith or trust in that department.
This is the kind of stuff found in a brilliant mystery murder, crime movie. But this is real life and that’s not even half the story yet. It is even hard to find evidence found on Steven Avery that doesn’t have a suspicious connection involving the police force of Manitowoc attached to it.
From fellow investigators, media, families, lawyers, judges, juries, and finally us in the public…..we have all been mislead from that point on. Teresa Halbach’s true voice from beyond had no chance at all to be heard, due to the ones we have giving our full trust to protect us, Law Enforcement.
The Avery family and the law:
Allen and Dolores Avery had four children: Charles (or Chuck), Steven, Earl, and Barbara, all of whom worked on, lived on, or lived near an Avery-owned junkyard in Manitowoc County. And many of the Averys had been in trouble over the years. Before his 1985 conviction, Steven himself had robbed a bar and committed an act of animal cruelty (specifically, he lit a cat on fire)—and some say these charges were glossed over in the series to make Steven a more sympathetic character. As Steven and his siblings grew up, the family members’ partners, spouses, and children also lived on the lot,
The first stone:
Steve Avery and the cousin fight, running her off the road. Sandra Morris says she was being harassed by Steven and even (allegedly) seen him having sex on top of a car in his front yard. She was married to one of Steven’s cousins. Sandra Morris had accused Avery of running her off the road and threatening her at gunpoint, as well as exposing himself, and Morris had personal ties to the sheriff and Manitowoc County and Police.
A nightmare investigation begins: Kratz, Len and Michael
Brendan Dassey’s case has led to causing serious misleading “evidence” that was ultimately NEVER corroborated with any physical evidence whatsoever. Interrogators Mark Wiegert and Tom Fassbender, coerced a confessions from the low-IQ, socially inept, 16-year-old boy, which were then presented in snippets to a jury, staging an admittance to a crime that never really happened.
Neighboring Calumet County was supposed to take over the investigation to avoid a conflict of interest (see lawsuit below), but it never exactly work out that way did it. Several of the officers who worked on the Halbach case were personally involved in Avery’s first case and were in a current $35 million dollar lawsuit for Steven having spent 18 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Avery blames the police for his earlier wrongful conviction as well. As he says in the series, he believed law enforcement in Manitowoc County had it out for him and his family. He was right about his first conviction, getting help from an innocence project, and he is released from jail with new DNA testing after 18 years in prison.
Mr. Kratz has acknowledged some missteps in the handling of Mr. Avery’s case saying he wished the Manitowoc County sheriff’s deputies had been less involved in the investigation. “That made the case a little more challenging for me, because I certainly took every step to keep those people out of it,” he said. Detective Lenk and Sgt. Colborn were at the crime scene; Lenk never logged in on the day the RAV-4 was found and was caught lying on stand about it, and this was before blood spots were found by cops in the car. The cop who helps to cover up the log backs down right away after being questioned on stand. Lenk and Colborn INSISTED to volunteer to go search the house the day the key was found as well. Manitowoc police find the single bullet with Halbach DNA on it, four months later after the car was found and the place had been searched 18 times prior.
Kratz also expressed regret about a news conference he held when Mr. Dassey was charged in early 2006. The documentary show’s a description of the rape and murder of Ms. Halbach in front of a bank of news microphones, thus polluting the potential juror pool. Mr. Kratz thought, at the time, that it was important to refute accusations of wrongdoing by law enforcement officers, he said. “In retrospect, I wish I would have simply released the complaint and allowed the media to cover that however they wanted to.”
DA Ken Kratz’s emotionally charged press conference in which he outlined the Dassey “confession” DA Kratz makes the huge, dramatic press conference with Sheriff Cogol – If children under 15 stop watching – gives all the details of the gruesome crime that is absolutely unproven – full of sweat Steven at door – follows sweaty uncle down the hallway. “Evidence we uncover they find that the uncle tells the boy to rape her while she’s tied up.” No evidence of this action was EVER found to be true. NONE other than this press conference. He cuts her throat and she still doesn’t die? She was then shot in the bedroom, oh wait, no, in the garage to fit this other case. Oh, by the way, in this other case, we (state) admit we can’t prove the confession is good or real… thanks anyway for locking up Avery for us for life. Because of news media coverage that was done from the start, that made all locals think guilty from this point on. Brendan has only incriminated himself with that coerced “confession” and sealed his Uncles fate for the State.
Len has admitted he did make a mistake by letting Brendan to be questioned by O’ Kelly. When Brendan Dassey’s first lawyer bows out, says due to being related to Halbach, a new public defender is appointed (Len Kachinsky) and he’s a career-hungry worm more worried about advancement and media attention rather than protecting his client. Len Kachinsky says in one of his very first TV interviews that this will be his greatest professional challenge; he had just lost a judgeship (was in third place), his ego was hurt, and he knew this was a very high-profile case. Len Kachinsky loves the cameras and loves to smile, very inappropriately mind you. He implicated his client and never trusted his innocence by saying on TV that Brendan had his “Moral compass… shaped by someone he can only describe as ‘Evil Incarnate’ and he may be willing to go to plea deal before trial even takes place.” Len Kachinsky and his investigator Michael O’ Kelly were the worst things to ever happen to the Halbach and Brendan Dassey case.
Manitowoc investigators and DA tried to get Brendan and his mom to go against Steven (and his side of the family) in court, to get both to fight each other – that never ends up happening – to this day, the two men have taken higher charges and that is why there is no possibility of parole for Avery. If they had taken lesser charges, they could have a better chance in court but they must admit guilt.
Does the planting of evidence argument seem ridiculous?
As appalling as it seems to the State, as much disbelief as ex-DA Kratz likes to make it seem, and as blindly faithful the Halbach family has been made to feel and think, a badge does not make a person incorruptible. That sort of thinking and feeling is what authorities live and abide for; to stick up for one another no matter the crime by a fellow cop, until it finally interrupts into their own careers. With no checks and balances, this has now bled out an artery of corruption into every single-level of authority in the nation.
As I noted before, just take a look at what is going on here in neighboring Illinois, in the town of Fox Lake and the “G.I. Joe” cop Joe Gliniewicz. His “murder” had a town, law enforcement, and an entire nation mourning his life for being a hero cop. That is until the real truth of his suicide and long-covered up history of corruption was discovered. The badge does not exclude anyone from being human, especially when they have a motive. When law enforcement does that, they themselves become a bigger menace to the community than criminals.
If Manitowoc PD officers were so willing to do it to Steven Avery in 1986, why is it so hard to think they are willing to go along with this current suspicious investigation the way it has been handled and leaving real criminals run free while covering up their agendas? As it has happened here in Fox Lake, IL., the law enforcement feels the brunt of ire and public dismay for supporting such actions in their force at first. So if I was the public of Manitowoc today, I would have no faith in your entire police department and elected officials if the Dassey case has been able to get as far as it has already.
- Investigators took over the Avery farm with a warrant for an unprecedented length of time. This left plenty of time and opportunity for evidence tampering. They searched the location 18 times, and only finding key evidence with the assistance of Manitowoc police (who were not to be on the scene).
- Sgt. Jason Orth’s log of visitors to the crime scene was lacking a check-in from Lenk before the car was searched at the Avery land. But Lenk did log out from the scene.
- Nov. 13th 2005 – “That’s absurd,” says Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, who was appointed to the case. “Planting DNA evidence would mean someone is running around with vials of Avery’s blood,” Kratz said. Well that was before Avery’s lawyers were allowed to present evidence of how Buting, a year later, discovered a vial of Avery’s blood that was left unsecured in the Manitowoc County court clerk’s office.
- Blood was found only in spots in the car, Halbach’s blood was found in a pool with hair under a seat. But not a single Avery finger print in the car, on the car, or on the hood of the car. Not a single Dassey piece of DNA found in/on the car either.
- With both seals broken, the center top of the tube was punctured with a tiny hole from needle. The last person to sign off on this evidence box was Manitowoc’s very own Det. Lenk.
- Lab experts from Manitowoc and the FBI didn’t do proper lab work. Not the lab expert who destroyed evidence with incompetence. Also, not the FBI agent who tested one swab of three and assumes the rest would be the same. No lab expert or scientist in the history of CSI scientists has ever worked with assumptions. Theories yes, hypothesis yes, never on assumptions.
- However, it is much harder to envision officers getting their hands on Avery’s sweat when it comes down to evidence planting allegations. This is the only evidence that can be found, so far, with no clue of how tampering could have occurred. That does not mean we have figured out a clever way a cop could do that. As with the G.I. Joe cop from Fox Lake, he too threw off fellow investigators by knowing how to stage ‘planted evidence.’
- With Avery’s rifle matching the bullet that had suspicious microscopic amounts of Halbach’s DNA on it, they arrested Steven on Wednesday after they discovered two guns in his trailer. Convicted felons aren’t allowed to possess firearms in Wisconsin. Ex-DA Mr. Kratz also said a bullet with Ms. Halbach’s DNA on it found in Mr. Avery’s garage was matched to a rifle that hung over Mr. Avery’s bed. The gun was confiscated when officers searched his trailer on Nov. 5, 2005, and the bullet was found in the garage in March 2006, Mr. Kratz said. “If they planted it, how did they get a bullet that was shot from Avery’s gun before Nov. 5?” In Dassey’s confusing interview with police, the teen also said his uncle used a gun that hung above his bed. Dassey said the bullet in the garage came from a specific gun of Avery’s that hung on Avery’s wall and that forensic testing matched the bullet with the Halbach DNA to this specific gun. This bullet was found months later by a Manitowoc law enforcement officer after others missed it during repeated searches. This can be simply explained as officers taking Avery’s gun during the time they took over the Avery property and making their very own matching bullet, adding some Halbach blood found in a dried pool under the back seat of the car. Then it was placed for other police officers to find since the key evidence didn’t go over so well, being found by Lenk.
Let’s look deeper into the law enforcement in Manitowoc County at the time…
Former sheriff Manitowoc Kenneth Peterson:
Peterson was the one who told the 1985 rape victim that he would arrest Steven Avery. He was the arresting officer to Steven Avery in 1985. He has had a personal vested interest in all of Avery’s cases since his release in 2003. The sheriff was involved in the crushing deposition investigation lawsuit from Avery vs. the Manitowoc PD. He was one of the people on the hook for knowing Avery was innocent in 1986 and is looking at professional and personal ruin if found guilty, as he was looking to certainly be implicated. Peterson also had a clear dislike of Steven Avery.
- When questioned about the deposition on the stand, he does not recall it or what it was over, or that he had no knowledge of anyone else (like his very own officers, Lenk or Colborn) were being deposed during those days. Very strange, seeing how he was grilled hard in the deposition and was clearly going to go down in the lawsuit over $35 million dollars.
Kenneth Peterson, said on a LIVE TV interview,
Peterson: “The Avery’s are free to say what they want. If they think we planted evidence, they have to prove it, if they could. If we wanted to, um, eliminate Steve, it would’ve been a whole lot easier to eliminate Steve than to frame Steve. Hell….but”
Reporter: “What do you mean by ‘eliminate?'”
Peterson: “Like if we wanted him out of the picture or like in prison or if you wanted him killed, it would’ve been much easier just to kill him.”
The Lenk Connection:
A sample of Avery’s blood had been taken for DNA tests several years before he was released from prison. March 13, 1996, an evidence box is closed with the vile of blood. Lenk is the one who signed it off.
In 2005, it was discovered both seals had been broken on the packaged evidence and the test tube had a hole in the center on top of the tube.
The key is the piece of evidence the defense claims law enforcement planted. There are so many fishy things about the key, it should be inadmissible. It was found by a Manitowoc law enforcement official (Lenk and Colborn) days after others had already searched Avery’s residence repeatedly and had not found it. Manitowoc had already publicly handed over the case because of Avery’s pending wrongful conviction lawsuit against that agency. This same officer (Lenk) was deposed shortly before the murder in Avery’s $35 million dollar civil suit for his previous wrongful conviction. Lenk was also on the hook for professional and personal ruin if found guilty in the 1986 Avery case. Very weird.
Sg. Jason Orth’s log of visitors to the crime scene was lacking, as noted before. He backs down from original accounts when questioned on stand. Deputy Daniel Kucharski, Det. Lenk, and Sgt. Colborn were the only ones on the scene when the key was found. Kucharski (Calumet County) also backs down from original accounts when questioned in court. Lenk and Colborn called him saying that they wanted to search the house (the day the key was found). The only ones to stick to their story are Lenk and Colborn.
Lenk, who testified that he found the key to Halbach’s SUV in Avery’s bedroom, answered a number of questions from Strang that could suggest a motive for the alleged planting of evidence. Lenk denied it and said, “If I did it, I would admit it.”
• Lenk said he was not employed by the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department when the department arrested Avery in a 1985 assault. The same arrest by the Sheriff’s Department, which later was criticized for failing to investigate other suspects and led to Avery spending 18 years in prison before DNA tests freed him in 2003.
• Lenk said he was not worried that he would be sued along with Manitowoc County when Avery filed a $35 million lawsuit over the wrongful conviction.
• Lenk said he did not know that a vial of Avery’s blood was in the Manitowoc County Courthouse.
Colborn is at the preliminary hearing with the Kurcharki testimony, as he was the bailiff, and was able to hear witness statements from others in court about him and finding the key. Why?
Colborn is first to admit to shaking the bookcase vigorously that loosened the key to the floor, that no one heard fall – if shaken so violently, why are contents in the bookcase not shaken out? Compare the original first picture of the bookcase from evidence photos and the one where the key is on the floor next to the bookcase and you will see the discrepancy.
Colborn called in the missing plates, and knew the make of car, on Nov. 3rd – Colborn’s phone call to dispatch was recorded on Nov. 3, 2005, two days before the car was reported found in the Avery lot. What was he calling to check on?
The documentary makes a convincing case the police helped things along by planting evidence, especially the key. As for the car, that could have been the police or the actual murderer(s). I believe I have narrowed it down to a few scenarios and possible motives. That will all be reviewed in the final part 4 of this special series of my look into Making A Murderer.
Mark Wiegert and Tom Fassbender:
Law enforcement coerced Brendan Dassey’s confession in an attempt to further frame Avery. Kratz still believes the Dassey “confessions” to this day, even after seeing how mishandled the detectives conducted their interviews. You do not have to be an interview expert to see that. If you have seen over 100 police interviews or police confessions, it does not take long to hear, see, and feel how different Dassey is. Even when they question Dassey after the O’ Kelly interview, they are still shaping Brendan’s words. You could have told Brendan an alien helped him do the crime and that is exactly what he would tell you happened. He has no comprehension of what is going around him, he does not understand saying you killed someone will mean going to jail, and that he would not be going back to class in time for a project like they promised him. They played with his mind and said they would be his friend and help him from trouble since they knew what really happened. Wiegert and Fassbender just played the poor Brendan and let him go down for a crime he never committed.
May. 12, 2006: Judge Fox says the first confession is admissible and I ask, how did Len let it get this far? Judge Fox did not think the ‘confession’ would have been misleading. On that very same day, special agent Fassbender AND Len come out of a closed-door meeting together!!! That is when Len talks to Michael O’ Kelly. Len makes arrangements for O’ Kelly to meet with Brendan – a second confession and the drawing is made. Friday afternoon: This drawing and “confession” was supposed to be a backdoor deal with the police and Len to get Brendan to testify against Steven (not to be used in court). But since this next thing happened…
May, 13, 2006: Fassbender and Wiegert come out to see Brendan, they are told by Len that Brendan wants to speak, only this time with the new confession of course, right? Wrong! Dumb Brendan just goes back to his original statement and police don’t get what they want… what O’ Kelly was doing with Brendan earlier. Mark Wiegert makes it a note to tell Brendan that they came all the way out there on a Saturday morning. Brendan is grilled for over 3 1/2 hours. Mark and Tom get another “confession” – with no lawyer present – they make Brendan call his mom with this new “confession” and be “sorry” for what he did or else they will call her – that call is used in court, but only in snippets. Brendan doesn’t understand at all what anyone is trying to do to him. It’s so sad.
Michael O’ Kelly
The Michael O’ Kelly interview is even worse, disturbing to say the least. What O’ Kelly did on videotape is heinous, mental child abuse. His crying on the stand over Teresa’s blue ribbon that he created, was the Oscar nomination for worst acting ever; at a time he is asked a very critical accusation about his questioning tactics. This whole mess is used to implicate Dassey even more and make his case impossible to fight in the courts, even seeing how innocent he is proven with not a single spot of physical evidence to place him in any of the crime scenes. Only coerced confessions created by Mark Wiegert. Tom Fassbender and O’Kelly.
Michael O’Kelly — read in an email, on the stand, during the 10th episode. An email O’Kelly wrote about the Avery’s, who he said are “criminals” and “engaged in sexual activities with nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws.”
Other law enforcement questioned
Has anyone in the Manitowoc PD faced charges?
Aside from the allegation that the law enforcement framed Avery for Halbach’s murder, there’s undeniable proof that certain members failed in their duties. For example, Sgt. Andrew Colborn ignored a call from another office that could have freed Avery from his original incarceration much earlier, and Sgt. Jason Orth’s log of visitors to the crime scene was lacking, to say the least. But to the filmmakers’ knowledge, no one was reprimanded or demoted as a result.
“It’s quite the opposite, actually,” Making A Murderer filmmaker, Demos said. “People received awards. I think Kratz was named prosecutor of the year for winning the case; Tom Fassbender received an award for his role as an investigator on this case. So, no — their careers have been bolstered by this case.”
“And they’ve been promoted,” Ricciardi added. “I believe Colborn is a lieutenant now in the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department.” Lt. James Lenk has since retired.
Ricciardi and Demos appeared on the Today Show to announce that one of the trial’s jurors had contacted them to say that he or she had only gone along with the guilty voting because “they were fearful for their own safety.”
The jury is a big question mark in the ending half of the series. The documentary informs viewers that, at the start of deliberations, seven people believed Avery was innocent. But in the end, three jurors were able to sway the rest into guilty votes. “How did seven people get swayed?” Demos (a filmmaker from Making A Murderer) wondered aloud. “The one person who talks about what was going on [an excused juror named Richard Mahler] says that the three who said guilty refused to deliberate. And if they weren’t going to change their minds, what could the other seven do?”
Both Demos and Ricciardi feel the verdict itself was confusing: Avery was found guilty of murder but rendered innocent for mutilating the body. “What story are they telling about what happened to this woman?” Ricciardi said, adding that she’s long viewed it as a compromise between the jurors — a theory she’s been unable to prove because the jurors “entered into a pact, essentially, and would not speak publicly about their process.”
Ricciardi continued, “If it’s an unjust process, how will you know what has emerged is the truth? That’s really the question. I don’t think you can have truth without justice, so the question is: Can we trust the verdicts in either case?”
But some jurors ended up coming to Brendan’s trial, and the filmmakers take that as a sign they had lingering doubts about Avery’s guilt. “They clearly had questions after delivering an answer,” Demos said.
Before we get into the last part of our four-part special on Making A Murderer: Who Done It?, you must ask yourself the most important question of all, who has more motive to lie at the time and who would keep lying to this day?
Next In Our Making A Murderer Special: Part 4 – Who Done It?
The Making A Murder timeline:
Aug. 2, 1983: Gregory Allen, on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Two Rivers, starts stalking a woman walking in front of him. He pulls his shorts down, begins masturbating, and then lunges at the woman —who gets away. Allen later calls the woman twice at her home and asks her to drop the charges against him. The prosecutor against Allen is Denis Vogel. The charges were reduced from indecent exposure to disorderly conduct.
July 17, 1985: The City of Manitowoc Police Department assigns officers to conduct daily surveillance on Allen. He was identified as a suspect in several complaints of prowling, window peeping, indecent exposure, and sexual assault dating back to January of 1985 through July 14. “He is a dangerous individual with a potential for violence,” a police report stated.
July 29, 1985: Penny Ann Beernsten is attacked around 3:50 p.m. while jogging alone along the Lake Michigan shoreline north of Two Rivers by a scraggly haired man in a leather jacket. The man pulled out a knife and forced her into a wooded area. He sexually assaulted her, beat her and left her bloodied. At the hospital, Beernsten described her rapist. Deputy Sheriff Judy Dvorak made a comment that the attacker sounded like Steven Avery. Because of this statement, Manitowoc County Sheriff Tom Kocourek drew a composite sketch that looks uncanny to a previous Avery arrest photo. Kocourek asks for Avery’s photo to be included in a photo lineup.
From her hospital bed, that sketch is confirmed by Beernstein as her attacker. Next, Avery’s photo in the middle of nine photos is identified by the victim (who is also a prominent figure in the community), and the sheriff tells her he was going to arrest him (The photo lineup did not include her attacker Gregory Allen, who the Sheriff had access to as well). Three days later, Avery is identified a second time in a live photo lineup of suspects. (Allen, the real rapist, is not included in the live lineup either).
Dec. 14, 1985: Avery maintains his innocence. At trial, he produces 16 alibi witnesses. Receipts and employees at the ShopKo store in Green Bay confirmed Avery was inside the store at 5:13 p.m., — 75 minutes after the rape occurred. Still, Vogel and Kocourek were convinced Avery raped the victim. Even telling another police force that tried to warn them they had the wrong person. A cover-up happens. The jury finds Avery guilty of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree sexual assault and false imprisonment.
March 10, 1986: Manitowoc County Circuit Judge Fred Hazlewood sentences Avery to 32 years in prison.
Aug. 5, 1987: A Wisconsin appeals court rejects Avery’s bid to overturn his convictions.
March. 13, 1996: An evidence box is closed and sealed with a vile of Steven Avery’s blood – Lenk is the one who put it there and signed off on it.
Sept. 23, 1996: Judge Hazlewood denies Avery’s bid for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence that show scrapings taken from under the rape victim’s fingernails did not contain Avery’s DNA.
Aug. 5, 1997: An appeals court upholds Hazlewood’s 1996 decision.
April 3, 2002: Judge Hazlewood grants the Wisconsin Innocence Project permission to conduct new DNA testing, citing scientific advances made in DNA testing.
Sept. 10, 2003: The state crime lab tests 13 hairs recovered from the victim back in 1985. None match Avery. One matches Allen, who is now serving a 60-year prison sentence in Green Bay for a rape that occurred in Brown County. The criminal complaint against Allen for the Aug. 2, 1983 beach incident was contained in Vogel’s file for the 1985 case against Avery.
Sept. 11, 2003: Avery is freed from prison after spending 18 years locked away for a rape he did not commit.
Sept. 19, 2003: Wisconsin Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager assigns the Wisconsin Department of Justice to investigate the Avery case.
Dec. 19, 2003: A DOJ report finds no basis for bringing criminal charges or ethics violations against those Manitowoc County Sheriff’s officials and prosecutors involved in securing Avery’s wrongful conviction.
Oct. 12, 2004: Attorney Walt Kelley, of Milwaukee, files a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court on behalf of Avery. The suit seeks $36 million from Manitowoc County, Kocourek and Vogel (both are no longer in office).
Oct. 13 – 15, 2005: A crushing deposition is held involving Manitowoc law enforcement over Avery’s pending wrongful conviction lawsuit against that agency. Officers and officials were deposed in Avery’s $35 million dollar civil suit for his previous wrongful conviction because of the county and these people.
Oct. 31, 2005: Freelance photographer Teresa Halbach had three appointments to photograph vehicles for sale for Auto Trader magazine. The Avery Auto Salvage was slated to be her last stop of the day. Halbach is last reported seen by Avery, a bus driver, some kids on the bus, Steven’s step-nephew Bobby Dassey, and Brendan Dassey – the very last being Bobby Dassey who says that she (Halbach) is seen walking toward Steven’s door.
Nov. 1, 2005: The Steven Avery Bill is passed (today now renamed the “criminal justice reform bill”)
Nov. 3, 2005: Tom and Karen Halbach report their 25-year-old daughter missing.
Nov. 3, 2005: Colborn calls in Teresa Halbach’s license plates and knows the make of the car for no apparent reason.
Nov. 5, 2005: Pamala Sturm, who is given the only camera that day, is told to search the Avery land. Teresa’s cousin finds Halbach’s SUV inside the Avery A theuto Salvage yard within a half of an hour of being there. Police close off crime scene around Halbach’s vehicle.
Nov. 6: Lenk did not log in but logged out of the crime scene.
Nov. 6: As many as 200 police officers comb the Avery salvage yard.
Nov. 8: A Toyota key is found in Steven Avery’s trailer on the eighth search by Lenk, Colborn and a deputy.
Nov. 9: Authorities arrest Avery for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Nov. 10: Calumet County Sheriff Jerry Pagel announces that Halbach was murdered at the salvage yard. Bone fragments, teeth, and camera and cellphone pieces are found in a burn pit near Avery’s trailer.
Nov. 13, 2005: – “That’s absurd,” says Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, who was appointed to the case. “Planting DNA evidence would mean someone is running around with vials of Avery’s blood,” Kratz said. (Check Dec. 20, 2007)
Nov. 15: Calumet County special prosecutor Ken Kratz charges Avery with first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse, and possession of firearms by a felon. Kratz announces that Avery’s blood was found inside of Halbach’s vehicle and that Avery was the last person to see her alive.
Nov. 17, 2005: Demos and Ricciardi first learned of Steven Avery’s case when it made the front page of the New York Times while they were film students at Columbia University. ‘I cannot believe this,’” Ricciardi said. “The focus of that story was the backlash the Wisconsin Innocence Project was experiencing as a result of having been instrumental in freeing Steven. Of course, as it got deeper into the article, I realized that there was an apparent conflict of interest between the county and him.” They move to Wisconsin and are there when the March 2nd press conference happens. The investigation into the suit against Manitowoc is dropped. Judge Willis says there is enough to convict Avery at the preliminary hearing
Jan. 17, 2006: Avery pleads not guilty and insists he is innocent.
Jan. 19, 2006: An FBI laboratory determines that the remains found at the Avery salvage yard are Halbach’s.
Feb. 15, 2006: Steven Avery settles his $35 million lawsuit for only $400.000. Steven Avery had to settle just to get a lawyer, and Manitowoc and Tom Kocourek (former sheriff) get to say they had no blame in first arrest – no one is held responsible for Avery’s first jail time – does not change the real fact the police did indeed mess up in 1985, did try to cover up, did allow a real rapist to commit another crime, did feel career embarrassment, those liable to get out of $35M lawsuit, this was about to become national news, men were possibly facing losing jobs, reputation, retirement or also even a lawsuit from the woman who were attacked by the real 1985 rapist.
Feb. 16, 2006: Jodi (Steven’s fiancee) is interviewed and refuses to talk anymore with them
Feb. 27, 2006: Brendan Dassey taken out of school by Fassbender and Mark Wiegret
March 1, 2006: – THE interview with Wiegret where Brendan was tricked into “The Confession”
March. 2, 2006: DA Kratz makes the huge, dramatic press conference with Sheriff Cogol – if children under 15 stop watching – gives all the details of the gruesome crime that is absolutely unproven – Because of news media coverage that was done from the start, that made all locals think guilty from this point on.
March 2, 2006: Barb goes on TV saying Steven can go to Hell for what he did to her Son.
March. 2, 2006: Demos and Ricciardi decide to stay and make the documentary.
March. 3, 2006: The first lawyer for Brendan Dassey bows out, says due to being related to Halbach. The new public defender appointed is Len Kachinsky
March. 3, 2006: Four months after Halbach vanished, authorities arrest Avery’s 16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey as a co-conspirator. Dassey, the son of Avery’s sister, is charged with being party to first-degree intentional homicide, sexual assault, and mutilating a corpse. Dassey had lived on the Avery family property near Mishicot.
March. 4, 2006: Barbara finds out that Brendan was tricked again by cops, Len and O’ Leary
March. 8, 2006: Special prosecutor Kratz also charges Avery with kidnapping, false imprisonment and sexual assault with a dangerous weapon, due to Brendan’s ‘confession.’
March. 31, 2006: Steven is interviewed by the Associated Press – Len says that this was a message to a nephew who “isn’t very smart“. Len goes along with this and says on TV that not very smart is a message to his client – Len says in the papers that he wants to toss out the first confession for not being consistent.
May. 12, 2006: Judge Fox says the first confession is admissible – how did Len let it get this far? Fox did not think the ‘confession’ must have been misleading. On that very same day, special agent Fassbender AND Len come out of a closed-door meeting together!!! That is when Len talks to Michael O’ Kelly. Len makes arrangements for O’ Kelly to meet with Brendan – a second confession and the drawing is made.
May. 12, 2006: Mark Halbach has not seen the confession, makes him look like an idiot – as the brunette reporter rolls her eyes at him.
May. 12, Friday afternoon: This drawing and “confession” was supposed to be a backdoor deal with the police and Len to get Brendan to testify against Steven. Not to be used in court. But since this next thing happened…
May. 13, 2006: Fassbender and Wiegert come out and they are told by Len that Brendan wants to speak. Brendan is grilled for over 3 1/2 hours. Mark and Tom get another “confession” – no lawyer present – they make Brendan call his mom with this new “confession” and be “sorry” for it or else they will call her – that call is used in court, but only in snippets. Brendan doesn’t understand at all what anyone is trying to do to him. It’s sad.
May. 14, 2006: Brendan wanted a new lawyer but was denied by Judge Fox
Dec. 20, 2006: Avery’s defense attorneys, Dean Strang, of Madison, and Jerome Buting, of Brookfield, find an 11-year-old vial of Steven Avery’s blood inside an unsecured area of the Manitowoc County Clerk of Courts office. The downtown courthouse is next to the sheriff’s office.
Jan. 29, 2007: As part a pretrial ruling, Manitowoc County Circuit Judge Patrick Willis dismisses two of the criminal charges against Avery (first-degree sexual assault and kidnapping).
Jan. 30, 2007: Judge Willis rules that Avery’s lawyers are free to tell the jury about the old vial of Avery’s blood.
Feb. 2, 2007: Judge Willis denies a request by Avery’s lawyers to delay the trial to allow testing on the 1996 sample of Avery’s blood to bolster the defense’s theory that Avery is being framed by the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office for Halbach’s murder.
Feb. 9, 2007: A jury of Manitowoc County residents hear the Avery jury trial. The trial is held in Chilton at the Calumet County Courthouse. The trial included 19 days of testimony from 59 witnesses. Avery’s lawyers contend that Manitowoc County Sheriff’s officers planted evidence against him in retaliation for a lawsuit Avery filed against the county seeking $35 million for the wrongful conviction. After being charged with murder, Avery settled the $35 million lawsuit for about $400,000. He needed the money to pay for the private defense lawyers in Halbach’s case.
March 18, 2007: The Manitowoc County jury of six men and six women deliberate for nearly 22 hours over three days. The jury finds Avery guilty of intentional homicide and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The jury acquitted Avery of mutilation of a corpse.
April 25, 2007: A Dane County jury found Dassey, then 17, guilty in the rape, murder and mutilation of Halbach
June 1, 2007: Avery, then 44, is sentenced to life imprisonment with no chance for parole in connection with Halbach’s death.
Aug. 2, 2007: Dassey is sentenced to life in prison. He becomes eligible for parole in 2048 after serving 41 years.
Aug. 24, 2011: Avery’s murder conviction is upheld by the 2nd District Court of Appeals.
Jan. 30 2013: A state Court of Appeals rejected a request from Dassey, Avery’s nephew, to get a new trial.
Aug. 1, 2013: The Wisconsin Supreme Court denied Dassey’s bid to review the case.
Dec. 14, 2015: Netflix releases a 10-episode documentary about Steven Avery called, “Making a Murderer.”