For those of you who haven't seen the Netflix original Making A Murderer, do yourself a favor and go watch it. The series which is currently only ten episodes long is the most fascinating, infuriating, and down right addictive show I've ever watch, and I don't even like crime shows.
The story, filmed over a ten year period, follows a poor man named Steven Avery in a small town. In 1985, Steven Avery was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to prison for the rape of a well-known woman in his hometown. In 2003, DNA evidence proved once and for all that he wasn't the suspect and, after 18 years, he is released from prison. After he is released, evidence that also proved he was innocent starts coming out of the woodwork, showcasing his local law enforcement as a corrupt and messed up legal system.
Suing this legal system for putting him behind bars for a crime he didn't commit, Avery sues for $36 million dollars. As fate would hold, however, just days after his first deposition, Avery is arrested for the recent, and coincidentally very close to home murder of a young woman named Teresa Halbach.
All leads point to Steven Avery as their suspect, but as the story progresses, questions arise. Did Steven Avery really kill Teresa Halbach, or did the local police frame him in order to make the lawsuit disappear?
The rest of this article will contain spoilers. If you have not seen the series, please do not continue reading.
To begin, I would like to point out that there isn't much physical evidence in the case, period. This case is very much all over the place, and the show itself is more about showcasing the corruptness of our legal system than proving whether or not Steven Avery committed the murder. However, I will explain in this article the evidence shown, and whether or not I believe Avery is guilty or innocent.
The first piece of evidence is the only witness, or supposed witness, Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey. Unfortunately, Brendan is not very smart, possibly even mentally disabled, and is easily confused. Even more heartbreakingly, Brendan has no idea what kind of real trouble he is in. You may have noticed that after the interrogation of Brendan from the two detectives, Brendan makes a phone call to his mother asking if he will be out in time to watch WrestleMania - right after he confessed to raping and killing Halbach! He has no clue what just happened. In his defense, as you watch the recording of the interrogation, Brendan is basically spoon-fed exactly what the detectives want to hear, and that is the first thing that throws viewers off. This kid, who, as I said before, is mentally unstable and easily confused, repeated everything the detectives suggested, those statements were used as a murder confession, and then he calls his mother to ask her if he will make it out in time to watch WrestleMania, which was showing that same night. So, they don't even have a strong witness to this murder.
Next, the confession Brendan did give them was proved to be almost completely false. Brendan's babbling included such things as cutting her throat and hair on the bed, yet there is no finding of any hair or any blood anywhere near or on Avery's bed. So, his confession was not only possibly fed to him by police, but it also has no evidence to back it up - anywhere!
The next few-and-far-between pieces of physical evidence are again limited and only further suggest being tampered with. Halbach drove a Toyota Rav 4, a vehicle in which she drove for five years. Lieutenant James Lenk was the one that found the key to the Rav 4 in Steven Avery's home. Now:
- The key was found under a pair of shoes. Shoes that had already been moved away from the area where the key was found, yet when they were moved, the key had not been seen.
- James Lenk was the one to find the key. James Lenk is, however, a Manitowoc County detective. Law enforcement of Manitowoc County was not supposed to be involved in the search of the Avery residence. Lenk was also on the Avery property four months later when a fragmented bullet was discovered inside of Avery's garage, days after authorities arrested Avery's nephew, Brendan, in connection with the murder.
- The key, which I remind you had been used for five years, only had one person's DNA on it- and it wasn't the owner's DNA. It was Steven Avery's.
All of this just with the key proves that there is more to this than it being a key piece of evidence.
Another piece of evidence is the car itself.
- The blood in Halbach's car seemed solid enough, until it emerges that Avery had a blood sample taken for evidence years ago when he was first arrested, and upon inspection, it seems someone has extracted some of it by syringe. It's not difficult to imagine an officer extracting the blood, then adding it to the car afterwards. The officer who put the blood into storage years before, and therefore knew it was there? None other than James Lenk.
- Lenk also signed out of the car crime scene, but did not sign in, suggesting he arrived early at the scene, before officers set up a logging system, therefore, who says he didn't have time to dab the blood on the car while people weren't there? Blood tests were done to confirm whether or not the blood was straight from Avery or from his sampled blood, however, the testing done to the blood had not been done in ten years, and results show up suddenly during the trial when they were said to not be able to arrive until months after the trial.
- Halbach's car is also poorly hidden on a high area near the front of the yard, where one of the searchers was told to look by Halbach's ex boyfriend. Avery had hundreds of yards and tens of thousands of cars to hide the RAV-4. Why leave it on a ridge, with branches and boards used to disguise it that only make it stand out more? More importantly, Avery also had a car-crusher that he knew exactly how to use. Why not smash the RAV-4 down, then bury it under other cars at the back of the lot?
This was all the evidence that really convinced me that that Steven Avery was innocent. Many new reports suggest the documented series leaves out many key pieces of evidence within the trial that prove he was in fact guilty, and that the documentary was more just to prove the corruption mentioned before, and the evidence was left out to make a good story. However, just based on the documentary alone, I 100% believe Avery did not kill Teresa Halbach, and neither did Brendan Dassey. Unfortunately, Avery and Dassey are both set to serve life in prison.
Let me know in the comments below whether or not you think Steven Avery is guilty or innocent, and what evidence really stuck out to you.