With recent news of Brendan Dassey’s murder conviction overturned, the question remains whether Steven Avery, the centerpiece of Making a Murderer, will be next. While supporters are hoping he’ll soon find his freedom, others aren’t so sure of his innocence.
The New York Times reports that Avery, 54, along with his attorney, Kathleen Zellner, are gearing up for next week’s court hearing, where she’ll file a motion to access the DNA evidence used against him in his 2007 murder trial. Avery is serving a life sentence for the 2005 murder of the 25-year-old freelance photographer, Teresa Halbach, and since the beginning, he’s maintained his innocence.
If she gains access to the evidence used to convict Avery, Zellner plans to test it using new technology that wasn’t available in 2007. She also has an idea of who the “real killer” might be, although she hasn’t released his/her name publicly, in fear of alerting the possible suspect.
“There is evidence that already exists in the case that points to a different location and a different suspect. We’ve got a combination of forensic evidence and a tip from somebody that we’ve interviewed multiple times that we think is credible.”
As it stands, prosecutors presented Avery’s DNA and blood evidence found on Halbach’s car, along with his DNA on a bullet case and on her car key. Zellner, along with numerous supporters, feel that the evidence was tampered with, and that authorities may have even planted Avery’s blood themselves. Zellner is hopeful that she’ll be able to prove her theories within a few months, although she still isn’t sure if all tested parts will be successful.
“It’s possible all of it will be done within 60 days. It may not all be successful, but I believe if even one bit of evidence is planted, the conviction is going to be vacated.”
Zellner also said that the blood found on the front of Halbach’s Toyota RAV4 was solely Avery’s, with Halbach’s blood found on the back of the car. She indicated that a forensic scientist she’s working with stated that there should have been a mixture of blood at the crime scene.
“This is a crime scene that just doesn’t make sense.”
Part of the examination will include forensic experts examining Avery’s blood sample that was used as evidence, to determine whether it contains traces of EDTA. Short for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, EDTA is a chemical used to preserve blood samples, typically used by authorities when collecting samples from suspects. In 2002, a vial of Avery’s blood was collected, and has been in a Manitowoc County police evidence room ever since.
During Avery’s trial, the FBI analyzed the blood found on Halbach’s car, and concluded that no EDTA was present. The problem, however, is that the test was a rush request by the prosecution. Rolling Stone reports that if in-depth independent testing, without the influence of the prosecution, shows that traces of EDTA are indeed in the blood sample, it would be powerful enough to at least get Avery a new trial. Zellner is hoping to get his conviction completely overturned without the need for another exhausting trial.
“None of this really matters even a little bit when it comes to the conviction of Steven Avery. While the directors lingered on Dassey’s confession for extended periods of time, his case was separate from Avery’s.”
Harsanyi also touched on the topic of Avery supporters, insinuating that those who believe in his innocence also believe that authorities pulled off an underhanded scheme that compares to the James Bond movie, Spectre. He did admit, however, that if new evidence emerges that points to Avery’s innocence, he would possibly change his mind.
“If your contention is that Avery is innocent, you must also believe that a string of clandestine schemes were pulled off by a group of law enforcement officials (or some other unknown person) who exhibited a level of proficiency that rivals SPECTRE.”
Regardless, millions of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey supporters worldwide find it fully plausible that the Manitowoc County men were set up, and that Avery fell victim to a callous and unethical police tactic. If Zellner’s plan goes accordingly, Avery’s conviction could be thrown out within months.
[Image via Netflix]