By now, you have probably seen the popular Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer, which details the story of convicted murderer, Steven Avery. But if you haven’t seen it, read on, because the Steven Avery case is one that has captivated the attention of the world due to the radical actions of law enforcement in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
Convicted and Then Acquitted
Steven Avery’s relationship with the law enforcement officials in Manitowoc County began when he was wrongfully convicted of a 1985 rape. He served 18 years in prison, only two less than his 20-year sentence before he was exonerated through DNA evidence.
After his release, in September of 2003, Avery sought compensation from former sheriff Thomas Kocourek, former district attorney Denis Vogel, and Manitowoc County in the amount of $36 million in damages. Just two years later he would be arrested again and charged with the murder of Theresa Halbach.
The Murder of Teresa Halbach
Teresa Halbach was a photographer who worked with Autotrader, and her association with Avery was actually through her work. She would frequently come and photograph cars at their property to sell. Her last known appointment the day she disappeared, and seemingly the last person that saw Halbach, was Avery.
He was arrested in November 2005 after Halbach’s vehicle was found on the Avery property covered in brush and tree limbs. Avery pleaded his innocence and claimed he was being framed by the officials in Manitowoc County due to the fact that he had filed a civil lawsuit against them for his prior wrongful conviction. Avery’s attorneys shocked neighboring Chicago defense attorneys and people across the country when they announced the discovery of a tampered-with vial containing Avery’s blood.
The sample had been taken in his wrongful conviction case, and it was found with the evidence seal broken and a small, needlelike puncture hole through the top of the vial. Avery’s defense claimed that this blood was taken to plant evidence of Avery’s DNA mixed with Halbach’s at the scene of the crime.
There are many more pieces of evidence that support Avery’s innocence, but for the sake of time, despite the evidence, Avery was found guilty for Halbach’s murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
What’s Next for Avery?
Avery has been working with a wrongful conviction attorney, Kathleen Zellner, to get his conviction overturned. There have been many years of appeals since 2005, but most notably, Zellner and Avery recently won an appeal that will allow them to have their appeal heard by the US Circuit Court of Appeals.
Only time will tell whether Avery will have his conviction overturned again, but one thing is for certain: The evidence clearly shows that Avery is not likely to have been the murderer of Teresa Halbach.