A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Justice confirmed that Brendan Dassey would not be released on Friday. The rumor surfaced after the attorney for Making a Murderer’s Steven Avery alluded to Dassey’s release via Twitter.
ABC News reports that wrongful conviction lawyer Kathleen Zellner posted a few tweets that insinuated that Dassey was getting out of prison this week. Dassey’s murder conviction was overthrown last month by a federal judge, but the state has 90 days to appeal the decision. So far, the state hasn’t taken action. Shortly after Zellner posted the tweets, however, she removed them.
DOJ spokesperson Johnny Koremenos stated that despite the social media speculation surrounding Dassey’s release, there are no plans to release him on Friday.
“I am aware of the rumors floating out there, and there is no truth to them. There is nothing new to share today.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, Dassey’s lawyer (Zellner doesn’t represent Dassey), also touched on the speculation. He indicated on Thursday that he wasn’t ready to make any announcements on Dassey just yet.
“I’m not prepared to make any announcements on that yet. We have made some decisions, but I’m not prepared to announce that right now.”
Meanwhile, The Mirror reports that Barb Tadych, Dassey’s mother, who appeared numerous times throughout Making a Murderer as she relentlessly stood by her son’s side, apparently said that he’s excited to come home, but feels trepidation about it. Dassey was only 16 when he was sent to prison in 2007 for the murder of freelance photographer, Teresa Halbach. Tadych said the following.
“He is very excited to get out of there and he knows he doesn’t belong in there. But I think he’s scared a little bit of going into the outside world, it’s changed big time.”
Feeling apprehensive is normal for a large percentage of prisoners who learn they’ll be released, especially those with mental health issues or substance abuse problems. According to substance abuse and mental health expert Terence T. Gorski, around 60 percent of people incarcerated for long periods experience Post Incarceration Syndrome (PICS) upon release. PICS is a serious issue caused by “prolonged incarceration in environments of punishment with few opportunities for education, job training, or rehabilitation.”
PICS generally affects people who’ve been incarcerated for more than year and symptoms can range from developmental regression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), repression of feelings and lifestyle preferences, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and “intense immobilizing fear” when thinking of how to cope in the outside world.
“He’s going to get counselling, I’m getting help from his attorney in having it all set up for when he’s released. He didn’t belong in there ten years ago, he doesn’t belong there now. There can’t be a retrial. They have nothing whatsoever. His confession was false to begin with.”
The question of when and if Dassey will be released still remains. The Wisconsin Attorney General has until November 12 to decide whether to appeal the overturned conviction. Tadych thinks she’ll have her son home before the deadline. Yet, she also understands that Dassey will come home to no savings or emergency funds to help get him on his feet. She started a GoFundMe page, in anticipation of his release, asking supporters to chip in to make life a bit easier for him when he gets out. The fundraising page states the following.
“The sad truth is that Brendan went into prison as a child and he will be coming home a man. Brendan will have many needs, ranging from clothing to transportation. If you are able, please consider making a donation to help Brendan’s family care for his needs when he comes home.”
The second installment of Making a Murderer, currently being filmed, will shine more light on Brendan Dassey and the details surrounding the post-conviction process.
[Image via Netflix]