Making a Murderer: Steven Avery 'so happy' after Brendan Dassey conviction is overturned

And his lawyer says a 'tsunami' of fresh evidence is coming

Heather Saul
Saturday 13 August 2016 13:06 BST
Steven Avery had filed a $36m civil suit against Manitowoc County sheriff's office at the time of his arrest in 2005
Steven Avery had filed a $36m civil suit against Manitowoc County sheriff's office at the time of his arrest in 2005 (AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS)

The lawyer who has taken on Steven Avery’s appeal has said her client is “so happy” to hear his nephew’s conviction for the same murder has been overturned by a federal judge.

Avery’s wrongful conviction for rape and attempted murder, exoneration, decision to sue the state and subsequent arrest and conviction for the murder of missing photographer Theresa Halbach has captured international attention after being made the subject of the popular Making a Murderer documentary.

The 10-part Netflix series also followed the case of his nephew, Brendan Dassey, who was convicted alongside Avery of Ms Halbach’s murder. Dassey was 17 when a Wisconsin jury found him guilty of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault, and mutilation of a corpse and sentenced to 41 years in prison.

Making a Murderer sparked great interest in both Avery and Dassey’s case. On Friday, a Milwaukee judge ruled the controversial methods used to extract Dassey’s confession involved investigators making “repeated false promises”. In his ruling, the judge said this combined with his low intellect and the lack of an adult present to support him made his confession involuntary and his conviction was overturned. Dassey, now 26, could be released from prison within 90 days if the state chooses not to launch an appeal.

Avery’s case has now been taken on by Kathleen Zellner, a defence lawyer known for helping to exonerate 17 men. Zellner said Avery was pleased to hear of the decision regarding his nephew’s conviction.

“We are thrilled for Brendan Dassey that his conviction has been overturned,“ she said in a statement. ”We fully expected this outcome from an unbiased court that carefully examined his confession. I was just visiting Steven Avery and he is so happy for Brendan. We know when an unbiased court reviews all of the new evidence we have, Steven will have his conviction overturned as well."

Ever since agreeing to take on his case, Zellner has been vocal about Avery’s case and her Twitter feed has been dedicated to declaring him innocent.

“If you think we are just tweeting...think again,” she warned in July. “A tsunami of new evidence is on the way.”

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