In 2006, at only 16-years-old, Brendan Dassey confessed to helping Steven Avery rape, kill, and dismember Teresa Halbach. Yet, the popular Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer didn’t include the teen’s entire confession. This news is sparking mixed reactions among viewers and attorneys alike.
The Hollywood Reporter (THN) reports that HLN host Nancy Grace recently shared the entire interrogation that occurred between detectives and Dassey on May 13, 2006, at the Calumet County Sheriff’s Office, in Chilton, Wisconsin.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 16, 2016
With more than 700 hours of footage, the writers and directors of Making a Murderer, Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi had to trim it down to fit into 10 episodes. Tech Insider reports that Dassey’s interrogation alone was around eight hours long.
What did viewers miss in the documentary? According to a six-part YouTube upload of the parts of the interrogation left out, apparently a lot. The video below is perhaps the most incriminating, as Dassey detailed how Teresa Halbach was raped, killed and, burned in a fire pit shortly before she was she was bound up in the back of her own truck, dead.
Dassey also confessed the details of what happened prior to Avery placing Halbach’s body in her truck.
“And he showed me that she was laying on the bed, her hands were roped up to the bed and that her legs were cuffed. And then he told me to have sex with her and so I did because I thought I was not gonna get away from ’em cuz he was too strong, so I did what he said and then after that, he untied her and uncuffed her and then he brought her outside and before he went outside, he told me to grab her clothes and her shoes. So we went into the garage and before she went out, when before he took her outside, he had tied up her hands and feet and then was in the garage and he stabbed her and then he told me to. And, after that he wanted to make sure she was dead or somethin’ so he shot her five times and while he was doing that I wasn’t looking because I can’t watch that stuff. So I was standing by the big door in the garage and then after that, he took her outside and we put her on the fire and we used her clothes to clean up the, some of the blood.”
Dassey went on to replay how Halbach was stabbed in the chest and stomach while she was screaming for help. The teen also indicated that the entire ordeal was planned beforehand with his uncle Steven Avery, who told him that he needed help killing a girl who “looked good and she was pretty nice.”
The problem, however, according to attorney Steven Drizin, co-founder of Northwestern University’s Center for Wrongful Convictions of Youth, is that regardless of what was left out of the documentary, he believes that Dassey is a victim of the “Reid” technique, a type of interrogation said “to elicit confessions, not get to the truth.”
“Brendan’s confession is one of the most contaminated confessions I’ve ever seen. He keeps getting wrong answers, and the interrogators keep correcting him and feeding him the answers they want to hear.”
Dassey continues to receive support from a mass of people after he was interrogated without the presence of an attorney, and as a minor at the time, without the presence of his parents. For many, the Dassey case is reminiscent of the West Memphis 3 case, in which a teenager with a low IQ, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., was coerced into confessing that he helped killed three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, in 1993.
Although Misskelley, Jr., retracted his confession, he was eventually found guilty of murder, along with his friends Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin. The case garnered massive attention after HBO showed several documentaries on the teens, which resulted in a public outcry, similar to Avery and Dassey’s situation. Although the West Memphis 3 were eventually released, they spent more than 15 years in prison. Similar to Avery and Dassey, all three of the West Memphis 3 came from poor backgrounds.
Dassey pleaded “not guilty” during his trial, claiming that not only was he coerced during the interrogation, but that he also made up most of what what he said by remembering things from the James Patterson book, “Kiss the Girls.” Regardless, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison at age 17. Brendan Dassey is currently serving his time at Green Bay Correctional Facility in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
[Photo by Dan Powers AP Photo/Pool]