Steven Avery, who was sentenced to life in prison for the 2005 first-degree murder of photographer Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, may get a new trial if his lawyer gets her way.
The case became a public sensation after the documentary series ‘Making a Murderer’ aired on Netflix.
In her 1,272-page petition, attorney Kathleen Zellner claims Avery should get a new trial “in the interests of justice,” saying that authorities planted evidence but that defense counsel at trial were unable to prove it because they lacked experts, according to a report by the Associated Press.
“Because the State did not need to establish motive, it did not spend any time trying to figure out why Ms. Halbach was murdered,” wrote Zellner in her brief. “Both Mr. Avery and Ms. Halbach are victims of a justice system whose success depends upon the integrity, competence and devotion of judges, law enforcement, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. Both Ms. Halbach and Mr. Avery have yet to receive justice.”
Brendan Dassey, Avery’s nephew, confessed to law enforcement that he helped his uncle rape and murder Halbach at his family’s salvage yard. But in August, a judge threw out Dassey’s conviction, ruling that police investigators pressured him into confessing by taking advantage of his cognitive disabilities. Attorneys for the State are appealing that decision.
Avery’s trial lawyers, Dean Strang and Jerry Buting, support Zellner’s petition for a new trial.
“All that really matters here, to us and we hope to everyone, is that we get closer to the truth in this case and to justice for everyone,” wrote Strang in an email to the AP.