In a twist in the case of Making a Murderer subject Steven Avery, a set of phone records obtained by his attorney do not match what the prosecution presented during his 2006 trial.
According to Teresa Halbach’s Cingular Wireless phone records presented as evidence by Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, there were 16 cell phone transmissions by Halbach’s Motorola RAZR between 8:17 a.m., and 12:52 p.m., on October 31, 2005, both incoming and outgoing calls.
A report Zellner obtained from AT&T, which has since acquired Cingular Wireless, does not show two calls crucial to the state’s case. A call at 2:12 p.m., believed to be when Halbach called George and JoEllen Zipperer and left a message saying she couldn’t find their house, is not listed. A 2:27 p.m. call an Auto Trader employee said Teresa made because she couldn’t find Avery’s property is not listed on the latest report either.
Zellner questions the validity of the 2:27 call, and claims Auto Trader receptionist Dawn Pliszka was wrong when she testified to speaking to Teresa for approximately five minutes.
But the questionable existence of the call is not the only pink elephant for Zellner. Pliszka testified that Halbach told her she was on her way to Avery’s, something the state needs in its timeline for it make sense. If Avery’s is not Halbach’s last stop, Kratz’s timeline falls apart. Zellner maintains that is exactly what has happened with her latest barrage of scientific tests.
According to Avery, Halbach arrived to take a picture of his sister’s van at 2:31 p.m., and she was finished within a few minutes. Spotty testimony from JoEllen Zipperer, cell tower data, and new phone records tell another story, however.
Zipperer initially told police Halbach came to her home to photograph her grandson’s car between 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., but wasn’t sure, evident when she testified it could have been as late as 3:30. Mrs. Zipperer reverted to her original statement when Kratz refreshed her memory with the signed statement she provided to Calumet County Investigator John Dedering on Nov. 6, 2005. Zipperer said she saw Halbach head away from her house on foot, but she did not see her drive away.
Cell Tower Data
Cell data gleaned from the state’s report shows that Teresa made a call to Auto Trader customer Steven Schmitz in New Holstein, Wisconsin, at 12:51 p.m. Before that, at what the state showed as 11:43 a.m., she left a message for Avery’s sister, Barb Janda, because she did not have her address. She apparently did not make the connection to Avery, someone she’d visited several times. Both calls pinged a cell tower in the town of Hilbert, near the home Teresa shared with roommate Scott Bloedorn.
Schmitz testified that Halbach photographed his car at 1:30 p.m.
At 1:52 p.m., Halbach received a call that pinged a tower in Whitelaw, Wisconsin, about 12 miles from Avery’s Auto Salvage. The state said that was to the Zipperers at 2:12 p.m, and she checked her voicemail at 2:13. Both calls serviced by a Sector 3 of Tower 2192 in Mishicot, indicating she was moving toward the Avery property.
Avery called Halbach using *67 at 2:24 p.m., but she did not answer. He said in an affidavit dated November 23, 2016, that she arrived at 2:31 p.m. She snapped the picture and handed him a copy of Auto Trader during an exchange of $40. That’s when he said Halbach drove away and signaled a left turn off of his property.
He called Teresa two more times, once at 2:35 p.m., and again at 4:35 p.m. He said he made the calls because he wanted her to return and photograph a front-end loader.
Where Teresa Halbach went from there is still in question. Kratz claimed she never the left the property and that at 4:35 p.m., Avery made an “alibi call” to Halbach. At that time, he said, the sexual assault and torture had already begun inside the trailer.
However, according to the state’s Cingular Wireless report, calls made after 2:25 p.m., indicated Halbach was traveling away from the salvage yard. The call the state’s report says was at 2:41 hit Tower 21101 in Whitelaw, the same tower Halbach’s phone signaled at 1:52 p.m. The Whitelaw tower is also a sector tower, and the call hit Sector 3.
“She goes back the same way she came,” Zellner told Newsweek last March. “She’s 12 miles from the (Avery) property on the last ping.”
The latest batch of phone records also brings into question whether Avery ever used the *67 call blocking feature. He claims he used *67 to block the 2:24 call so Halbach wouldn’t have his number and feel like she needed to call him back. The 2017 AT&T reports do not show the feature had been used.
[Featured Image by Kirk Wagner/AP Images]