Making a Murderer may have a happy ending after all, at least for Brendan Dassey.
As the Associated Press reports, on Friday a judge overturned Brendan Dassey’s murder conviction citing that police used “deceptive tactics” to get him to confess to helping his uncle, Steven Avery, commit murder.
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) August 13, 2016
Milwaukee U.S. Magistrate William Duffin ordered Brendan Dassey freed within 90 days of the ruling. His release will go forward if prosecutors decide not to try him once again. The state could potentially appeal the ruling but the Milwaukee State Department of Justice, who tried the case, did not comment to the press on Friday.
“This is right, this is justice,” Dassey’s attorney Laura Nirider told ABC News on Friday night, Us Weekly reports. “We are over the moon. We were notified by email and I read this decision on my phone … 91 pages, unbelievable.”
Dassey had previously confessed to helping Steven Avery commit the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach, a photographer for an auto magazine whose remains was found on Steven Avery’s property. Dassey’s attorneys claimed that his rights were trampled on during the murder investigation. Dassey did not testify at Steven Avery’s trial and his confession was not submitted as evidence.
Nirider said that she broke down crying when she learnt about the judge’s decision. She added that Dassey’s family were also deeply moved by the ruling and were “grateful, in shock, trying to process this.”
The Mirror reports that Steven Avery has said he is “happy” that his nephew’s conviction has been overturned, but one wonders what will happen to him now that Dassey may walk free.
— ABC News (@ABC) August 13, 2016
“We are thrilled for Brendan Dassey that his conviction has been overturned. We fully expected this outcome from an unbiased court that carefully examined his confession,” a statement from Avery’s legal team read.
As the Mirror reports, attorney Kathleen Zellner started representing Steven Avery in January after a new appeal was filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court based on alleged violations of process rights.
“I was just visiting Steven Avery and he is so happy for Brendan, ” Zellner said to the press recently. “We know when an unbiased court reviews all of the new evidence we have, Steven will have his conviction overturned as well.”
Avery had been previously convicted for the 1985 rape of Penny Beernsten. He spent 18 years in jail before DNA evidence definitively proved that he was not guilty.
Authorities later discovered that the rapist was Gregory Allen. It was also later revealed that the Manitowoc County Sheriff department were aware that Allen could have been a suspect but went after Steven Avery unfairly.
In 2005, just two years after he was released from prison, Avery was arrested for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Investigators claimed that she was last seen at the Avery residence.
The case, which was profiled on Netflix’s hit series Making a Murderer, became a national sensation, prompting many to call on authorities to reopen it. The Mirror reports that Netflix has since announced that Making A Murderer Season 2 is in production where the directors will chronicle Avery’s struggle to get his conviction overturned.
Making A Murderer executive producers and directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos will therefore be featuring Avery’s new lawyer Kathleen Zellner as well as Dassey’s legal team, headed by Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin.
The creators of the popular Netflix series have stated that they intend to examine the alarming new developments in the Dassey case that could get him released.
“Today was a major development for the subjects in our story and this recent news shows the criminal justice system at work,” they said via a written statement to the press.
“As we have done for the past 10 years, we will continue to document the story as it unfolds, and follow it wherever it may lead.”
[Photo by Morry Gash/AP Images]