As Making a Murderer subject Steven Avery continues to fight for his freedom in the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, fans of the documentary are still basking in conspiracy theories about who the “real” killer might be.
The latest was rehatched on Reddit, in the group /r/TickTockManitowoc, a band of web sleuths determined to prove Avery was railroaded, if not downright set up. The theory is that Halbach, who had taken nude photographs for a client before she was killed, may have also worked for a sex club and was killed by someone who she inadvertently captured on film.
According to this supposition, one not broached in Making a Murderer, a member of law enforcement, an “elected official,” or “someone planning on running for office” may have been outed as a club member and, therefore, orchestrated the murder. Steven Avery? He was the perfect patsy, a disposable suspect obtuse enough to be framed, the Reddit story goes.
Like other theories that members of law enforcement killed the 25-year-old freelance photographer, there is no evidence to support this one — at least nothing concrete. Some say Halbach emailed someone that taking a “club” job was not among her best decisions, but that’s about it. It is a colorful tale, as clandestine erotic fantasies go, but nothing has ever surfaced to hint that Teresa Halbach frequented such a club as a photographer or participant.
The story has been mentioned in the past, however. It speculates that members of the secret “Manitowoc Club” may have been involved in devil worship and rape. Armchair detectives have attempted to link the reported club to Halbach’s death and the sexual assault of Penny Beernsten, for which Steven Avery spent 18 wrongful years in prison. A man who was at the beach the day Beernsten was attacked by Gregory Allen says he encountered a suspicious “plain clothed” people who asked him to join a sex club. This witness also claims to have seen Steven Avery on October 31, 2005, filling up gas cans at a nearby fuel station.
And what about the theory that Teresa Halbach could have mentioned the Manitowoc sex club to Steven Avery during a past business dealing, putting both their lives at risk? It exists too but, like the others, has only been held up by illusion and a cacophony of whodunit Halloween lore.
The evidence points to Steven Avery. That doesn’t mean he killed anyone though. His noted post-conviction attorney Kathleen Zellner says she can show that someone planted his blood in Teresa Halbach’s Toyota RAV4 and his DNA on its key found in his bedroom. Zellner also hopes to find someone else’s DNA on the vehicle’s hood latch and show that Avery’s was planted there by way of a groin swab taken at the police station.
None of Zellner’s theories connected to the death of Teresa Halbach include mention of Satanists, a sex club, or murderous cops. She does claim that the real killer scraped blood from Avery’s sink and transferred it to the RAV4.
Those who believe Avery is right where he belongs are also still discussing their position on Reddit, namely in the sub /r/StevenAveryIsGuilty. Discussions there are centered largely on claims that Zellner has no case to free the now 55-year-old from his life sentence without parole.
[Featured Image by Benny Sieu/AP Images]