It has been several months since the phenomenon that was Making a Murderer has made us all become couch potatoes for a few days. For those of you that do not know what Making a Murderer is, please come out from under your rocks, and ask your grandparents what Netflix is. Making A Murderer is the controversial story of Manitowoc citizen Steven Avery and his wrongful conviction of rape in the year 1985. He served 18 years in jail before evidence was brought about showing his innocence. While Steven served time in jail the real culprit repeated his crimes a couple more times. Also, Steven never wavered when it came to the question of his innocence. He stood true all 18 years, denying his suspected role in the rape case, even though, claiming guilt would have put him out of prison and on parole. Once released Avery filed a lawsuit against Manitowoc County which would presumably grant him (if successful) 36 million dollars. The lawsuit would not be covered by insurance, and the Sheriffs department was at the time being deposed for their role in the wrongful conviction. Low and behold, all of their luck put together granted them another arrest of Steven Avery.
October 31, 2005, Theresa Halbach, a freelance photographer for Auto Trader, is scheduled to meet with Steven Avery to photograph a van that is for sale on his property. She goes missing that very day, with one person mentioned as being the last to see her. Steven Avery. Steven Avery is arrested on November 9th, 2005 for the murder of Theresa Halbach. All of the evidence mentioned is shown against him: Her Rav 4 on his property, his blood in the Rav 4, her spare key in his bedroom, and his nephew admitting guilt against both of them. All of this makes for a very sound conviction, right? Wrong. Steven is at the center of one of the most controversial trials ever witnessed. The documentary goes further into the conspiracies that arise of how all of the evidence came to be, what role the county’s sheriff department had, and whether or not his nephew was coerced into a false statement. If you have not watched the series yet please, clear your schedule for this whole weekend, and press play.
Since the series aired on Netflix it has received global popularity. Steven Avery has had a tremendous outreach of support, and he even has a fancy new legal team. Kathleen Zellner is his new legal representative, and she has quite the record to go with it. No other attorney has righted more wrongful convictions in the past 20 years of legal practice. This is without a doubt the most popular client she has represented thus far, however. Does that mean she will change her approach in any way? She is now very vocal on social media, but that only goes so far, and it is likely to maintain public interest in Steven’s favor. Most experts say that the judicial system had failed Steven, and there was more than enough to bring about reasonable doubt, though he did not receive that from the selected jury. In fact people are demanding that he receive a retrial, but Zellner has her eyes on something much bigger.
Complete exoneration is Kathleen Zellner’s goal. She doesn’t even want a retrial. She wants her client to walk out of his jail cell a free man. It is quite a big goal, considering the amount of evidence that is stacked against Mr. Avery. So, how does she think this can be accomplished? Kathleen Zellner recently had an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, where she believes there are three parts to her desired exoneration.
1.Theresa Halbach must be placed off of the Avery Property.
This would be a major blow to the prosecution. It was stated that Steven was the last person to come into contact with her, and if she left the property it would limit the potential of this being true. Zellner has stated publicly that Halbach’s phone records do in fact ping off of a different cell tower, which would place her off the Avery property after her meeting with Steven.
2. The evidence was planted.
There is no way to convince people that IF Halbach was not murdered by Steven, on his property, then the evidence was not planted. In fact, the only way to exonerate Steven completely is to show evidence that everything against him was indeed planted. Now whether it was law enforcement or an outside source with connections to Avery, the evidence against him must be disproved. If it is indeed proven that law enforcement had a hand in the accused planting then the State of Wisconsin will have a lot more troubles than just one hefty lawsuit signed Steven Avery. If this is the case I would expect the State to fight whole heatedly on the side of the prosecution no matter what evidence is brought to light. A corrupt law enforcement is grounds for release for hundreds of potential criminals that have been convicted in the past.
3. Someone else is guilty of the murder.
Zellner has repeatedly stated that law enforcement had tunnel vision throughout the whole investigative process. They had one suspect the whole time. Zellner has access to documents that are not publicly available, and with these she can determine who else may have had a hand in the unforgivable crime of murder.
These are the three major keys that Zellner will focus on in her brief. Her legal team will be hiring scientists to do the most advanced tests on the evidence from the Halbach trial. These tests were not around during the original trial, and technologies have advanced quite a bit since then. This very well may be Avery’s best bet on overturning his ruling. Zellner has also stated that her team has compiled a list of potential suspects for the murder, even going as far as to say, “I’d say there’s one, leading the pack by a lot.”- Kathleen Zellner, Rolling Stone Interview
What now? When will the State of Wisconsin and Zellner collide? Unfortunately the appeal process is a long process, and this is what will have to be covered. Thanks to Reddit user Effleurage I was able to come up with the following timeline. Zellner must file her record to the Court of Appeals. Once this is filed She will have 40 days to begin working on her brief. This brief will contain all of her points as to why Steven Avery is an innocent man. All the evidence and test results will be mentioned in this brief, and that is what the world will be waiting to read for the next month. Once the brief has been filed by Zellner, the prosecution will have 30 days to file a response. Once this is filed Zellner will have 15 days for a response. Barring no requests for extensions from either side, we would be looking at the end of June for all of this to take place. Once all the responses have been filed, the Appeals Court will then set a date for an oral hearing. This is an unknown time frame, and dependent on the schedule of the court.
Mark your Calendars for May because that is when the juicy briefing from Zellner is most likely to be made public! We will see whether there is quality evidence in support of Steven Avery’s innocence. This very well may be a bigger trial than the OJ Simpson case when it is all said and done. For all future updates regarding Making A Murderer’s Steven Avery stay posted to Tony’s Take!