The murder trial of Steven Avery, 25, in rural Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, in 2007, drew worldwide attention.
On Halloween of 2005, Halbach, a photographer for an online marketplace for used cars, went missing while working at a Mishicot vehicle salvage yard owned by Avery’s family. Avery had a mobile home on the premises.
Halbach’s Toyota RAV4 was discovered on November 5, 2005, by a volunteer searcher sifting through debris in Avery’s family’s salvage yard. Avery’s cabin was raided by the authorities the very same day. The police took Avery’s vehicle and flatbed truck the following day.
After these incidents transpired, Avery claimed that police had framed him as retaliation for his 2003 lawsuit against Manitowoc County, its former sheriff, and its former district attorney, which sought damages totaling $36 million and 18 years in prison for a rape that he didn’t commit led to the lawsuit.
Sorry, but I have to say that I’m worried. Avery told the Wisconsin State Journal, “I heard tonight that a cop put [Halbach’s] automobile in the [Avery] junkyard.” Avery was given a 32-year sentence for raping a lady on the coast of Lake Michigan in 1985.
Unknown DNA was found under the victim’s fingernails and analyzed in 1995, however, this did not exonerate Avery as a suspect. There will be no new trial for Avery. The Wisconsin Innocence Project conducted a forensic analysis of hairs found at a crime scene in April 2002.
The hair’s DNA belonged to convicted felon Gregory Allen, who looked like Avery and was serving a 60-year term for sexual assault when the case against Avery was solved. In September 2003, Avery was found not guilty and released from jail.
Soon later, he launched a civil action against the police, alleging that they had violated his constitutional rights. Avery was taken into custody for illegal gun possession and previous felony offenses (including burglary) the day after Halbach’s automobile was located.
The next day, cops reported discovering bone shards and teeth in a burn hole near Avery’s garage. The evidence prompted police to accuse Avery of killing Halbach.
Avery wasn’t the only person involved in Halbach’s death.
Avery’s nephew, 16-year-old Brendan Dassey, was arrested and charged with murder and sexual assault in March 2006. According to authorities, Dassey stated he went to Avery’s trailer on Halloween 2005 and heard Halbach shout, “Help me.”
Halbach was naked and chained on Avery’s bed, which Dassey also remembered. The adolescent admitted that she and Avery had raped Halbach and then burned her body.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the police had Avery in mind as a suspect right away. Avery insists he did not murder Halbach, and that he was singled out by authorities because of his exoneration and lawsuit in 2003.
Avery was found guilty of first-degree intentional killing and gun charges in March 2007, but the jury exonerated him of mutilating Halbach’s body. He was condemned to life in jail without the chance of parole.
The next month, Dassey was convicted of first-degree intentional killing, second-degree sexual assault, and mutilation of a corpse. No physical evidence tied Dassey to Halbach’s slaying, but a taped confession was central in his conviction—despite testifying that the confession was “made up.”
After being tried as an adult, Dassey received a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 2048.
Read more: Dirty John: The True Life of Betty Broderick
Just where is Steven Avery right now, anyway?
Many might have seen the story of Steven Avery in Making A Murderer – Netflix docuseries. Avery has been sentenced to life in prison and is currently incarcerated at Wisconsin’s Waupun Correctional Institution.
He has been fighting a murder conviction since 2007. Avery maintained that false testimony and fabricated evidence led to his conviction. Both he and his nephew Brendan Dassey have been given life sentences for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach.
Steven’s mother passed away while he was still in prison. Even though Allan Avery, Steven’s father, is still very much alive, the thought of losing him while he was in jail has terrified Steven.
According to TMZ, “I worry my Dad will not live to see me as a free man,” Steven told TMZ following his mom’s death. Steven added: “Losing my parents before I got out has always been my worst nightmare.
Now it has happened. Today, I said goodbye to the one I had hoped to rescue and provide a better life for once I am free. I cannot put in words the pain of losing my mom.”
Awaiting the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the admissibility of new evidence are Steven and his attorney Kathleen Zellner.
By the middle of April 2021, Kathleen Zellner had filed documents claiming a new witness had come forward with crucial information.
Theresa’s car, a Toyota RAV-4, was allegedly pushed by Bobby Dassey, a key prosecution witness, and an older man in the wee hours of November 5th, 2005, according to testimony from delivery driver Thomas Sowinski.
Thomas says he was delivering the newspaper when Bobby tried to stop him, forcing him to swerve and nearly hit him. “Bobby Dassey looked me in the eye, and I could tell with the look in his eyes that he was not happy to see me there,” Thomas states in his affidavit.
Sowinski explains that he went to the police about the incident, but was told by a “female officer,” “We already know who did it.” Kathleen believes that the importance of Thomas’s revelation warrants a stay of the appeal and a retrial in circuit court.
Alternatively, the court should admit new evidence, which is unusual for an appeals court to do.
Sowinski’s testimony, according to Kathleen, would have been useful because “it would have destroyed entirely the credibility of Bobby as the state’s primary witness; established that Bobby was directly involved in the murder of (Halbach); and established that Bobby planted evidence to frame his uncle.”
According to Bobby Dassey’s testimony, he saw Theresa head in the direction of Avery’s trailer, and then he lost track of her. A law professor named Michael O’Hear told the Post Crescent that the appearance of new evidence during the appeals process is unexpected.
He also noted that courts often reject claims that new evidence could have altered the verdict of a trial.
In spite of this, he cautioned that “we can’t be surprised by any new twists and turns,” describing the case as “unusual.” On July 4th, Kathleen Zellner tweeted, “Avery Update: Still waiting for Court of Appeals decision.”