Steven Avery of the popular Netflix series Making a Murderer is getting a new high-profile attorney, but the question remains — will the new attorney be able to prove that Avery was set up as the series seems to suggest?
As reported by ABC News, Kathleen Zellner of The Law Firm of Kathleen Zellner and Associates, P.C., in Downers Grove, Illinois, announced in a press release Friday that the firm would be representing Steven Avery in his criminal case.
“The Zellner Law Firm is looking forward to adding Mr. Avery to its long list of wrongful conviction exonerations.”
Zellner, who often represents clients who claim to be wrongly accused, was Ryan Ferguson’s lawyer. She successfully proved that Fergusson did not commit the murder, and he was released from prison. She did the same for Mario Casciaro, who was convicted of the murder of missing teen Brian Carrick. He was released last September.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) January 9, 2016
According to the release, Zellner will be assisted by local Wisconsin counsel, Tricia Bushnell.
Making a Murderer is a Netflix series that has caused quite the stir and massive sympathy for Avery. An online petition on the White House website has received more than 387,000 signatures asking for a presidential pardon. The White House responded that, constitutionally, the president can only issue pardons in federal cases, noting that the Avery case can only be pardoned by the governor of Wisconsin.
The documentary follows the travails of Avery, a Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, native who spent 18 years behind bars for a sexual assault he didn’t commit. Exonerated by DNA evidence in 2003, Avery later filed a $36 million lawsuit against the county, its former sheriff, Thomas Kocourek, and former district attorney, Denis Vogel.
— ABC News (@ABC) January 6, 2016
Before the civil case was settled in 2006 for $400,000, Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, were convicted of killing photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005, according to the Associated Press. Halbach had been assigned to take pictures of a van at the Avery auto yard for AutoTrader, and was never seen again.
Avery pleaded not guilty. However, he and his nephew were convicted of the crime in 2007. Avery was sent back to prison to serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole. An appeal by Avery to overturn the verdict was unsuccessful in 2011, according to reports.
The makers of the series insinuate through interviews and documents that members of local law enforcement were part of a large conspiracy to get Avery behind bars at any cost, and try to prove that Avery was set up.
Avery’s new legal team apparently seem to agree with the premise of the series, and will try to prove that he is innocent once again.
Not everyone thinks Avery is innocent. Nancy Grace set out to prove that Avery was indeed the murderer of the young photographer on Friday’s episode of Nancy Grace Mysteries.
— EntertainmentTonight (@etnow) January 10, 2016
Apparently, Grace has always believed that Avery was guilty, and believes the jury and the prosecutors got it right from the get-go. She told TVNewser that the series is nothing more than a slick piece of editing and doesn’t show both sides of the story.
“What, to me, is unjust is trying to force the White House or the government into a pardon. When you look at the Netflix documentary, it’s a beautifully put together piece and very persuasive. But it’s like having one half of a trial. It’s not the whole story.”
What is your opinion? Is Steven Avery guilty of the brutal rape and murder of Teresa Halbach?
[Image via Twitter/Making a Murderer]