Steven Avery Tests Positive For COVID-19, According To Former Lawyer Jerome Buting

Steven Avery's mug shot
Netflix

Steven Avery has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a tweet by his former defense attorney, Jerome Buting.

Avery, the subject of acclaimed Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer in which Buting also appeared, is currently incarcerated in Wisconsin’s Waupun Correctional Institution. He was convicted of “1st-Degree Intentional Homicide” under Wisconsin Statute 939.05 in March 2007, charged in the death of the late Teresa Halbach. Avery is serving a life sentence, without the possibility of parole, after being sentenced in June of the same year.

According to Buting, Avery is being confined to his cell. Buting, who served as one of Avery’s defense attorneys — alongside Dean Strang — from March 2006 to August 2007, also relayed that Avery “only had short-lived symptoms & is in good spirits,” information provided by longtime Avery supporter Sandy Greenman. Buting concluded his message with the prayer-hands emoji, wishing Avery a “speedy recovery and quick justice” and using the hashtag “#FreeStevenAvery.”

The justice Buting mentioned is a seeming reference to Avery’s most recent appeal, filed in October 2019 by one of his post-conviction attorneys, Kathleen Zellner. In the 150-page appellate brief, filed in Wisconsin’s District II Court of Appeals, Zellner contends that the court should order the state of Wisconsin to respond to a motion for postconviction relief “and/or grant an evidentiary hearing,” or reverse Avery’s conviction and an order denying postconviction relief and order him a new trial.

“Our goal is to vacate Mr. Avery’s 2007 conviction and sentence. The deeper we dig into the Avery conviction, the more evidence we uncover of his innocence. It does not matter how long it takes, what it costs or what obstacles we have to overcome — our efforts to win Mr. Avery’s freedom will never stop. Giving up on his case would be accepting that someone else got away with murder and our justice system is just too incompetent, indifferent and/or inflexible to recognize this huge mistake and rectify it. We are going to keep ringing the doorbell at this so called Court of Justice until someone answers it,” reads a statement on Zellner’s website.

The 2015 release of Making a Murderer turned the world’s attention to Avery’s now-high-profile case and left viewers divided on the notion of Avery’s potential guilt, as well as the conviction of his nephew, Brendan Dassey, for his alleged participation in Halbach’s death. The series, which saw a second season released in 2018, has won numerous awards — including the 2016 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series — but has also drawn criticism. Halbach’s cousin, Jeremy Fournier, told People that viewers “are only getting one side of the story.”

A potential third season of Making a Murderer has been rumored but never confirmed.