Photographer Teresa Halbach, 25, went missing on October 31, 2005.
According to earlier reports, one of the last people Halbach had contact with was Steven Avery, one of the owners of Avery’s Salvage Yard in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. She was allegedly meeting Avery to take pictures of some of his inventory.
What followed was a long-running search party and a string of investigations, during which investigators discovered the photographer’s Toyota RAV4 hidden on Steven Avery’s property. Then, Avery’s nephew, Brendon Dassey, made a confession.
According to Fox News:
Dassey told detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill Halbach in the Avery family’s Manitowoc County salvage yard.
In separate trials, Avery and Dassey were each convicted for the rape and murder of Halbach and sentenced to life in prison.
— The New Daily (@TheNewDailyAu) June 23, 2017
This was Avery’s second sexual assault and murder conviction. He was acquitted of his first conviction after serving 18 years when DNA testing revealed his innocence.
Following the Halbach murder case, a group of lawyers, investigators, and experts teamed up to make the Netflix documentary, “Making A Murderer,” which premiered in December 2015.
The series followed the twists and turns of the murder investigation and had many speculating whether the pair was guilty.
During their trials, both Avery and Dassey argued that they were framed by the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office because Avery was suing the county after being wrongfully convicted in 1985.
— WCUB Radio (@CubRadio) June 22, 2017
Last August, a federal magistrate judge found that Dassey was coerced into making his confession.
Dassey had an IQ that suggested he had cognitive learning problems; he was enrolled in special education classes at his high school. That, coupled with his age at the time, and his lack of adult presence during the confession led the judge to overturn his conviction.
This decision was appealed by the state Department of Justice.
On June 22, a three-judge panel at the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the federal magistrate judge’s ruling, the majority agreeing that Dassey’s confession was “improperly obtained.” In the opinion, Judge Ilana Rovner wrote:
In addition to failing to apply a totality of the circumstances analysis to the facts of this case, as required by the Supreme Court, the state court acted unreasonably when it determined that, given the totality of the circumstances, Dassey’s confession was voluntary.
The panel ordered his release unless the state decides to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court or retry Dassey altogether. If they decide to retry Dassey, it must happen within 90 days.
— WomansBuzz (@WomanSBuzz) June 23, 2017
Dassey will remain in a Wisconsin prison until a decision is made.
Avery continues to maintain his innocence and has appealed his second conviction.
The second season of “Making A Murderer,” which will follow and break down the multiple appeals, is in the works.