Numerous people who support Making a Murderer‘s Steven Avery are willing to donate money to help get him released from prison. Yet, with the popularity of the case come fraudulent sites requesting donations while posing as authentic organizations. Wrongful conviction attorney Kathleen Zellner announced on Sunday that there is only one place that people should donate to.
Zellner, who was hired in January to work as Avery’s wrongful defense lawyer, took to Twitter to tell Avery supporters that, if they want to contribute to his legal defense fund, all donations should go to official donation page, located on her site.
According to her Twitter post, Zellner warned people that no other site is authorized by Avery to take donations on his behalf. She also clarified that any money donated would be used solely for Avery’s defense fund.
“…From this point forward, no other site is authorized to receive donations on Mr. Avery’s behalf. All of these donations will be used exclusively for Mr. Avery’s legal defense. The law firm of Kathleen T. Zellner and Associates, P.C., are working pro bono. The donations will be used to pay for the new scientific testing required to obtain the release of Mr. Avery. Any donations on Mr. Avery’s behalf are greatly appreciated.”
According to Zellner’s website, supporters can also use the designated Steven Avery page to communicate directly with her about tips and other information that could help get him exonerated.
The Wrap reports that someone who’s allegedly from the Avery family opened up a donation website earlier this year, asking for money to help Steven and his nephew Brendan Dassey, both of whom are serving life sentences for the 2005 murder of 25-year-old freelance photographer Teresa Halbach.
The site, entitled the AveryDasseyFund, directs people on how to send money to them via PayPal, money that would purportedly go directly to Avery and Dassey in prison, or directly to Avery’s mother, Dolores. The family members reportedly running the site supposedly complained that so many fraudulent sites had been set up that they weren’t seeing a lot of donations. Yet, by late January, the donation site had received around $2,100, while the Avery family home had received $1,200 directly.
The AveryDasseyFund site stated that all donations would go to aiding in the defense of both Avery and Dassey, but at the time, most money went to Dassey’s defense attorney, as Avery had yet to hire Zellner to defend him. According to the site:
“The amount of investigation and defense it will take to untangle this web of manipulation, beyond comprehension twisting of facts and tainted testimony will be like that never undertaken if we expect fair results and representation.”
After Zellner was hired to take on Avery’s case, however, the AveryDasseyFund site went under construction, and the previous “Contact Us” page, which gave supporters information on where to donate, has been removed from the site. It can still be opened, however, via an old link, which still provides Avery’s mailing address in prison.
However, no one in the Avery family has come forward to claim making the website, which can mean that the site is just as fraudulent as the other fake sites attempting to squeeze money out of sympathetic Avery supporters.
Meanwhile, although she’s remained closed-mouthed on the evidence and information found, Zellner continues to work on Avery case. She reaches out periodically via Twitter to let people know that she feels an exoneration is coming soon. Zellner hinted toward cellphone records playing a big part in the mission to free Steven Avery, along with new scientific testing that wasn’t available when the Wisconsin man was convicted.
[Photo by AP/ Don Shrubshell, Pool]