If you’re anything like me, you finished watching Netflix’s hot new true crime documentary, Making a Murderer, and immediately scoured the internet for every piece of evidence you could find that was left out in an attempt to form your own opinion of what happened. In this post, I’ll pull together all the evidence I could find and break it down for you so you can determine for yourself what to believe.
After the documentary was released, Ken Kratz, the prosecutor who led the state’s case against Steven Avery told the media that many pieces of evidence were conveniently left out to sway the viewer into seeing things from the defense’s point of view. In fact, Kratz told Fox6Now.com that 80-90% of the evidence of the physical evidence used to convict Steven Avery was left out of the documentary. Really? 80-90%? Let’s take a look.
What did the documentary leave out?
- Steven Avery showed an interest in raping, torturing, and killing women before he was exonerated in 2003. According to Kratz, an inmate who knew him during his 18-year stint in prison for the rape he did not commit in 1985 came forward to say Steven had talked about building a “torture chamber” once he was released so he could rape and kill women. Steven also allegedly told another inmate that burning a body would be a good way to dispose of it.
My opinion? Take this with a grain of salt–why would we believe other criminals making these statements? They could be saying these things in hopes for a lighter sentence, and we have already seen the state’s shoddy interrogation tactics first hand.
- People Magazine states that Steven Avery had once answered the door wearing just a towel and Teresa Halbach specifically asked her employer not to send her back to his residence.
This seems to be stretching the fact. I could find no evidence Teresa specifically asked not to go back to the Avery residence, but I did find this article from the Chippewa Herald, where Teresa’s coworker, Dawn Pliszka, stated:
“She had stated to me that he had come out in a towel. I just said, ‘Really?’ and then she said, ‘Yeah,’ and laughed and said kinda ‘Ew.’’’
Seems like they are just kind of laughing at him? I don’t think this proves Teresa was scared of Steven Avery at all. I also think it’s important to note that Pliszka’s testimony about this incident was not allowed into the trial.
- On the day she went missing, Steven requested Teresa specifically, but did not use his real name or phone number when booking the appointment. Kratz stressed that this was important because it showed premeditation and deception–meaning Steven specifically wanted Teresa on his property that day and gave the fake name and number to trick her into showing up.
This piece of evidence appears to be true, as noted here and here. However, I don’t believe you can infer premeditation and deception from his actions. In fact, the defense argued that the minivan Teresa was photographing that day was Barb Janda’s, and Steven left Barb’s name and number. Plus, Teresa had been to the Avery residence 5 times in the past few months. I don’t think she would have been “tricked” into showing up at an address on the Avery property just because she was given a different name and phone number. She knew the address and knew exactly where she was headed.
- Avery called Teresa’s phone three times that afternoon–and two of those times he utilized the *67 feature to conceal his identity. People Magazine reports Kratz claimed Steven called once at 2:24 p.m. and again at 2:35 p.m., using *67 both times, so Teresa would not be able to see who was calling her. He also called again at 4:35 p.m. This time, he did not use *67 and the state claims that’s because he already knew she was dead, so he didn’t need to conceal his identity, and he was trying to establish an alibi by calling at that point (maybe to later claim she never showed up and he was calling to see what the hold up is).
Ok, let’s break this down a bit. We know Steven is expecting Teresa to arrive around 2:00, based on the message she left for Barb Janda in the morning. Those first two calls to Teresa’s phone could have been Steven wondering if she was going to show up. Bobby Dassey stated in his testimony that he saw Teresa arrive a little after 2:30 to photograph the minivan, and he left the residence shortly after that (around 2:45) and stated he saw Teresa walking toward Steven’s trailer at that time. But the bus driver in the documentary, Lisa Buchner, stated she saw Teresa on the property taking photos between 3:30 and 3:40. And another witness, John Leurquin, a man filling up a propane tank near the Avery property, stated he saw Teresa’s vehicle leaving the area, however he did not see who was driving. He claims he usually fills up his tank between 3:30 and 4:00 each day. Take all that for what it’s worth. I don’t know if Steven Avery has ever explained why he called Teresa’s phone at 4:35 p.m. that day.
- Steven’s DNA was also found under the hood of Teresa’s RAV4, and it did not come from blood. Kratz claims non-blood DNA belonging to Steven was found under the hood of the car and the battery had been disconnected. This, he claims, proves police didn’t plant it, since the sample did not contain any blood, but was comprised of something else, such as skin cells or sweat.
Ok, that’s all fine and dandy, but before you make up your mind about this piece of evidence, give this post a read. I can’t understand why you have the SUV in police possession at the state crime lab and you only think to test the door handles and underneath the hood for DNA five months after you recover it? Sorry, but that doesn’t add up to me. They also claim the only reason they tested it was because of what Brendan Dassey admitted in one of his “confessions,” but if you read the transcript, you’ll see investigators specifically asked him about what Steven did under the hood of the car.
- Steven Avery had purchased handcuffs and leg irons three weeks before Teresa went missing. The state claims Brendan Dassey admitted these items were used to restrain Teresa in Steven’s trailer.
Steven openly admitted in a Milwaukee Magazine article he did purchase these items, but he bought them to use with Jodi. And, unfortunately for the state, none of Teresa’s DNA was found on the leg irons or handcuffs, which seems very hard to believe if she really was shackled to Steven’s bed. Oh, and let’s take a look at what those leg irons and handcuffs looked like. Wow. Really?
- Brendan Dassey’s jeans from Oct. 31 were stained with bleach and he told investigators it was from helping Steven clean his garage floor with bleach and paint thinner.
This was included in the trial, and out of all the missing pieces of evidence above, I think it’s one of the most important. Not only did Brendan tell his mother and the investigators that he helped clean Steven’s garage with bleach that day, but Steven also told Jodi in one of their phone calls that evening that Brendan was helping him clean the garage. Investigators recovered the bleach-stained jeans from Brendan’s house, but no DNA evidence linking him to Teresa was ever found. And of course, we all know from watching the documentary that none of her blood was found in the garage–even after they dug up the cement floor to look for blood that might have seeped into the cracks. The only thing in the garage linking to Teresa was the single bullet fragment located underneath an air compressor months after her murder that later tested positive for her DNA.
That’s all I can dig up on the missing evidence from the documentary. Do you think it was 80-90% of the evidence, as Kratz stated earlier? I certainly don’t. And, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I don’t think it’s enough to convince me of Steven’s guilt–but I don’t necessarily believe he is 100% innocent either. All I’m saying is we still don’t know what happened there that day and, to be honest, I’m not sure any of us will ever know. What I do know is that juries are only instructed to find a person guilty if the state has proven their case beyond reasonable doubt, and I don’t think that happened. I believe the defense poked many holes in the state’s theory and the jury got it wrong. That doesn’t mean I think he is innocent. It just means I think he should have been found not-guilty. There is a big difference. I don’t think he should be pardoned or exonerated, but I do think he deserves a fair trial. What do you think after reading all the evidence? Does this change your mind about the documentary?