Kathleen Zellner: Ryan Hillegas Theory Originated In 2007

Don ShrubshellAP

Although Kathleen Zellner is said to have dropped a bombshell last month when she presented Teresa Halbach’s ex-boyfriend as the person who most likely killed her, the lawyer said the idea that Ryan Hillegas was a possible suspect originated in 2007 by Steven Avery’s trial lawyers.

“Naming RH as a potential suspect did not originate w/us. It happened in 2007. #MakingAMurderer #Knowthefacts,” Zellner tweeted, referring to court documents she says back up her 1,200-page motion in which she accuses Wisconsin officials in Manitowoc and Calumet counties of violations set forth by the 1963 Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland.

As broached in Making a Murderer, Avery’s trial lawyers Dean Strang and Jerry Buting noted that a number of people, including Ryan Hillegas, could have killed Teresa Halbach, even as physical evidence seemed to have incriminated their client. The lawyers also said members of Avery’s family and Halbach’s photography partner had an opportunity to commit the crime.

Zellner, who took Avery’s case in 2016, says the investigation should have pointed toward Hillegas and an accomplice. Even his best friend, Halbach’s roommate Scott Bloedorn realized Hillegas was a person of interest. Zellner claims Bloedorn refused to speak to her investigator but blurted out his friend’s name when he was told she was investigating another suspect.


Zellner claims Hillegas is at the center of several peculiarities in the Halbach case. He was the one who guessed her Cingular Wireless password and “made up a username that worked” to print out Teresa’s phone records. Hillegas also used a false name to enter the Avery property after it had been deemed a crime scene. Moreover, he lied when he testified that Teresa’s relationship with Bloedorn was not romantic, Zellner claims. According to information she uncovered over the last year and a half, Halbach and her roommate had been sexually involved.

Teresa also had a sexual relationship with a married photography client that Hillegas contacted around the time of the murder, information Zellner gleaned from interviews and Hillegas’ 2005 cell phone records. Also, it was Ryan Hillegas who arranged the search during which Pam Sturm found Halbach’s Toyota in the Avery auto salvage yard after only 30 minutes.


Buting and Strang were aware of most of what Zellner believes makes a Ryan Hillegas a more viable suspect that Steven Avery, but were barred from naming a third-party suspect at trial.

According to Brady standards, prosecutors are required to turn over evidence that could exculpate a defendant, including the existence of other suspects. Zellner claims a wealth of evidence pointed away from Avery, information Calumet County District Attorney and law enforcement did not give to the defense at trial.

Kratz has said in a number of interviews that Hillegas was not a suspect in the killing because early on, the Halbach case was a missing person’s investigation, and did not become a homicide until evidence was discovered on Steven Avery’s property. Zellner argues that things still pointed to Hillegas and planted evidence.

[Featured Image by Don Shrubshell/AP Images]