The Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey Case

Whether you are into true crime like myself or not, you nearly have to live under a rock to have not heard about the case in which the new Netflix docudrama Making a Murderer is based.  I of course had heard about it and had limited myself as to what information I read until I got around to seeing the film.  In fact, I had several people contact me to see if I had viewed it yet knowing that it would be right up my alley.  So finally I sat down the other day to watch it knowing very little than the fact that someone had been convicted of a murder in which people seemed to now be clamoring about and proclaiming his innocence.  In my infinite ignorance I did not realize that it was a ten part series and I got up early one morning and began watching before my husband awoke.  I figured I would get a few in and go back to finish it later.  When he woke up I was in the middle of episode four. My husband is not always into the cases as I am but there are a few that have caught his eye and this one did quickly. Still not realizing how much more there was to watch I continued on to the next episode.  By the time I was done I had managed to watch the entire ten part series in a single day.  As each episode ended I needed to know more and know what happened.

Now, if you are a regular reader of my blog you have heard me often say that I do not take the sole word of a series, film or book when I expect to come here and blog about a case. So I knew going in that I had to be cautious as it was likely to be rather bias in Steven Avery's favor.  I vowed when I began watching that I would pay little to no attention to things such as the feelings of the people interviewed, including attorneys and do my best to remain impartial and base my opinions or thoughts solely on really the direct information.  This would included recorded interrogations and court room procedures.  I can say that for my part I feel that I was successful in doing that.  I also knew that once I was done and I sat in front of my computer to do research, that was when the real work would begin.  I would have to sort through all the opinion websites and the comments, and dig deep for the facts, mainly those that were not presented in the film.  In the end I believe for this case I have not only more notes than I have ever compiled for a case here but aside from doing searches on the film, Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey I did searches on at least ten other individuals. As I try to bring the case together for the reader, I continue to search more individuals. 

Now I am left with the task of putting all of that information together in a way in which is not confusing to the reader. I have decided to do that in a way that is much different than any of my other blogs.  Instead of laying out the case and players as I have done previously and told the story, I am going to go into this one as if every reader has already seen Making a Murderer and that is what has brought you to this blog in the first place.  I am going to make every attempt to take the evidence and the players in this case and present it in an easy to read manner with the take of the prosecution and the defense, and possibly an arm chair theory here and there added in.  Generally I would end my blog giving the reader my opinion of this case and whether I believe the people convicted are guilty or innocent.  In this case I have to say that for the most part I do not have an opinion on their guilt or innocence nor do I really think it matters here. Of course I have my own theories based on not just the film but the research I have done as well as the many discussions I have had with multiple people where we bounced off ideas. But, before I get that far, let's first look at the case.

*** Considering the length of this blog I hope that I have made it a bit easier by listing categories and sub categories so that if you are here and want a specific detail you can find it a bit easier.  There simply was no way to put this case and the information out and condense it in any other way.  To do so would make me no better than anyone else who only gave one side of the case.***

What Making a Murderer did not tell you:

Ok, I think this is important because as I said I am taking the approach to this as if every one has seen this film.  The one thing that I never ever count on is that people dig through to research the cases they see on television or in movies.  So often people simply believe what they have seen and in reality that is why I do this blog.  I want people to know as much information as they can about a case, a trial, a victim, or a perpetrator.  After the film was released Ken Kratz, the man who prosecuted both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey came forward and of course criticized the film.  First he stated that he was not given the opportunity to participate thus giving people the impression that his side was not told.  The film makers, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, have disputed that saying they have proof of a letter in which was sent to Ken Kratz in September 2006 asking for his participation.  He declined either by his silence or verbally.  In the same respect it should be said that Teresa Halbach's family sat down with Ricciardi and Demos to discuss things but they also declined to participate, the same goes for the investigators involved. However, back to Ken Kratz.  He went on to say that the film is bias and had left out important information.  Of course I wanted to know what that information was. What I found interesting is that although Ken Kratz did mention a few things, I found more things that I thought were very interesting that he did not mention that were not in the film.

For Ken Kratz' part he has proclaimed that the three most important things the film did not mention was that the bullet found in Steven Avery's garage in which the prosecution contended had Teresa Halbach's blood on it was linked to one of the guns that was found in Steven's home in November of 2005.  Another thing that Kratz has released that the film did not was that "sweat" (his word) DNA from Avery was found on the hood latch of Teresa's vehicle.  As far as the latter defense attorney, Dean Strang has apparently said little about this DNA evidence other than to say there was no way to tell that it was "sweat" as Kratz has proclaimed.  Now, the DNA on the hood latch could be more than rather significant. To be honest I am unsure if Kratz is the one to have said this or not, but I found where in one of the confessions that Brendan Dassey made he was to have said that he helped Avery move the vehicle to spot in the salvage yard and that Avery had lifted the hood to remove the battery cable.  I find this information interesting for a few reasons.  Let's say that Dassey did say this, the question would lie with, one, why is there no mention of DNA on the actual battery cable and two, if in fact that DNA was found there, was it found before or after Brendan's so called confession?  If it was before there is the possibility that Dassey was led to say this and if it was after that means the vehicle had sat... somewhere... for over four months... without at least that portion processed.  I have more questions about that DNA and the whole battery cable disconnection that I will address later. The final thing that Kratz maintains the film did not include was that there was supposed proof that Avery had called Halbach three times on October 31, 2005, two of the calls he had dialed *67 before calling.

The thing that I found most interesting or shall we say important that I felt like the film did not show was just how many people lived in immediate area.  We were often shown a picture in which it panned from Brendan Dassey's home over to the trailer Steven Avery lived right next door.  We also often saw Steven Avery's parents home and we saw and/or heard of him having a few brothers. I know it was mentioned that the salvage yard, Brendan and Steven all lived on that dead end road called Avery Road but that was really all we saw. During my research I learned that not only did Brendan (and his family) and Steven live there, but so did Steven's parents and two brothers, all in modular or mobile homes of their own.  We also saw through the pictures that at least when it came to Brendan and Steven's homes there were no fence.  We could reasonably conclude that none of the homes had fences, leaving all of their properties open and easy access.  It also left me wondering since it was a bit of a rural area and it was all family members in the area, did they lock their doors or were they left unlocked with everyone having access.  

The film also left out that in one of his phone calls with his mother, Brendan indicates to her that Steven may have molested him in the past.  This is interesting considering as we sit here and say the investigators and lawyers manipulated and coerced Brendan, we also have to ask ourselves if Steven had done the same and just to what extent?

I remember in the last episode of the series when Mike O'Kelly (the investigator for Len Kachinsky was on the state in the courtroom and he read an email that he sent to Kachinsky talking about the Avery family, I was furious. The film had really glossed over many things and so O'Kelly's email seemed especially harsh. Now, mind you, first let me state that Mike O'Kelly is one of the most shady people I researched here, and I researched a lot of shady characters, and no matter what or who the Avery's are Brendan Dassey was essentially his client and O'Kelly had no business working on a case in which he had that animosity towards his client's family, but he was not extremely off about the family it seems. I do think it was irresponsible for the film makers to include this email since they had not really given us a full view of the Avery family and issues, and that it was done to make O'Kelly, who had already made himself look bad on his own, look even worse.  But, in fairness, the film makers did first of all gloss over Avery's animal cruelty charge and made it seem like it was a young stupid mistake.  I hardly think pouring oil on a cat and then setting it on fire is hardly harmless.  And, as far as Steven went I was confused as I watched it when they mentioned the fact he was initially arrested on illegal possession of a fire arm by a felon since they did not really give a lot of details about where or what that felony was or once again had glossed over it.  Along with not knowing the layout of where everyone lived in the area and having this email read by Mike O'Kelly, you also are not aware that both of Steven Avery's brothers have questionable backgrounds.  His brother, Earl, the one who allowed the search on November 5th by Pam Sturm at the salvage yard was convicted (or was it pleaded guilty?) to molesting his daughters in 1996.  He served a mere 10 months for that.  My research also indicated that Earl, Steven, along with their other brother Charles (who was seen a few times in the film) apparently had a history of harassing or being violent towards women and it was said that Charles had been harassing women who came to the salvage yard around the time of the Halbach murder.  Now of course none of this is direct evidence towards the guilt or innocence of either Steven Avery or Brendan Dassey but I do think it is important to know.  Not only should we know the history and the layout but we should also know that although all of these people had access to the salvage yard, as well as all of the land it is interesting to note that the only home in that area that was ever searched was Steven Avery's.  

I should also note one other thing that was not (or if it was I missed it) mentioned in the film that could have been, or at least prosecutors would claim, of importance.  On November 6, 2005, the day after Teresa's RAV4 was found in the salvage yard, during a search of Steven Avery's home leg irons and handcuffs were found.  Avery admitted to buying these things saying they were to be (or had) used with his girlfriend Jodi, who at that current time was in the county jail serving time for her DUI charge.  Prosecutors say this was important due to Brendan Dassey mentioning Teresa Halbach chained or confined to the bed.  

Ken Kratz maintains that, although there seems to be no proof and it was not presented at his trial apparently, which seems odd and gives it less credence, that when Avery was in jail on the rape charges that he was later exonerated from that he had told an inmate he had a fantasy of torturing and killing a woman and that he had drown up plans for a torture chamber. 

Ok.. so now that we've seen what the film did not tell us, let's look at what the film did (and did not) tell us about the evidence and the people involved.

The Evidence

Teresa Halbach's vehicle:

Here is what we do know about the vehicle.  It was, at least publicly, found in the Avery Salvage yard.  We know that a large amount of blood with apparently clumps of hair was found in the back of the vehicle which was said to match Teresa.  We know there were approximately 6 drops of blood found near the drivers area that the state says matched Steven Avery's blood.  We now know the state says that Avery's DNA was on the hood latch of the vehicle and that the battery cable was disconnected.  We know the license plates were not on the vehicle when it was found and that they were found three days later in or near another vehicle in the salvage yard.  We know that wood and branches had been put around and against the vehicle in an apparent effort to conceal it.  

The state contends that Steven Avery, likely with the help of Brendan Dassey placed this vehicle here and that Avery disconnected the battery cable and removed the license plates.  

The defense contends that the blood connected to Avery inside the vehicle was likely planted.  They question the reasoning for Halbach's blood to be in the vehicle at all if the state insists that Halbach was murdered inside either Avery's home or garage and her body burned in a fire pit just outside his back door.   The defense did question Officer Andrew Colborn when it came to the vehicle as they had a recording in which he called in the plate number on November 3rd, two days before the vehicle was found in the salvage yard.  All the film showed or it seems is that Colborn admitted was that he supposedly was not looking at the plates at the time of the call.  The interesting part of that is that in the recording Colborn tells the make and year of the vehicle ('99 Toyota) as opposed to the dispatcher telling him. Also, it is interesting he says the make and year as opposed to the make and model... Toyota RAV4.  The defense was also able to point out that while an officer was sent to the Salvage yard to "guard" the vehicle when it was reported, he remained there for 4 hours without doing what they called a log in/out sheet to show who was near the vehicle and when.  The most disturbing of all of these people was detective James Lenk who at some point stated he had gone to the scene around 7 pm, some five hours after the log began, but eleven hours after the vehicle had been located and yet his name is not on the log.  He later indicated that he had gone likely around 2 pm just before the log was began to explain his name not being on the log book.

So much about this vehicle bothers me that I am unsure where to begin.  First, neither throughout the film, nor through my research did I find any indication that DNA testing was done beyond supposedly the blood in the back (reported to be Teresa's), the blood droplets in the front (reported to be Avery's) and the DNA found on the hood latch.  There is no mention of any fingerprints being taken from the steering wheel, which may tell us who in fact drove it to the spot it was found.  Nor did I hear any information about fingerprint anywhere.  This indicates that either the vehicle was not processed for prints, or none of them matched either Avery or Dassey because I am sure, especially now after the film someone would have let it be known.  

As we know the defense has argued that the blood DNA that was connected to Avery was possibly planted. In any case in which the planting of evidence, especially by police, is thrown out as a theory or option I take it with a grain of salt.  I have seen some rather ridiculous defense theories to explain things. However, as we saw in the series, the box in which contained a DNA sample of Avery's blood had been tampered with and the vial inside had a hole the approximate size of a needle in the lid. Add to this James Lenk's name was listed with the vial, showing he at least knew that the blood was at some point taken and his role in this investigation leaves questions.  I believe those things leave huge holes and questions despite whatever any lab or expert says.  There was no chain of evidence shown or obtained for the blood sample and it was admitted that officers had keys to the evidence room when there was no one on duty in that area.  I just simply do not think that this can be offhandedly dismissed.  For me it is almost as clear as the saying where there's smoke there is fire.  

As far as the blood that was reported to be Teresa's being in the back of her RAV4, I have to say I am on the defense with this one. As we know most prosecutions generally do not have the full story and their theories on what happened and how are generally based on the evidence.  However, in this case the prosecutions theory does not add up to why there is so much blood, or any blood at all, belonging to Teresa in the back of her vehicle.  If we are to believe the state's theory, there seems to be no reason for this blood in the vehicle. They claim that Teresa was killed either inside Avery's home or garage and then taken out the back door to the fire pit just outside.  With this theory, there would have been no reason to place her body in back of her vehicle.

My next issue with this vehicle pertains to the license plates.  First we have to go back to Andrew Colborn's testimony at Avery's trial.  The defense played a tape in which on November 3rd Colborn called a dispatcher asking about a plate number.  He was (in my opinion awful quickly) told that the plates belonged to a woman who had been reported missing.  Colborn then says "to a '99 Toyota?" to which the dispatcher affirms.  Now, the vehicle was not found in the Avery salvage yard for two more days.  On the stand Colborn admitted that he was not looking at the plates at the time of his call, however, neither the film nor my research indicated if the defense got any sort of elaboration on this.  It seems that he had no explanation as to why he was calling asking about those plates at that time, on that day.  Of course this has brought out some armchair detectives, but realistically not all considered theories are bad ones, and there have been a few that seem a bit plausible....  We know that Colborn was on the Avery property on the night of November 3rd, the day Teresa was reported missing.  He was the officer who went to interview and talk to Steven Avery as it had been determined that her last stop of the day was at his home, or next door at his sisters, although he made the call.  There is a theory that after talking to Avery, Colborn went to the salvage yard and although he did not have a warrant to search he looked and may have found the vehicle.  Knowing he did not have a warrant he could not do anything further technically, but it is likely that considering he was already looking into the case of Teresa's disappearance that he may have had the license number written down.  Two questions lie with this theory.  First, if this happened were the license plates still on the vehicle and did Colborn possibly remove them and toss them.  By all accounts I found nothing that indicated the license plates were ever checked for DNA or fingerprints or again, if they were they apparently did not link to Avery or Dassey.  But why were they not if the prosecution claims they were removed to by Avery to make identification of the car more difficult if found?  Secondly, it is theorized that if Colborn did in fact see the vehicle on the 3rd when he called in the plate number that it is possible that he disconnected the battery cable. Once again I found nothing about DNA or prints pertaining to the battery cable.  So then we have to ask why would he do this?  Well, let's say that he did find the vehicle but knowing he did not have the right to be searching in the first place and he could do nothing about it, he removed the plates and disconnected the battery cable so if someone tried to move it, it would at least slow their efforts, giving the police enough time to figure out how to legally get to search there. In the same respect then if we believe that this is a reasonable possibility we know that officially that car was not found for nearly two more days.  This would mean that at least Colborn, as well as any officers he may have told knew exactly where the vehicle was and until it was discovered, as well as after, while it was being "guarded," had access to the vehicle.  This may also explain how it appears Pam Sturm, Teresa's cousin who found the vehicle, was able to find the vehicle as if she had ordered pizza from Domino's ..... in 30 minutes or less. It was almost as if she was told where it would be.  It just seems unreasonable that with all the vehicles in that salvage yard, that she would take the route in which she claimed in court and find the vehicle so quickly.  On top of this she testified that she was not necessarily looking only for the vehicle but of any signs of Teresa. This would seem that if this were true it would be more than a passing glance at a vehicle. It also seemed suspicious that there were several people in the original search party and Pam Sturm was the only one with a camera, and that camera was not hers but loaned to her by another member in the search party before going to the salvage yard. Keep in mind that the license plates would not be found for another three days, and at least four searches later and yet all indication was that while they appeared to be tossed from the vehicle area it was not of significant distance.  

The Bones and Bone Fragments:

As we know from the film (and my researched confirmed) bone fragments that were said to belong to Teresa Halbach were found in three places.  The most publicized and talked about place was in the fire pit behind Steven Avery's house.  Fragments, along with burnt clothing and a shovel were also found in a burn barrel left near the fire pit.  The most interesting place fragments were found were in a quarry, that was state owned by the way, but a distance away from the Avery property, although it seems it was rather close or connected to the property.

A pathologist testified for the prosecution concerning several things with the bone fragments.  First she would testify of course that DNA determined these bones and fragments to belong to Teresa.  Secondly she testified that by putting the pieces together like a puzzle she determined that Teresa had been shot in the head at least once (I have found reports that she was shot anywhere from one to eleven times).  Thirdly, when asked where she believed the bones had been burned she claimed the fire pit outside Steven Avery's home where a majority of them were found.  She maintained this position after being questioned by the defense and being asked how she could tell this and what she would expect from bones that had been moved from one position to another.  In essence the defense successfully, at least in my opinion, pointed out that whether the fire pit was where the body was burned or not, the process that it took to collect those bones involved shovels and sifters which would also in essence give the impression of moving them.

The bones bother me quite a bit.  Why do we have a few bones (as I recall determined to be pelvic bones) in the quarry a distance away, bones in a burn barrel and then bones in the fire pit?  One could possibly argue the bones in the quarry were taken there by animals, but there is no evidence of this and it would be unusual that there would not have also been fragments of those bones along the way, not to mention the distance it would take for an animal to do this directly from the fire pit.  Secondly, why are there bones in a burn barrel?  An animal surely did not do this.  It is my belief, and keep in mind this is only my opinion, that the body was burned at the quarry, transported in the barrel and placed in the fire pit.  So how did I come to that opinion?

If you were to burn something and then you were to gather them to move, you're going to have a majority of the ashes (or here bone fragment) at the secondary site.  There would be less at the original site due to the person transporting believing they got most, if not all of them.  Secondly, why, if we believe the state's theory would there be any bones in the burn barrel at all unless the bones had been moved?  There seemed to not be a lot of them there, but enough that they knew they were there.  If she was burned in the fire pit and then the bones moved to take suspicion to point away from Avery, why are only a few away in the quarry?  Next, if her body was burned at the quarry it could also explain the blood said to be Teresa's in the back of her truck because there would have been a reason to transport her body.  

As far as how the pathologist was able to determine Teresa had been shot in the head I find that a bit questionable.  Pictures were shown of the bones and fragments and they were simply pieces and I am unsure that I can follow that there was any true evidence that cannot be disputed as to that cause of death.  Of course since Averys prosecution did not bring up anything from Brendan's confession and ultimately dropped the sexual assault charge and it was not brought up in his trial, but in the same respect it is unlikely due to the conditions of the bones that it could have been determined.  

The Ignition Key:

This evidence has become one of the most controversial of all the evidence in this case, both in the film and on the Internet.  The ignition key for Teresa's RAV4 was officially found according to the state on November 7th.  This was four days after Teresa was reported missing and after at least three previous searches had reportedly been conducted in Steven Avery's home (without Avery present as my research stated the state took possession of the land for a period of 8 days).  The first search occurred on November 3rd by Andrew Colborn when he questioned Avery after Teresa was reported missing and Avery agreed to a search of his home. It is reasonable to believe that search was little more than a small look around, but was still a search.  There had also been searches on the 5th (the day the truck was found), and the 6th (when they found Avery's guns, leg irons and handcuffs).  His room by all accounts had been searched very well by the time Colborn, Lenk and an officer from neighboring county, Calumet county, who was publicly supposed to be doing the search, entered the home again on the 7th. Both Colborn and Lenk had also been present the previous day.

Many areas involving the key are suspicious in nature. They involve the search in which it was found, the people involved in finding it, where it was found, the condition it was reported to be in, comments revolving the key made in court and even what kind of key it was.  The key was supposedly found by James Lenk in Avery's room near a book case, as well as a pair of Avery's shoes.  The book case had been moved and gone through in a previous search.  Seemingly the only other person in the room when it was found was Andrew Colborn. When questioned in court about when and how the key was found Colborn reported that Lenk had found it and directed his attention to it.  When asked if either of the officers touched the key Colborn answered they had not because "we knew it was important."  This statement is odd, not just in what he said but how he said it.  Simply put it was a single key with a simple key ring in the home of a man who had access to hundreds of cars in a salvage yard. To simply look at the key nothing seemed to be special about it but according to Colborn he and Lenk immediate knew that this key was important to this case.  

The key did in fact fit the ignition of Teresa Halbach's '99 Toyota RAV4. However, most reports state, and pictures show that the key found was what is called a valet key. This is not generally the key that an owner/operator would use as it generally can only unlock the driver's door of a vehicle and start the car but not open secure areas, such as the glove compartment, in the vehicle. One would think that whomever murdered Teresa would have had access to her keys and obviously the key in which she would generally use to drive her vehicle.  Although it seems there's little proof as to if this was the key Teresa used on a regular basis or not it has become a question.

The biggest issue involving the key however was the supposed DNA on the key. The film reported, and the state never clarified in the film nor has anyone come out since the film to dispute this, that the only DNA found on the key belonged to Avery.  Now, this makes little to no sense.  If this was Teresa's key and she had handled it at all, let alone on a regular basis why is it that only Avery's DNA is on the key?  It has obviously been argued by the defense that the key was planted by Officer Lenk.  So how did the DNA get there?  Well it was found in a room belonging to Steven Avery. I do not want to speculate how it could have gotten on the key, nor if it was there at all and will simply leave this issue with added with other things this issue with this key can leave some doubt.

The Bullet Found in the Garage:

Ken Kratz would have you believe that this piece of evidence was the smoking gun in this case.  He argues that the film failed to mention that the bullet found in the garage of Steven Avery in March of 2006 (six months after his arrest) that was said to contain Teresa Halbach's blood DNA on it came from one of the guns that had been found to belong to Steven Avery.  It is my opinion that while it obviously should be reported it is far from the nail in the coffin that Kratz would have people believe.  So what about this bullet?

Well, we all know that Sherry Culhane, the woman who worked in the lab and ran DNA tests on the blood admitted to contamination of this item.  She played it off as she was training people and she had obviously gotten to close to the item since her own DNA was found on the evidence.  And, as we all saw, protocol required her to throw that evidence out or rule it inconclusive but she failed to do so and because there was only a small amount to test in the first place she could not re-test the sample and published her results.  In most cases I would say that if you have to throw out DNA, as I think you should these results, you must throw out all DNA, which obviously would help the defense in this case.  However, this situation is different, at least as far as my research could tell.  First this sample was not supposedly collected until March of 2006, just after Brendan Dassey's first confession.  There is no evidence that says that the other DNA testing took place at the same time, in the same lab so we cannot exclude the other DNA as contaminated without evidence as such.  

However, the DNA evidence is not the only issue involved with the bullet found. As mentioned above it was not found until March of 2006 after many months and many searches that had included in garage.  A huge deal was made about the bullet in the first place and the fact it matched a gun owned by Steven Avery, and yet it was readily stated that there were many bullets and casings not necessarily all in the garage but all over the property.  Again, it was a bit of a rural area, it had several people living on and about the property, several of the residents were avid hunters (in fact two claim to have been hunting at the time Teresa disappeared) and it was readily admitted that the salvage yard and all the land around it (including Avery's) was used as a shooting range.  Another huge issue with this bullet being found in this garage was that it was the only evidence that something violent had occurred there.  The garage was cluttered as garages tend to be and yet, this bullet, that was on the floor in a bit of a corner and under things was the only thing that was found.  There was no blood splatter, just as there had been no blood in Avery's home.  From the sounds of things many things were tested in the garage and while Avery's DNA was all over, there was none of Teresa's.  It is interesting to point out here that also in all of the things tested Brendan Dassey's DNA was never found either.  

The defense produced an email between DOJ investigator, Tom Fassbender and lab technician, Sherry Culhane in which Fassbender tells Culhane they need some evidence to put Teresa in Avery's home or garage.  They had just gotten a confession from Brendan Dassey and they needed some evidence to prove that what he was telling them was what happened, and they did not have that yet. It was implied, and all but proven, by the defense that Culhane was under a lot of pressure to give the investigators the results that they wanted.  The defense was also successful in proving, or at least having Culhane admit, that this was the only time ever that she had not followed protocol and published the results as accurate despite noting the obvious contamination to which she was required to publish the results as inconclusive.  What was not shown in the film, nor could I really find information on was whether anyone was ever able to determine if Culhane had been involved in any other testing in this case.  As I stated earlier, this particular sample should have never been considered as evidence but since it was seemingly done at a different time than the other DNA testing did not necessarily make the other testing insignificant due to the same contamination but it would have been interesting to know if she had been involved in any of the other testing.  It also would be interesting to know how many times, in any case, she had been required to publish that results were inconclusive due to contamination.  

The handcuffs and leg irons:

I am unsure that this evidence was used at his trial exactly or not since Brendan Dassey was not brought in to testify but it has been mentioned several times on the Internet and I think that it is important to mention here.  My goal here is not just to discuss the evidence that was shown in the film, or even to the jury, but the evidence that was not used.  These items were found in a search of Avery's home on November 6, 2005, the day after Teresa Halbach's vehicle was found in the Avery salvage yard.  It was said that Steven had admitted buying them (I cannot remember how long ago prior) to use with himself and his girlfriend).  By all accounts these items were tested for DNA and while Steven's was present there was unidentified DNA present that could never be linked to Teresa Halbach.  Now, I cannot tell you when they were tested for DNA and that could be interesting.  As I said they were found November 6th... but it was not until Brendan Dassey gave investigators a confession that it seems, or at least the state wanted the public to think, that they were important.  It was in his confession in which he stated Teresa had been handcuffed and chained to the bed when she was raped and supposedly had her throat cut.  It seems investigators believed that this story that he told fit their evidence better. However, the forensic evidence does not support this being the case if there is none of Teresa's DNA on the handcuffs and leg irons, nor does it support Brendan's story when no blood belonging to Teresa could be found in the home.

The People Associated with the case:

Steven Avery:

Obviously we know that Steven Avery was a defendant in this case and ultimately convicted for the murder of Teresa Halbach.  But, I want to put out a few more details about him here.  At the age of 18 Steven pleaded guilty for his participation in the burglary of a bar.  He served ten months in prison.  At the age of 20 he pleaded guilty to animal cruelty.  The film glossed over this a bit and even had a comment from Steven indicating that it was a simple accident and a stupid act.  This has been a huge contention with people on the Internet and honestly did go to show some bias of the film.  The act was much more violent than the film portrayed.  Steven, and a friend, pour gasoline on a cat and then set it on fire.  Why?  Who knows.  In his 1985 case, while he was convicted of raping a woman and charged with attempted murder, two charges he was ultimately exonerated from, he was in fact at the same time convicted of assault against a female family member that was apparently married to a Manitowoc County officer. Further research indicates that Avery exposed himself to the woman.  I think this is important in the fact that while it falls under the umbrella of "assault" there appears to have been no physical contact with the victim. Not that it is appropriate behavior but exposing yourself to someone is a far stretch from murder.  For those charges he was sentenced to six years which likely would have had him serving three.  So while he served 18 years for the rape and attempted murder, not all of the time he served and later exonerated for really was unwarranted.  Yes, a vast majority of it was, as well as the legitimate charge does not negate his unwarranted charge.  Keep in mind that his civil suit against the county was in the process of depositions at the time of Teresa's disappearance and murder and things were not looking well for the county.  Those depositions were promptly cancelled when the Halbach case began and the county ultimately settled for $400,000.  In the end that money went to lawyers, first the lawyers from the civil case and later to defend him in the Halbach case.  It was far from the $36 million he was suing for and seemed likely he would win.

Something I found interesting that I wanted to add here although does not necessarily directly affect this case was Steven's ex wife.  We heard a little in the film about the fact that when he was arrested in 1985 his wife had just recently given birth to twins and the family said things seemed to be good for him.  We also got a quick glimpse in the film of Peter Dassey, Brendan's father, while he was visiting Brendan at some point.  My research stated that Lori Mathisen who was Steven's ex-wife went on to marry Peter Dassey.  Indications are that they are still married but I could be wrong in that sense. So in essence Brendan Dassey's step-siblings are also his cousins.

Brendan Dassey:

Again you have seen (in the film) and heard a lot about Brendan Dassey at this point already but let's recap him.  He lived next door to Steven and was also interviewed by officers in early November when all the searches for Teresa were going on.  Brendan claimed that on the day of October 31st he had returned home from school, played video games, saw his mother and between six and seven pm went to Steven's home where they went around the property gathering trash and had a bon fire.  It was not until many months later when investigators spoke to a cousin of Brendan's (a niece to Steven... presumably a daughter of one of his brothers) that they were told Brendan had confessed to her of seeing Teresa's body in the bon fire.  The girl was thirteen or fourteen at the time.  Although we did not see any video of her interview or interrogation, and she did admit telling the investigators this, later saying that she had lied to tell them what she felt they wanted to hear, I believe as a lay person who has seen the interrogation tapes of investigators with Brendan that it is likely they pressured the girl and I believe her claims that she was coerced into saying that.  Brendan recanted his confession several times but then often would state it again adding things.  One thing that is argued among those against the film is that apparently in at least one discussion with his mother Brendan indicates that Steven had molested him in the past.  It was determined that Brendan was of lower intelligence and it is very apparent, not just in his interrogations with police but also with his interview with Mike O'Kelly (the investigator for his defense) that Brendan was easily manipulated and often simply said what was expected of him and changed his story to fit what people wanted him to say. Keep in mind that no matter which version of October 31st that Brendan gave at any point in time there was never any forensic evidence not just to match his story, but to even place Brendan at the scene.  Witnesses were questioned and admitted that of all the evidence collected there was not one shred of DNA belonging to Brendan found.  Another issue that was not in the film, but apparently is circulating is that Brendan supposedly led or gave investigators jeans in which in one of his confessions said he was wearing the day of the murder and had obtained bleach on them while helping Steven clean up.  By all accounts it seems he did turn these pants over to investigators but it appears there was no blood droplets or DNA belonging to Teresa on them.  Now of course one can argue that of course there was not, that was the point of the bleach. But one cannot argue that Brendan, and/or Steven, were not intelligent hence why the bones were in the fire pit and the RAV4 so easily found, but they were so smart they were able to clean up every single not just blood droplet but of DNA belonging to not just Teresa but Brendan also.... but leave Steven's.  We cannot have it both ways.

Teresa Halbach:

Obviously we know who she is but let's do a little background on her.  She was a 25 year old photographer who one of the people she worked for was Auto Trader.  There has been much on the Internet pertaining to the fact that it was reported (through prosecutors) that Steven Avery had personally requested Teresa to come to take pictures of the van they were selling but also that it was reported that Teresa did not like going out to the Avery home.  It has been said that she went one time and Steven Avery opened the door wearing only a towel. Now, I cannot tell you where this came from as far as the towel issue, or even if we know for a fact it is true.  But, I do believe that she may have had an issue going out there and felt it was a little creepy but it may have had less to do with Steven Avery than of the area or even the other family members that lived there, however, I cannot tell you that for sure.  I can say the fact that he personally requested her may not have been as sadistic as it has been made out to be.  Teresa had been there previously which is not unusual, the salvage yard likely sold vehicles often and it is possible that not only did Steven think she was a nice person, but that she did her job well.  Again, we cannot say.

What we do know is that Teresa had a male roommate who did not report her missing for nearly four days.  She also had an ex-boyfriend, Ryan Hillegas,  who she was apparently still friends with and saw often.  According to a co-worker she was seemingly being harassed by someone through at the very least phone calls. What we do not know is where was her roommate on October 31st; where was Hillegas on that date; nor do we know who it was that Teresa felt harassed by.

I have major issues with the above.  Obviously the state had Teresa's phone records, as well as the defense it seems.  They knew that Steven Avery had called Teresa's phone three times on October 31st, two of which they claim he dialed *67 before.  This would mean that they had records of all calls made to her phone but yet no one was mentioned as being the harassing caller.  Then again we have to remember the state is claiming that Steven Avery is guilty and the defense was prevented by the judge to mention any other people who could have been suspects but not adequately investigated by name aside from Brendan Dassey who was already charged in the case.  We know, because he said so, Ryan Hillegas, was never asked for an alibi nor did he ever feel he was considered a suspect.  We also know that he was given access to places within the salvage yard and area once the police were involved that those of the general public were not.  We know, or at least he wants us to believe, that the roommate and Hillegas sat down a day or two after she disappeared to access her phone records and "guessed" her password to do so.  We also know that Teresa's brother accessed her voicemail (to which he did know the password) on November 3rd.  According to an expert her voicemail had filled up but some messages were deleted and then it filled up again.  However, no one has ever claimed to have deleted messages.  With that said how do the police and prosecutors (or the state for that matter) not know who called within the time frame, see the records and the times associated and get some sort of an idea who left voicemails that were deleted later?  I cannot answer all these questions and I am sure they never will be but I question as to why investigators did not have these answers.

Len Kachinsky:

You have not heard his name from me at this point because there has not been a reason, but make no mistake that does not make his role in this case insignificant and is why his is the first person I have chose to speak about after the victim and the two defendants.  Now most reports you will hear states that Len Kachinsky was Brendan Dassey's first attorney.  This is not true. Brendan was arrested on March 2, 2005 after his interrogation in which he gave his first supposed confession.  A court appointed attorney represented him from that time until about March 7th.  The first attorney with drew from the case under what I find to be very odd details.  This was not a small case by any stretch of the imagination.  This was a case in which a man who had been exonerated from a crime he did not commit and was in the middle of suing the people responsible for that was accused of murdering someone.  Everyone knew this case; this case was making headlines; this case had already been featured on the Nancy Grace show; this case was already 4 months in the making.  And yet, the first attorney appointed to represent Brendan Dassey withdrew because he was "distantly related" to the victim.  What?  He didn't know this in November when this "relative" was killed?  No one had informed him of this in the following four months? And then it took him five days to figure it out, or at least tell the people important enough to get him removed from the case?  I find this very odd.  But, at any rate that action led to the appointment of Len Kachinsky.

As we know from the film just a few weeks prior Kachinsky was running in an election to become a judge.  He came in third and just a few days later the courts appointed him the defense attorney to one of the defendants in one of the biggest cases he would ever see.  By the time he was appointed Dassey's lawyer however, he had an up hill battle.  His client had supposedly given investigators a confession that not only implicated his uncle Steven Avery who was already charged but also himself. The prosecution had also held a press conference pretty much laying out what Brendan Dassey had supposedly claimed, telling the public that he had filled in holes they needed. I think my favorite part of the film Making a Murder came in the last episode when Brendan's appellate attorney's had Kachinsky on the stand talking about a quote he had made to the media just after being appointed Brendan's attorney but before every meeting with his client.  As Kachinsky sat on the stand with his trademark smirk and not only denied making the statement but accused the media of making it up on top of going through the statement bit by bit saying how inappropriate it would have been if he had said that I heard myself screaming at the television.  To then see the attorney's play Kachinsky's voice (there was a visual of him saying it also) saying those exact words was priceless for me.  Aside from the fact that he was literally busted saying what he was denying he said, the fact of the matter is he did in fact say them, and those words indicated that without ever meeting his client he deemed his client guilty.  In case you forgot, Kachinsky had said Brendan was "morally and legally responsible" and that his actions came as a direct result of Steven Avery who he described as "evil incarnate."  He even mentioned a plea deal at that moment. Wait?  What?  You have not even spoken to your client, the only information you have has either come from the state or from the media and you not only do not defer to make a comment on his guilt or innocence at that time but you deem him guilty to the public, just as the prosecutor had already.  

All Len Kachinsky seemed to do within the film was complain about Barbara Tadych, Brendan's mother, and her behavior towards him and the control he claimed she had over her son.  You do not hear him talk about how the investigators lead Brendan in his confession.  You do not hear him talk much about Brendan's mental capacity.  You do not hear him talk much about mounting a defense for Brendan.  What you do hear a lot about is trying to work out a plea deal between the state and Brendan.  He did attempt to get Brendan's confession thrown out of court but he was unsuccessful.  I never heard any reference in which he filed or discussed filing a change of venue.  Of course I never heard this from Averys lawyers either.  We know that prosecutor Ken Kratz was from the neighboring county and considered a special prosecutor but for neither defendant did I hear or did they receive a change of venue.  Both defendants were tried in Manitowoc county with jurors from the area and a sitting judge. 

We also know that Len Kachinsky hired an investigator by the name of Mike O'Kelly (I have PLENTY to say about him later) and had him interview Brendan. We also know that, just as the law enforcement officers did not stop until Brendan told them what they wanted and how they wanted, neither did O'Kelly. Kachinsky allowed O'Kelly to do so without his presence.  Directly after O'Kelly got a new confession he called Kachinsky and officers Fassbender and Mark Wiegert were called to once again interview Brendan.  We know that Kachinsky was removed as Brendan's lawyer because he allowed these interviews without his presence, but we also know that information from those interviews or things that happened as a direct result of those interviews (think Brendan's call to his mother from the jail after speaking to Fassbender and Wiegert after they encouraged him to call her) were ultimately allowed at his trial.  

Surprisingly enough Kachinsky is still practicing law.  It seems that the law firm in which he works for has had to alter their website due to the animosity that they and he has received since the release of the film. But, Kachinsky is not just in the news for the role he played in this case. He is also currently in the news for his role in another case.  In 2009 David Reimer was arrested and charged in the death of his girlfriend's two month old baby.  I admit that I have only taken a cursory look at the general issues of his case but some argue that David was not the only person that could have caused the baby's death and that there was plenty of opportunity for others to have caused his death.  Kachinsky was his lawyer and in the end David pleaded to contest to the charges of child abuse and reckless homicide and received 14 years in prison.  David's mother, Lynn, claimed that her son was pressured by Kachinsky to make this plea when there was not sufficient evidence of his guilt and David was insisting on his innocence. Because of this Lynn filed a complaint with the state bar association.  She claims that just after her complaint she began being harassed by police and being "spied" on.  On January 27, 2016 Lynn has a court hearing to address a restraining order she has or is attempting to enact upon Len Kachinsky.

Len Kachinsky has been quoted since the film's release proclaiming he did nothing wrong in the defense of Brendan Dassey and despite the claims of film makers and a multitude of subsequent attorneys for Dassey his representation of him good or bad had no baring on the outcome of his trial.  Let us just hope all this negative publicity hurts his law practice even if he continues to have a license.  

Mike O'Kelly:

Like Kachinsky until this portion you have heard only a little from me about Mike O'Kelly.  And, just like Kachinsky that is not because he was insignificant.  There are websites going around now that lists the most "evil" people in this case and debates on just who was the worse.  In a sense that is what I have done, or doing, after the defendants and the victim.  For many prosecutor Ken Kratz is the most evil in this case, and while I cannot necessarily dispute that and respect the feelings of those who feel that way I have to, in my own opinion, respectfully disagree.  For me the two most evil (although I agree there is enough to go around) people associated with this case are Kachinsky and O'Kelly.  The only reason Kachinsky became first is because he is governed by a license and it not only does not seem that O'Kelly has to have any sort of credentials it was Kachinsky who brought him into the case.  

I have already mentioned my feelings on how the film addressed the email between Kachinsky and O'Kelly but I want to state agains, O'Kelly is entitled to his opinion but it was plainly obvious that he could not put that opinion aside and give Brendan the defense he not only deserved, but that the United States Constitution ensures.  

That being said my continued research into O'Kelly tainted my image of him even more.  I learned that the Dassey case was not the only case in which he has been involved in that he over stepped some bounds or went outside his specialty.  In fact, I was surprised to learn that at some point at least after this case he touted himself as being a cell phone expert.  I think we all know he was not using that specialty in his capacity in this case so I am left to wonder exactly what it was Kachinsky hired O'Kelly to do in the first place, or how he even became involved in this case.  It seems that O'Kelly was not like a local or regional expert.  One article I found on O'Kelly claims that he has claimed his business to be located in Nebraska, a resident of Utah and yet had a Chicago based phone number.  Can we say fishy??  I found two other cases he was involved with interesting.  One was the 2011 case of Christopher Coleman (a case I have blogged about) in Illinois.  It seems that O'Kelly was paid in excess of $24,000 as a cell phone data consultant but apparently his results nor his testimony was used in court.  The other case took place in 2012 in Texas.  The defense in that case obtained the approval of the courts to seek the advice of "Cell Tower Mike" as he was touting as his name at the time in case of Rickey Cummings.  Ultimately O'Kelly was paid $102,000 by the state of Texas yet once again his results were not used in court, mainly because it was said that it was discovered that Cummings had not had his phone with him much of the time of importance.  Apparently the way I understood it, O'Kelly kept requesting more funds from the state and they kept getting approved until the defense realized that not only was he not working on the information he was instructed or apparently being paid to do but he had visited Cummings in prison in excess of 10 times and was interviewing witnesses which was out of the scope of his duties per the defense.  In the end the defense asked him to produce his log books accounting for his time and was released from duty.  The state in fact tried to sue to recoup some of the funds paid to O'Kelly in that case but the courts dismissed the case saying despite the issues, the funds he got had been approved by the courts.  Apparently he did not want this issue again as he took a case in Michigan for a flat fee of just over $15,000 later.  It was also reported that at some point he was on the possible witness list for the Casey Anthony trial in Florida but I found no other information on this issue.

James Lenk:

James Lenk has apparently it seemed retired from law enforcement and as far as I can tell has made no public comment about the film.  For me Lenk is the next "most evil" person in this case for me.  This is the man in which for me seems to have little to no moral compass.  At the time in which Andrew Colborn says he received a call that may or may not have been about Steven Averys innocence James Lenk was his boss.  Lenk played several important roles in this case against Avery.  First, like many of the Manitowoc officers he had recently been deposed in the civil trial.  Secondly, it was Lenk's signature on the evidence of the blood vial found in 2006/7 by Avery's lawyers that had been used to prove his innocence from his 1985 conviction.  This proved that Lenk knew of this evidence.  It was proven that Lenk also had access to this evidence.  In court James Lenk repeatedly admitted he continually volunteered to do searches at the Avery property throughout the entire case despite the fact that there was an obvious conflict of interest and Manitowoc county was announcing to the public they had little to no involvement.  It was made very obvious that between depositions and court itself Lenk lied about what time he got to the salvage yard on November 5th, the day Teresa's truck was found.  At one point he claimed it was not until around 7 pm but that did not fit because if that was the case why was his name not in the log in book?  So now he has to change it to around two, just before the log book started.  To say he was never there would have been too much to lie about because that would seem unreasonable.  I do not believe the 7 pm story anyway, not because he is not on the log book but because the truck was found around 10:30 am.  Just seeing his demeanor and knowing his rank and position in the sheriff's office there is no way this man waited over 8 hours to see the vehicle.  This means that he had to have been there earlier, before the log book was started (or maybe after and he didn't sign it but I believe it was long before 2pm), again we know he knows about the blood vial in evidence and we know he has access to it.  I cannot say with certainty that he planted the blood as the defense claims but I do not put it past him considering there seemingly were no fingerprints or other evidence and the blood later attributed to Avery was a few drops.  Then of course there is the obviously tampered with vial.  

Then we have the key, which I discussed earlier, but aside from the problem pertaining to the key, once again James Lenk is involved as he is the one that supposedly found it in Avery's bedroom.  Again, we know the access that Lenk had to the vehicle and the evidence, and we know he was more than eager to play a role in this case despite the fact that it was still a conflict of interest for the entire department.  That we cannot dispute, I mean, the department had already publicly said so, the county had done the same.  This is why a "special" prosecutor was brought in and why they were stating they called in another county to handle the investigation.  

As we know Lenk is also present when the bullet reportedly to have Teresa's blood on it is found in Avery's garage a full four months after the investigation started, and we know he volunteered for search, as he likely did for all of them. As the defense pointed out, why.... four months after the investigation started and the massive searches complete was anyone from Manitowoc county involved in this search at all?

No matter what you think of Steven Avery (or Brendan Dassey's) guilt or innocence or any other case in which the planting of evidence has been alleged by police, you have to admit that something(s) really shady went on here when they should not have and could have easily been avoided.

Andrew Colborn:

Again, here is an officer in which I have mentioned a few times above.  I debated on whether or not to place him above James Lenk or not here because he may more shady than Lenk, but in the same respect Lenk held a higher rank than Colborn.  Since the trial Colborn has been promoted in the Manitowoc sheriff's department.  He is now Lt. Andrew Colborn and leads a detective unit. After Avery's conviction Colborn made a public statement that he hoped that the guilty verdict put to rest the suspicions and loss of confidence from those in the community about the sheriff's department.  That may have been the case then however, that does not seem to continue to the be the case as the current sheriff has publicly stated that members of their department have received threats since the release of the film.

So where do we begin with Colborn?  We know that he was a corrections officer in the mid 1990's and admits to receiving a phone call that presumably was about the innocence of Steven Avery from his 1985 conviction.  We know that James Lenk was his boss and we know that although he claimed in court that he did not write a report about the call when it happened as he did not know who the call was about and he simply transferred the call that in 2003, one day after Steven Avery was proven to be innocent he then wrote a report about the call nearly 8 years earlier.  This is so odd because if his testimony is truthful that he no idea who the call was about 8 years prior how does he suddenly not just remember the call but remember that it was about Steven Avery's case?  You cannot look at that and believe him.  It just simply is not possible.  But then again, that concerned the 1985 case who some say had no influence on this case.  I disagree.  I think the 1985 case has much to do with the 2005 case and I think anyone who does not think so just is not looking at all the facts.  

We know that Colborn, just like Lenk, seemed to be at every search on the property but more considering he was the first person to speak to Avery on November 3rd when Teresa was declared missing.  We know that Colborn made the call about the license plates two days before the vehicle was found.  We know he was present when every "important" piece of evidence was found in this case and we know that his department was proclaiming they were not lead investigators or had a minimal role in this case.  

Kenneth Kratz:

Some will disagree with me as to where I feel Kratz falls in the line of shady people in this case and trust me, it was not an easy decision.  However, I feel like, even though he was brought in early on in the case by Manitowoc county that most of the others in this list (aside from Kachinsky and O'Kelly, who are where they are because they had a duty to a client) had already started the ball rolling.  

One of my biggest issues, although I have many, with Ken Kratz was how often we heard him say in Steven Avery's trial that the evidence pointed "to one person."  If that was the case why at that moment was Brendan Dassey in jail awaiting trial?  If you believe Brendan Dassey's "confessions" as you supposedly do since that is how you are basing your theory on how the crime was committed, why are you not mentioning him in trial?  Why are you not putting him on the stand? Why are you then willing to drop the three charges (sexual assault, kidnapping and false imprisonment) against Avery that you added after speaking to Brendan Dassey. And if you do not believe him ... again, why is he sitting in jail awaiting trial. 

When it comes to Brendan Dassey's trial I take issue with Ken Kratz because the only "evidence" they have against him is his supposed confession.  There is absolutely nothing else against him.  I wanted to cringe when Kratz' co-counsel in the Dassey trial that innocent people do not confess to crimes they do not commit.  By 2007 when this trial was conducted, false confessions while not as well known and talked about today was not still a taboo subject.  Obviously there was evidence that a murder had occurred... ok, regardless of the lack of evidence against Dassey we do know this, and I will admit at that same level there was evidence of the mutilation of a corpse (which for whatever reason Avery was found not guilty of after being found guilty of the murder). That does not mean that there was evidence that Dassey did it or his confession was true. It just means that a woman was murdered by someone and her body was burnt. However, there is no evidence, again aside from Dassey's "confession" that Teresa Halbach was sexually assaulted, a charge he was convicted of. 

We all saw that Kratz had his own demons to bare after the trials and lost his license for a time, but I hardly feel as if this was punishment enough for the actions from this case.  Although I do believe he lied and exaggerated many things in Avery's trial that left a bad taste in my mouth but what he did to a sixteen year old kid, knowing, seeing what investigators did to him, and then showing them to a jury was unfathomable to me.  

My Conclusions:

I have to say that at this point I am exhausted putting this case together and I suspect you, the reader, are also.  There were more people that I searched such as Kenneth Peterson, the man who was sheriff in Manitowoc county in 2005 during depositions and the Halbach case but also the arresting officer in Avery's 1985 case; Tom Fassbender and Mark Wiegert (who by the way were given awards for their work on this case) the investigators from the DOJ that heard Brendan Dassey's multiple confessions.  There wore but I think it's time to try and bring this blog to some sort of conclusion.

As I said early on, for me this case may be less about my belief in the guilt or innocence of Steven Avery or even Brendan Dassey.  For me the importance of this case was the investigation and the trials.  Those who believe they are both guilty, for whatever reason they have concluded that, believe that those who question that are all clamoring for their release and as you often see in Internet "fights" less than intelligent.  What many have said is that they cannot determine the guilt or innocence of either of these men (although one was a 16 yr old at the time, hardly a man) it is hard to argue that either of the had fair trials.  First off, the trial was conducted in the same county, full of jurors that were from the county that was being sued by Steven Avery.  In fact my research found that one of the jurors was the father of a Manitowoc County Sheriff deputy and one was the husband of a Manitowoc County Clerk.  The dismissed juror, Richard Mahler, that we saw in the film stated this.  How did these people get on the jury at all?  

I cannot tell you if I think either of them are guilty, however I can tell you that I lean more towards the innocence of Brendan considering there was nothing at all against him aside from his obviously coerced confessions.  What I can tell you is that I do believe the defense in their theory that the Manitowoc County Sheriff's department thought he was guilty from the start and they did what they had to in order to ensure a conviction.  Do I think that they killed Teresa Halbach?  No.  

Here is what I do believe and why.  I believe that someone that lived within the 40 acres that included the salvage yard and at least 5 homes murdered Teresa Halbach.  This of course could include Steven Avery.  I think it is unreasonable to believe that an officer or anyone living outside that property murdered her. For that to have happened too many things would have to come into play.  If we want to say the police set Avery up from the get go that means that they had to know Teresa had been at that area on that day and just so happened to have died just after that.  There was no indication that her vehicle had been involved in an accident so we can rule that out.  There are rumors or speculation that Manitowoc County may have been having surveillance on Avery hoping something would happen since the civil trial was going so badly, but then we're still stuck with either the police simply killed a woman to get even with him and set him up or someone else (even if we want to say the roommate, or the ex boyfriend) killed her for whatever reason and then had a good enough relationship with the sheriff's department to enlist their help in setting Avery up. Then again if it was the roommate or the ex boyfriend, they too would have to know she had been out at the Avery's and that just seems too coincidental to me.  Now, that does not mean that I do not think they should have been looked into as suspect, provided alibi's as well as DNA but I just find it unlikely.  

What I can say is that I do not in any way, shape or form believe the prosecutions theory on what happened.  There is absolutely no way that Steven Avery had Teresa Halbach in his home, chained to his bed, invited Brendan Dassey to join in, the two men rape her and slit her throat and neither Theresa or Brendan leave DNA in that home.  I do not think the prosecution could stick with a theory however, but another theory involves her being shot (which the ME tried to claim). I lost count on how many they finally settled on as being the amount of times she was shot.  But, theory two says she was shot in the garage.  And again the ONLY piece of evidence that could point to that is a bullet found four months later buried under things in a garage that in the end MUST be thrown out scientifically for contamination.  Not only had the garage been searched multiple times at that point, but Steven Avery had been in jail for over four months and there were others who had access to that property.  But, add to that where is the blood?  Oh yeah, it is in the back of Teresa's RAV4. 

I absolutely believe her body was burned at the quarry and not in the fire pit. There is no other reason why there are a few bones at the quarry and a few in the barrel.  If you're going to move the bones, you're going to move them and the majority are going to be at the move site. You aren't going to take a few bones and put them some where far from your house, your going to take the majority of them and get them as far away from you as you can.

Why or how could a man who can seemingly get rid of all of the DNA and blood from a victim of murder in his home and knows how to use a car crusher at a salvage yard, lives on the property and has nearly four days to do so just leave that out in the open?  There were others who lived on that land who did not have access to the crusher or the know how to use it, it seems.  The most popular theory concerning that leads to Bobby Dassey, Brendan's brother, and their step-father, Scott Tadych.  As pointed out in the film they were each other's own alibi's and that was simply a passing in the road, and yet their timelines did not jive with the school bus driver that did not have a dog in this fight.  They both supposedly went hunting, although not with each other and apparently were gone rather late into the night.  Neither Bobby Dassey or Scott Tadych had a real association with the salvage yard or access or knowledge of the equipment.  Do I think they did it?  Maybe... I cannot say but neither can investigators.  Their home was never searched; their DNA was never taken. Scott Tadych seemed overly excited that his brother in law was convicted, stating it was a wonderful day.  Apparently Tadych today, however does not believe that Brendan is guilty.  I do not believe that you can be certain of Brendan's innocence but just as certain of Steven's guilt.  You just simply cannot have it both ways.  

While I have stressed the importance that I do not believe anyone should base their opinion solely on Making a Murder because there is some obvious bias within the film as I have stated here.  I must also say that it is one of the better documentaries that I have seen (although the Paradise Lost series on the West Memphis 3 case was a good one too aside from the fact of at one point accusing one of the step-fathers, pretty much in the same way the boys were).  There is absolutely no way that any program, or writer of a book (or a blog) can give every single detail of a case and give it adequate telling.  If I did not know that prior to this case, I surely know it now.  With that said, as always I welcome any and all feedback, especially about anything you feel I may have forgotten or neglected to add.  What I do not agree with is complete disregard, intentional misinformation or flat out lies, especially on things that are clearly evident.  For example I read where a man named Michael Griesbach wrote a book called "Unreasonable Inferences" in 2010 (although I admit confusion it seems the book was republished in 2014 by the American Bar Association and renamed "The Innocent Killer" although there may be more in the latter version) in which he states that James Lenk and Andrew Colborn found "a set of keys" belonging to Teresa.  From my understanding he goes on about the "keys" in description.  We all know that only one key was found that day in Avery's room.  The fact Griesbach has apparently lied about this issue, has to make you wonder what else he fabricated.  It should be noted that Griesbach was a Manitowoc County prosecutor however I have no idea what association he had with the case as he was someone that I came across just today as I was compiling my research.  

Do I believe Avery and Dassey deserve new trials?  Absolutely.  Do I believe they will get them? Absolutely not.  I would not be surprised to see this case end as the West Memphis 3 case ended in which the prosecutors had a reasonable belief a new trial would be granted and knew they did not have the evidence to try them but before stating that offered the three men an Alford Plea and released them from prison.  When it comes to Dassey, who has gotten his case, or at least attempting to get his case in federal court, the only two things they have is his confession and his WHOLLY lacking defense attorney.  If he is ordered a new trial either his confession will be thrown out and/or the things entered in trial when his lawyer was not present.  There is absolutely nothing else on him.  Prosecutors would have nothing so if a federal court orders him a new trial I do not see the state re-trying him in any way.  They could offer him a deal that he may or may not take or he will simply walk out of jail.  When it comes to Avery I think there are many reasons for cause for a new trial but at this point his state appeals have run out and unless new advancements are made in science or new evidence arises I do not see much happening there.  He should have won an appeal a long time ago if nothing else then on the fact it was tried in a county with a jury full of residents of the county he was suing.  I am unsure how legal it would have been or an argument that could have made but the verdicts themselves contradicted each other and leave questions.  It has been said since the film's release that a juror has gone to the film makers and said that the strange verdict (guilty of murder yet not guilty of mutilating a corpse) was a compromise by the jury thinking it would be taken up on appeal.  This just seems not just strange but I am not sure I believe.  Why would people make this deal with each other planning on their verdict to be overturned as opposed to simply telling the judge they could not come to a decision?  The outcome they expected would be the same... a new trial and new jury.  Instead if that really was their thinking, it did not work and the man is still in jail without ever receiving a new trial and the odds of it happening are slim at this point.  That being said, if Avery had ever been granted a new trial, or does in the future I suspect the prosecution would likely attempt to retry him depending on the reason for the new trial.  However, I think everyone will agree that the DNA evidence presented as being on the bullet in the garage would absolutely not be used again.  It is a no brainer on that.  That evidence is trash. But, they would still be left with absolutely no blood or DNA of Teresa's in Avery's home or garage.  If it could ever be proven the blood attributed to Steven in the RAV4 did in fact come from the tainted vial... it is gone and they may as well give it up because if a jury was made absolutely certain that the blood was planted they would have no problem believing the key was planted or anything else in the case.  Regardless of all of that you still have 40 acres of land with five homes on it in which only one home was searched and only one person was adequately questioned (2 if you count Dassey) and no DNA samples were taken.  Sure you could take their DNA now, but how do you explain things if you find their DNA on items now that have been sitting in evidence since 2005/2006?  And this is after it has likely been proven the guy convicted was set up.  Any defense would have a field day.  

No... the state does not want these men to get the opportunity to have a new trial because the case of Teresa Halbach was officially solved in 2007 with these two convictions.  The case was not investigated properly and it is too late now. Unless these two men take Alford Pleas like the West Memphis 3 while the real killer is let to go free, they state will be content to let them sit there because to release them means Teresa Halbach's family will never receive justice. 


***Edited to add on January 31, 2016***

Today I watched two different shows that aired last night on this case.  One was Dateline on NBC while the other was Front Page on ID.  I suspected before watching them that they may have been the same show, just under a different name and while they were not exact, they did in fact have much of the same information, as well as the same scenes, especially those with Avery's lawyer. I did not really hear much more than what I already knew or had heard about since the release of the film but I paid special attention to both listening to details, especially Front Page after I watched Dateline.  In the Dateline episode they stated Teresa Halbach had been missing for 2 days when her friends and family conducted a search.... yeah.. no... she had been gone nearly four before she was ever reported missing and was gone six before the search began.  Front Page seemed to get that fact correct.  Both shows talked a lot about the blood vial and the hole.  The Dateline episode offered an expert who said the hole is to be there and addressed the fact that Avery's lawyer mentioned blood between the glass and the cork, saying again that was normal.  Avery's lawyer comments were shown exactly on Front Page but they did not address it as well in my opinion.  

The Dateline show had an interview with Avery's new lawyer who's known for reversing wrongful convictions and while she was evasive as she always is she said a lot in what she did and did not say.  

Kratz of course was on both shows defending his position (except the press conference he gave after Brendan's confession) and condemning the film.  He seemed more angry they added the last bit about his misconduct that forced his resignation than the things having to do with the trial or case.  I just wish in all these years someone would have sent the man to some voice lessons... his voice and behavior when he speaks is like nails on a chalkboard.  

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