‘Making A Murderer’ Lawyer Challenges Wisconsin Attorney General To Allow DNA Testing Of Mystery Bones

Kathleen Zellner watches a bullet test being done in the Netflix series Making A Murderer 2
Netflix

Making A Murderer subject Steven Avery’s lawyer Kathleen Zellner has responded to her client’s latest legal setback. As the Inquisitr reports, a Wisconsin appeals court denied her December 17 motion to perform Rapid DNA testing on bones left unidentified since Avery’s original 2006 murder trial. According to Newsweek, Zellner isn’t discouraged by the ruling and still sees ways to get the testing done.

“The appellate court wants to resolve the issues on Avery’s current appeal before the new issue re: bone testing is addressed,” Zellner said.

“The state claims if Avery wins appeal, bone testing may become unnecessary. The bottom line is that the appellate court is not preventing Avery from doing the bone testing after the appeal is completed or by agreement with the new attorney general while the appeal is pending. Either way, the court’s decision does not damage Mr. Avery’s efforts to have his conviction vacated.”

A desire to work with the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office rather than against them has been a running theme in Kathleen Zellner’s recent social media posts.

“In January I will be meeting with Houston prosecutors in cooperative effort to test some evidence in murder case they WON,” Zellner tweeted on December 20. “Will this ever happen in Wisconsin?”

“The best Christmas gift — reuniting a father with his son,” Zellner wrote in another tweet featuring one of her exonerated clients.

“Once again an honorable prosecutor cooperated with us.”

An earlier Newsweek article went into detail on past cases over Zellner’s 30 years as a wrongful convictions specialist where cooperation didn’t just free her client, it caught the true perpetrators of the crime. DNA testing paid for by Zellner cleared three men of the 1986 rape and murder of Lori Roscetti in 2002, and months later police arrested two others whose DNA did match.

In another case, prosecutors agreed to let Zellner retest “inconclusive” saliva samples that wound up proving Kevin Fox did not sexually assault and murder his 3-year-old daughter. The real killer was found soon after, and a jury awarded Fox over $15 million in damages after determining the police framed him for the crime.

The mystery bones in question are burnt remains found in a Manitowoc County gravel pit that were too damaged to even be verified as human during Steven Avery’s original trial for the murder of Teresa Halbach in 2006. The state’s conviction of Avery leaned heavily on the discovery of Halbach’s similarly incinerated bones turning up in Avery’s backyard. If new Rapid DNA testing can prove the gravel pit bones are Halbach’s remains as well, it plays into Zellner’s theory that Halbach’s body was burned off-site and planted on Avery’s property.

While the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office has worked out deals with Zellner in the past regarding the retesting of evidence, they opposed her request for Rapid DNA testing of the unidentified bones on procedural grounds. With a new Attorney General incoming on January 7, 2019 and Zellner’s continued hard push for cooperation, that opposition could change in the future.