Making a Murderer Explained (Plus 4 Other Controversial Cases)
When Netflix released Making a Murderer in 2015, they ushered in a new enthusiasm for true crime documentaries. The series captivated the world and was all anyone could talk about for months. Recently, Netflix released part two, another 10 episode season.
Now, it seems like we can’t go a week without similar documentaries being released. So, to help make sure that you’re caught up on the most popular true crime stories here is Making a Murderer explained, as well as four other controversial cases.
Making A Murderer
Steven Avery was once imprisoned falsely for 18 years after a wrongful conviction, it wasn’t until 2003 that new DNA technology proved his innocence. Avery would go on to try and sue for $36 million in compensation after no charges for wrongful conviction were brught against the state.
On October 31st, Teresa Halbach went missing after visiting the Avery property to take a photo of a van that Avery’s sister was selling. Eventually, police would find human remains in the fire pit behind Avery’s house and Halbach’s car keys in Avery’s bedroom. Avery settled with the court for $400,000 instead of the $36 million he was asking for in order to afford a defense team.
Brendan Dassey, Steven’s nephew, then confessed to helping Avery murder Halbach. However, it was later revealed that it seemed like the cops who interrogated Brendan had coerced him into giving a confession. Brendan also has a learning disability.
The defense also argued that the keys found in Avery’s room were cleaned of Halbach’s DNA and then planted with Avery’s because his DNA was the only one found on it. They also argued that Dassey’s confession of violently mutilating Halbach couldn’t be true because there was no blood at the crime scene. His confession was inconsistent with the evdence.
Later, Dassey changed his alibi and told his mother that the cops who interrogated him had “got to my head.” The defense team also got a court order to examine the content of Avery’s 1985 case file, when he was wrongly convicted, and found that the blood sample had been tampered with.
Next, it was revealed that Halbach’s voicemail box had some messages deleted. Halbach’s ex-boyfriend and his brother admitted to hacking into her voicemail but said they did not erase any messages. Later, during a search for Halbach conducted by her family, roommate, and ex-boyfriend, Halbach’s car was found after only 10 minutes.
While calling in the license plate numbers for the car, the police officer had already known the make of her vehicle. This same officer was deposed during Avery’s initial case where he was wrongly imprisoned.
Later on during the hearing, it was revealed that the test on a bullet that was found in Avery’s garage was contaminated and that a new test could not be done. The defense also found that the DNA analyst had notes from a phone call with the prosecution, where she was instructed to “put Halbach in the garage or house.”
The bones found on Avery’s property also appeared to be damaged, which the defense suggested was during the process of someone transporting them to the Avery property.
The defense then had the bloodstains found in Halbach’s car tested for EDTA, a substance used to preserve blood for case files samples. The FBI found no traces of EDTA, which would have confirmed that it came from the 1985 case file.
Steven Avery was eventually found guilty, as was Brendan Dassey in the murder of Teresa Halbach. Part two of the Netflix documentary deals with the legal teams of both Dassey and Avery attempting to get both men exonerated.
Wow. That’s a lot of information. And no matter where you fall in terms of whether or not they are guilty, there is a lot of evidence pointing to the fact that their trial was not fair.
Here are some other infamous crimes that have been muddled in controversy:
Popularized in the true crime documentary, The Staircase, the story of Michael Peterson is as follows: Peterson’s wife Kathleen was found dead at the bottom of a staircase with lacerations and wounds that were believed to be inconsistent with a fall. Peterson insisted he was innocent but was eventually found gulty in 2003.
Later, it was found that an FBI agent on the case had falisied evidence. In 2018, Michael Peterson walked out of prison free after his retrial ended in a plea deal.
Adnan Syed was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, although there was no physical evidence tying him to the crime. After Sarah Koenig’s Serial podcast dove into the case, Syed was granted a re-trial. HBO will soon release a documentary on the case, called The Case Against Adnan Syed.
Ingmar Guandique was largely seen as a scapegoat for one of Washington D.C’s most notorious unsolved murders. After initially being convicted of murdering Chandra Levy in California, he was granted a retrial after the credibility of a witness was called into question. Eventually, the prosecution dropped the charges and requested the case be dismissed. Since then, no one has been charged, but Guandique was deported to his home country of El Salvador. When Guandique was originally charged, he was already in prison for an attack on two other women in the area where Chandra Levy was killed. Gary
Odds are you are aware of the OJ Simpson trial, especially after FX’s docudrama series on the case. There are few out there who think the jury was correct in acquitting Simpson, and there is still a mountain of evidence against him.