The Netflix original documentary series Making a Murderer has been gaining a lot of attention for making a compelling case for the innocence of convicted murderer Steven Avery. Many who have seen Making a Murderer are so convinced that Steven Avery was wrongfully convicted that they’ve rallied for his release at Change.org. The “Free Steven Avery” petition is nearing 300,000 signatures. But it appears that no amount of signatures will help. The only man who has the power to free Steven Avery from prison is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and he’s not even going to consider it.
Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey are both serving life sentences in prison for the murder of a photographer named Teresa Halbach. Making a Murderer documents the trials of both men, leading up to convictions that many viewers believe were unjust.
According to the Huffington Post, Governor Scott Walker has been asked directly to grant a pardon to the Making a Murderer subjects, but the politician made a promise when he first took office not to issue any pardons at all. A press secretary spoke on behalf of Scott Walker, reaffirming the governor’s refusal to free Steven Avery.
“These events took place before Governor Walker took office. Governor Walker has not watched this documentary,” press secretary Laurel Patrick told the Huffington Post.“As you may know, early in his administration, Governor Walker made the decision not to issue pardons. Those who feel they have been wrongly convicted can seek to have their convictions overturned by a higher court.”
Many fans of Making a Murderer find the case for Steven Avery’s innocence overwhelming, believing that simply watching the documentary series is all you need to do to demand Avery’s freedom. For that reason, many are hoping Scott Walker will at least give Making a Murderer a chance.
In lieu of Scott Walker’s support, others have reached out to Barack Obama for a presidential pardon. But, as Fox 6 Now points out, Obama could not actually grant a pardon to Steven Avery, even if he wanted to. The United States president cannot grant a pardon or release anyone convicted of a state offense, only a federal offense. This means that Scott Walker is quite literally the only chance Steven Avery has of freedom, and it’s not looking good.
Scott Walker did address the issue directly on January 5, not only sticking to his objection to pardons, but also trusting that the legal system is working as it should.
“Just because a documentary on TV says something doesn’t mean that’s actually what the evidence shows. The bottom line is that there was a crime that was committed a decade ago. There is a system in the judicial system by which individuals can petition the courts to get relief like others have done in the past that shows that someone might actually be innocent. But I am not going to override a system that is already put in place.”
And perhaps Governor Scott Walker is right about Making a Murderer getting the facts wrong. A recent report from the Inquisitr suggests one key piece of evidence is missing from the documentary series. Read more about that here.
Meanwhile, Scott Walker and his press secretary have suggested that Steven Avery and his lawyers request a new trial from the higher courts, but a request was made four years ago and it was denied.
Do you think Steven Avery should be exonerated? Do you think Scott Walker should pardon him and Brendan Dassey? Have you seen Making a Murderer?
(Photos by APImages/Morry Gash and Win McNamee/Getty Images)