Anyone familiar with the Making a Murderer series from Netflix will already know the ludicrous nature of the trial which saw Wisconsin man Steven Avery convicted of the murder of photographer Theresa Halbach in 2005.
For those who haven’t seen the series, Avery was convicted of rape and assault in 1985, only to be exonerated 18 years later when DNA evidence shed light on who the actual culprit was. A retrospective analysis found that police has handled the case extremely unfairly, had single-mindedly pursued and convicted Avery, and had held back crucial evidence that could have seen him walk free, including a tip from a fellow police officer that it was someone else.
Upon his release, Avery sued the county for $36,000,000 in damages, and an investigation into corruption and police misconduct was opened.
What he didn’t expect, however, was that he’d soon be standing trial again – this time for murder and that this time he’d be behind bars for the rest of his life.
In this article we’ll outline 9 reasons we feel Steven Avery is innocent, meaning he was framed. These reasons alone should have been enough to find the man innocent under the principle of reasonable doubt by anyone’s standards. As you read, try to stop your jaw from dropping.
9 Reasons Stephen Avery is Innocent
The prosecution’s theory went that Avery had lured Halbach into his trailer on his auto-salvage yard, tied her up on his bed, with her arms bound the the bed posts with rope and her legs with chains, had raped and assaulted her along with his nephew Brendan Dassey, who he then instructed to cut her throat. When this failed to kill her, Avery supposedly strangled her, transported her in the back of her jeep to a burn pit just metres away, shot her 11 times, then incinerated her.
All very brutal – except for one single fact. Not a single drop of Theresa Halbach’s blood was found either in the trailer or in the garage where she was supposedly finished off.
How can anyone slit someone’s throat on a mattress, drag them through a trailer and into a garage, and strangle them to death, without leaving a single drop of blood anywhere?
We’ll leave that up to you to figure out!
2) No Rope Fibers
Imagine for one terrible moment your arms are tied to bedposts with rope and you are being sexually assaulted by a maniac. Do you think you might put up a little bit of a struggle?
Investigators were unable to find a single rope fibre on the bedposts. One would think such fibres would be found if a woman, who was being violently raped and then faced impending death as maniac’s slashed her throat, writhed around and tried to fight them off.
Not in the case. No rope fibre. No evidence this horrific scene ever took place.
3) Brendan Dassey’s Forced Confession
One of the most damning pieces of evidence against Steven Avery was the confession of his nephew Brendan Dassey. At first glance, this is pretty strong evidence and a confession of this nature is often enough to convict someone.
Yet tapes of the confession show that Brendan, 17, who had a borderline retarded IQ, was basically coerced into confessing. He was held, without legal representation, and repeatedly asked leading questions.
Despite not initially giving up anything that would incriminate him, and repeatedly answering no or falling silent when asked what they did to Theresa, Dassey eventually started answering in a tone that indicated he was guessing, and showed absolutely no understanding whatsoever that he knew the gravity of the situation, even asking could he go home now after he had just confessed to rape and murder.
Dassey repeatedly changed his story, made statements inconsistent with the supposed facts, and recanted.
Hardly what we’d call a credible piece of testimony!
4) Involvement of Manitowoc County Cops
Due to the fact that Steven Avery had a pending lawsuit against them, it was agreed that the involvement of any Manitowoc County law enforcement officers would be a conflict of interest. Officers were told to stand down, and the investigation was handed over to investigators from a neighbouring county.
Yet they maintained an active role all along! When we say active, we mean active! One of the key pieces of evidence, a key to Theresa Halbach’s jeep, which wasn’t previously seen after repeated searches by the other detectives, was found by a Manitowoc County officer, Lt. James Lenk, who had played a key role and was under investigation for withholding crucial evidence in Avery’s first rape trial.
Jesus Christ. Can this get any more silly? Yes – it can! Just wait and see.
5) The Key Piece of Evidence
Yes, we’re referring to the crucial piece of evidence uncovered by Lt. James Lenk in Steven Avery’s trailer – the key to Theresa Halbach’s Rav 4 jeep, which was also found in an obscure corner Avery’s auto-yard (as if a murderer who had access to a car crusher would simply drive the victims vehicle to the corner and leave it there).
Despite multiple previous searches, no evidence had been found in Avery’s trailer until James Lenk showed up (remember he had been banned from playing any role in the investigation), and voila, the key to Halbach’s car was found in Avery’s bedroom, under a pair of slippers.
What makes this even more suspicious was that the cop charged with investigating the area had no idea Lenk had been banned from the case, and testified that Lenk did not disclose this to him at any time before entering Avery’s trailer.
Incredible? It gets worse!
6) The Blood in the Car
DNA evidence is one of the most powerful pieces of evidence anyone can use, whether prosecution or defence. In fact, DNA evidence was exactly what exonerated Steven Avery after 18 years wrongfully served for rape.
Yet this time the tables were turned. A little drop of Avery’s blood was found near the ignition of the RAV 4 jeep, and Halbach’s blood was found in the back, indicating he had used it to transport her body to the burn pit.
Yet it isn’t as clear cut as it first looks.
First, anyone can see from the picture above that the blood looks suspiciously like it has been applied using a Q-Tip, and secondly, Avery’s lawyers were quick enough to check the evidence from the previous rape case, and lo and behold, a vial of Avery’s blood was in the evidence room, inside a box with the seal broken, with a needle sized hole in the purple cap of the tube!
As if that isn’t suspicious enough, the officer who had handled and signed off on the evidence in the original case and who therefore knew exactly where to find a drop of Avery’s blood if needed was – you guessed it, Lt. James Lenk.
7) Questions About the Car
The discovery of Theresa Halbach’s car at Avery’s yard raises more questions than it answers. The burn pit, where fragments of Halbach’s bones were found after Avery and Dassey apparently incinerated her, was just a few metres away from Avery’s trailer.
Why, after brutally raping and murdering this woman, would he then put her in her car, leaving traces of her blood in the back, to drive just a few metres to the burn pit? Furthermore, why then leave the car, intact, in the yard you own, when you have access to a crusher and could bury it among the thousands of other vehicles on the site?
Obviously, this doesn’t prove Avery’s innocence, but it does raise some serious questions. If he was smart enough to sweep the entire trailer and garage and clean it up to such an extent that not even a single trace of blood, nor any trace of her DNA could be found by forensic specialists, why would he then so sloppily leave the car on site with both his and her blood in it?
8) Bias in the Jury
During the deliberations proceeding the guilty verdict that saw Avery behind bars for the second time, one of the jurors had to be called away because of a family medical emergency. He was replaced with another juror quickly.
This juror has since come forward and stated that he felt there were several others in the group who were very biased against Avery and who had their minds made up from the outset.
It would be impossible not to view the man with bias since he had previously been convicted of rape, and since law enforcement agents had made several high-profile statements during the course of the investigation and trial, saturating local media with information indicating they had evidence Avery was guilty.
This is clearly unfair and it would be difficult, even as a neutral person of pure principles, to sit on the jury without any bias. This illustrates the full power of the state, who have the ability to summon the media anytime they please, and the effectiveness of an information campaign to destroy a person’s reputation despite the fact that none of the factual evidence presented at trial makes sense.
A biased jury is an unfair jury – and while this doesn’t prove Avery innocent, it is further damning evidence that the deck was heavily stacked against him from day 1.
9) The New Eye Witness
Ninestein is happy to bring you a brand new piece of evidence in the Avery case, which was not included in the original trial. In fact, it came to light only 2 days ago (14th July 2016).
A neighbour of the Avery’s, Wilbert Sibert, who lived 1400 feet away from the Avery salvage yard, has come forward and stated that he witnessed two vehicles breach police barricades and enter the Avery property on November 7th, and made a call to the police to let them know. The police thanked him but let him know they weren’t worried about the breach.
So why is this significant? Well, it was the very next day, on November 8th, that Theresa Halbach’s vehicle key was found on Steven Avery’s bedroom floor.
Is it a coincidence that police nonchalantly dismissed the intrusion onto a murder scene by two vehicles the day before a crucial piece of evidence was uncovered, despite never having been seen previously during searches?
We’ll let you make your own mind up about that! The prosecutors are already on the counter-attack, though, claiming that this witnesses memory may be flawed because he is now 70.
Making A Murderer/Steven Avery Summary
It’s important to remember that while Making a Murderer is an award-winning show, and a fascinating and gripping documentary, that Steven Avery is a real person who is now sitting behind bars for the rest of his life.
While the officers and prosecutor have received thousands of death threats on both themselves and their families, and their lives have been turned upside down by raging Netflix fans, Steven Avery is still deprived of his liberty, serving time since 2005 for something he yet again probably did not do.
This case is one of many that show how a gross miscarriage of justice can occur when the state decides it doesn’t like someone.
Did Stephen Avery really kill Theresa Halbach? Nobody can rule it out with absolute certainty. Then again, nobody has to. The burden of proof is on the prosecutors, and with this case having more holes in it than Swiss cheese, it is astounding that this jury reached a guilty verdict at all.
For a deeper look at this case, we recommend watching Making a Murderer Season 1 on Netflix.