Although it may only be in jest, some users of the social media site Reddit have attempted to answer the questions asked by post-conviction lawyer Kathleen Zellner as part of her “Steven Avery Proof of Guilt Challenge.”
The challenge was issued Thursday to anyone who can successfully answer 100 questions, proving to Zellner that her client, Making a Murderer subject Steven Avery, killed 25-year-old Teresa Halbach in 2005. The lawyer says she will pay $10,000 to anyone who passes the test.
So far, it is not known if anyone has officially entered the contest by sending Zellner their name, address and driver’s license number, along with their answers. But, the money is in the bank, and she has reason for the makeshift contest.
“It is time for those who have so self-righteously proclaimed Steven Avery’s guilt, without spending five minutes examining the prosecution’s deeply flawed case, to step out of the shadows, identify yourselves and answer these 100 questions,” Zellner told the Inquisitr.
One Redditor attempted to answer all 100, some of which deal with Halbach’s ex-boyfriend, Ryan Hillegas, and her roommate, Scott Bloedorn. And the user, NewYorkJohn, goes even further, accusing Zellner of defaming Hillegas, referring to the attorney’s allusions that he is likely her killer.
“This is an example of you committing libel,” NewYorkJohn’s answer to question 99 reads. “Once again you lie and make up nonsense,” he says in another.
Redditor LordBacon69, says Zellner’s challenge is similar to the one posted by supporters of California death row inmate Scott Peterson some years back. There was no money promised in his challenge, and Peterson’s appeal has gone nowhere since he was convicted of killing his wife and unborn child in 2004.
Reddit user puzzledbyitall also weighed in with comments about Zellner, quipping that she “missed her calling as a game show host” among other not-so-nice monikers.
Zellner isn’t fazed, however. She has freed 18 wrongfully-convicted men, including Ryan Ferguson, who spent nearly a decade in prison for the murder of a Missouri newspaper editor. By far now her most famous client, Steven Avery hasn’t had his big pay day like Ferguson, yet has plenty of supporters who often find themselves going to head-to-head with those who believe he is guilty. And the division is nothing short of heated; it’s Avery “truthers” against the “guilters,” those who have no doubt that police nabbed the right men. Facts presented at trial were enough for those who believe Avery and Brendan Dassey are cold-blooded killers. But, according to Zellner, those facts were twisted, misrepresented and down right fabricated. Her challenge is anyone’s chance to prove her wrong, but it will only pay if arguments are rooted in fact.
“Opinions lacking a detailed knowledge and understanding of this 30,000-page record are worthless,” she said. “So far, the 10k is still in our bank account earning interest.”
An original “guilter,” former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, helped create the record and maintains that Avery and nephew Brendan Dassey are where they belong — behind bars. Katz successfully prosecuted Avery and Dassey for the murders more than 10 years ago. Now a defense attorney and author, Kratz found no merit in Zellner’s 1,200-page motion to grant Avery a new trial, and told the Inquisitr this week that her challenge is just as baseless.
“As she is the person who decides if the answers are ‘correct’ or not, the validity of this publicity stunt should be obvious to everyone unfortunate enough to follow her,” Kratz said.
Kratz is no longer connected to the Avery and Dassey cases. In the book, Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What “Making a Murderer” Gets Wrong, he refutes the docu-series, namely the notion that law enforcement helped frame Avery for Halbach’s murder.
Both Avery and Dassey were sentenced to life in prison, Avery without parole. Dassey’s conviction was vacated last year after the federal appeals court ruled that the confession he gave to police was coerced. The State of Wisconsin is appealing that ruling. If it is successful, Dassey will remain in prison and will be up for parole in 2048. If the 2016 ruling is upheld, the state will have to release him or retry him without the 2006 confession within 90 days. Avery is awaiting word on his motion.
[Featured Image By Morry Gash/AP Images]