#MakingAMurderer's Brendan Dassey will be walking free after 10 years in prison due to a successfully overturned conviction.
Judge William Duffin repealed the sentence in August, arguing that Dassey's initial interrogation was unconstitutional. Dassey was to be released within 90 days while state prosecutors compiled an appeal case. Judge Duffin stated that the interrogation was "so clearly involuntary in a constitutional sense that the court of appeals' decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law."
"Dassey's confession was, as a practical matter, the entirety of the case against him."
Dassey was interrogated in 2005 for the murder of Teresa Halbach, a photographer who went missing near his Manitowoc home. His uncle, Steven Avery, had already been arrested. Dassey's interview was conducted using controversial techniques, and was done without the presence of a lawyer or legal guardian.
After hours of interrogation, he confessed to playing a key role in the murder and sexual assault. He later recanted his confession and asked for a polygraph (lie detection) test, but was instead interrogated again and asked to make a written statement confirming his involvement in the murder, which you can watch below.
Judge Duffin's ruling was based on the suggestion that Dassey's low IQ and suggestible personality led to a false confession. He also said that Dassey was led to believe that he would be released if he told the police what he thought they wanted to hear, a violation of his constitutional rights. Little did Dassey know he would be arrested and tried as an adult, sentenced to life in prison for a murder he says he had no real part in.
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All that has changed now, and it's expected that Dassey will be home in time for Thanksgiving. He will be living with his mother in a trailer about 100 miles from Manitowoc, and may even get to see his beloved Wrestlemania next year — an event he'd been hoping to watch at home on the day of his interrogation.
No doubt Dassey's release has Making A Murderer fans eager for Season 2. With a release date not yet announced, there's still a ton of other true crime documentaries to satisfy your hunger for justice.
The latest true-crime documentary release from Netflix, Amanda Knox tells the story of an American exchange student imprisoned for the murder of her roommate in Italy. Her case has been referred to as a trial by media due to unfair coverage and portrayal of her character. Like Dassey, she was unfairly interrogated by police and encouraged to confess, despite maintaining her innocence. She served almost four years of a 26-year sentence, but was acquitted last year.
After a friend revealed the details of a dream he'd had to police, 19-year-old Ryan Ferguson found himself implicated in the murder of a local journalist, despite zero evidence to tie him to the crime. Ferguson's friend, who claimed to suffer drug-related blackouts, said he could not remember the night of the murder, and so it was possible that a dream he'd had about the pair committing the crime may have actually happened. Ferguson spent nearly 10 years in prison, but was released in 2013 with the help of his new lawyer, Kathleen Zellner. Zellner has helped release multiple wrongly-convicted prisoners and is currently working to help Brendan Dassey's uncle, Steven Avery, be found innocent of the murder of Teresa Halbach.
David & Me
Ray Klonsky made David & Me with one goal in mind: to free a man he believed was innocent. Klonsky made it his personal mission to track down the missing pieces to a murder allegedly committed by two 16-year-old boys in 1985. David McCallum and his friend William Stuckey confessed to murdering Nathan Blenner in Queens, New York, but later recanted their statements. Much like Dassey, they claimed the police led them to believe they would be released if they falsely confessed. McCallum spent 29 years behind bars before being exonerated.
The Central Park Five
When a woman was beaten and raped while jogging through Central Park in 1989, five teenage boys were convicted. The five accused, aged between 14 and 15 years old and of either African-American or Hispanic descent, claimed they were innocent and victims of racial discrimination. All five convictions were vacated after the real attacker confessed in 2002. The wrongfully convicted Central Park Five sued the city of New York, a lawsuit that went on for a decade.
Imagine your teenage son, who had been missing for three years, shows up in Europe. Now imagine that five months after he's returned home, you discover that he's actually a 23-year-old French conman. The story of "serial imposter" Frédéric Bourdin, who has impersonated three missing teenage boys so far, is almost too incredulous to believe.
Season 2 of Netflix's Making A Murderer is currently in production.
Which of these crime documentaries interests you the most?