Kathleen Zellner Arrives In Wisconsin, Files Motion For Steven Avery

With a tight deadline to file an appeals brief on Making a Murderer‘s Steven Avery, wrongful conviction attorney Kathleen Zellner appeared at the Manitowoc County courthouse today to file a motion for new scientific testing.

Zellner signed on to represent Avery, 54, earlier this year after watching the famous Netflix docu-series and pouring through hundreds of pages of case files, many of which didn’t make sense to her. Since then, Zellner has been immersed in the case, working with a number of professionals, including scientists all over the world who’re experienced with new, state-of-the-art scientific testing.Zellner stated the following.

“I filed a motion for new scientific testing on the Steven Avery case. We’re requesting to test dozens of items from the crime scene. The testing spans all the way from radiocarbon-14 testing, DNA methylation, body identification, new DNA testing, testing of items that were previously [but with] new DNA methods…. MicroTrace testing of different items to detect whether there are contaminants on those items, so we can determine whether or not the items of evidence were planted.

“I think this will be the most comprehensive testing motion ever filed in the state of Wisconsin; probably one of the most comprehensive motions ever filed in the United States. We’re using scientists from Stockholm, Sweden, Vienna, Austria, California, [and] Illinois….So, we’ve got a large number of scientists that will be doing the testing.”

When asked about Avery’s potential release date, Zellner said the new motion will stay the pending appeal that was previously filed, and as soon as the scientific test results arrive, she plans to file a post-conviction petition, where she’ll combine the new scientific test results with the previous investigation work that her and her team already completed. The testing will likely take around three months before it’s complete.

Zellner also said that most wrongful convictions are not overturned by simply appealing the case, but more so during the post-conviction stage. What this means for Steven Avery is that he isn’t getting out within the next few months, but if Zellner’s plans go accordingly, he may see his freedom shortly after the post-conviction petition, should it be successful.

The wrongful conviction attorney still stands firm in her belief in Avery’s innocence. Avery is currently serving a life sentence for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, a 25-year-old freelance photographer who was last seen taking photos of a van on Avery’s property. Zellner, along with many supporters, feel that detectives planted evidence on Avery’s property, and framed him for a murder he didn’t commit.

“No one who’s guilty would ever allow this extensive testing to be done. From fibers to contaminants, to DNA to blood aging….all of those things are going to be done in this. So I think that, the thing that you most want to take away from this is, read the motion. No one guilty would ever allow this happen. These tests are going to establish definitively the age of the blood in the victim’s vehicle.

We are going to know through testing whether the blood the in the RAV (Halbach’s Toyota RAV4) was planted from the 96 vial.”

In 1996, Avery willingly gave a blood sample to Manitowoc County police. The vial was preserved and has been sitting in the police forensics room ever since. Zellner contends that authorities may have taken blood from the vial and placed it on Halbach’s vehicle. She explained that scientists indicated that the way the blood was found on Halbach’s car didn’t make sense.

For instance, Avery’s blood wasn’t mixed with Halbach’s blood on the vehicle, which never happens, according to Zellner, during a crime. She indicated that the team of scientists she worked with confirmed that it’s highly unusual, if not impossible, to have only Avery’s blood present without being with Halbach’s blood if he indeed murdered her.

“We’re going to find out one way or the other: was the evidence planted? Mr. Avery has already completed a series of tests that will conclusively establish his innocence.”

In addition to dozens of reporters who surrounded Kathleen Zellner as she exited the courthouse, the entire event was captured live by the Facebook group, the Steven Avery & Brendan Dassey Project, which currently has over 17,000 members.

[Photo by Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images]

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