1) A thread on "Making a Murderer" Netflix series.

2) There are spoilers. If you are watching, and don't want to know the end (which is public record), stop now.
3) The series is directed by two women, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos. It is important to keep in mind that any documentary series will largely be shaped by what the directors want to show you. It may or may not reflect "the whole truth."
4) This series is about the cases of Steven Avery, a resident of Manitowoc, WI, who in 1985 was arrested and convicted of a rape and spent 18 years in jail for a crime he did not commit. In 2003 he was exonerated by DNA evidence and released. He then sued the county . . .
4) contd . . . and individual law enforcement/prosecutors for railroading his conviction. In 1985--just days after the lawsuit depositions started--Avery was arrested for killing a missing girl, Theresa Halbach.

5) During the course of the search of Avery's 40 acre (!) . . .
5) contd . . . junkyard, which lasted eight weeks (!), the Manitowoc sheriff and police were--in the interest of fairness--supposedly not to participate. However, after other investigators went through Avery's trailer 5 times (!) and found nothing, the same Sheriff who . . .
5) contd . . . in 1985 had framed Avery just so happened to be on site and in the trailer when other police admitted they weren't watching him and mysteriously the Toyota Rav4 key from Halbach's car appeared!

6) Earlier, searchers, directed by Halbach's former boyfriend . . .
6) contd . . . had the fantastic luck of just "happening" to be directed the the Rav4 concealed on Avery's property almost immediately upon starting their search. They, and only they, had been given a camera.
7) Complicating the story was the testimony of Brendan Dassey, Avery's dim-witted (and I use that term generously) nephew, who was questioned repeatedly without an attorney. It is clear from the numerous tapes this kid was slower than Demented Biteme . . . & that is saying a lot.
8) Dassey was "led" (I'm being generous--coerced) into telling a story that he and Avery raped, stabbed, and shot Halbach, then burned her body in a bonfire.

9) Police found her bones in a burn pit on the Avery residence. Defense attorney's argued with some plausibility . . .
9) contd . . . that the body had been cut up and burned elsewhere and the bones dumped on Avery's property.

10) Avery was convicted and sentenced to life.

11) Dassey has had multiple appeals, finally going to the US Supreme Court that declined to hear his appeal.
12) It was unclear from the series if Avery had committed the crime or not; was framed or not. The defense attorneys early in the trial were basically prohibited from developing a theory that the police had framed Avery. They danced around this and introduced it anyway . . .
12) contd . . . but unable to lay out a cohesive story of anyone else doing it, they were in a box. The prosecution then painted their story as "They are saying the police killed Halbach," which they most certainly never said or even implied.
13) Even though Dassey's material was excluded from the Avery trial, too late. It was already throughout the local news; the prosecutor hinted at it (he eventually had to resign after the case under multiple sexual harassment charges).

14) Dassey's "yeah" "no" answers . . .
14) contd . . . showed that the prosecutors could have had him confess to the JFK assassination if they wanted to. But that's not the bad part.

15) The worst part is that Dassey's OWN ATTORNEY was working with the prosecutors to foist a plea deal on Dassey.
15) His own defense atty had an "investigator" that structured interviews, complete with pictures, so that Dassey wrote confessions and drew pictures---whether imagined or not--that ensured he would be put away forever.
16) But my issues with this were three. Again, these may NOT be issues with the prosecutors or the defense, but with the directors who may have chosen not to include this material (and I don't plan to read the whole case file).
17) First, the biggest issue was that according to prosecutors the two tied up Halbach on a bed. This was always thought to be in Avery's bedroom, but mysteriously at the end the scene was shifted to the garage--with no explanation by either prosecutors or rebuttal from defense.
18) Wherever this was, according to the story Avery and Dassey not only raped Halbach but stabbed her multiple times, slit her throat--but she didn't die--and shot her in the head.
19) In such circumstances there wouldn't be blood, there wouldn't be a little blood, there would be a virtual shower of blood everywhere--clothes, furniture, if in the garage (which was totally junky) DOZENS of pieces of machinery & trash.

In short, NO HUMAN could clean up . . .
19) contd . . . that much blood. It would be impossible even in an uncluttered setting. The investigators even drilled out a cracked area in the concrete floor & found NO traces of blood.

20) Neither Avery nor Dassey was ever tested for gunshot residue. Neither was there . . .
20) contd. . . forensics tests on the "magic bullet" that the . . . wait for it . . . MANITOWOC sheriff found after multiple other searches found nothing. If there were such tests, the defense/prosecution/and filmmakers didn't mention any of them.

21) No knife was produced . . .
21) contd . . . with any DNA or blood on it. Thus they circumvented the knife by having death by shooting, but never showed Avery or Dassey held the gun that killed her.
Nor were the questions ever asked or answered about whether the knife wounds were post-mortem.
22) If a total absence of blood at any scene was a major problem, the Manitowoc sherrif, again, found two small blood smudges in the Rav4.

23) Later, defense attorneys looking at the 1985 evidence, found the styrofoam case holding the blood vial of evidence had been cut open.
24) Moreover, defense attorneys found a hypodermic needle had been inserted into the blood vial--one would think pretty obviously to remove blood.

25) Prosecutors had an FBI expert (we can trust them, right?) say that there was no evidence of the vial material in the . . .
25 contd . . . Rav4 blood, negating that as a "plant." Technology of the day was insufficient to prove anything else.

26) Later, Halbach's hair & blood were found in the hatchback area, meaning clearly her body had been put back there.

27) According to prosecutors, Avery and Dassey killed her on the premises and drug her body to the fire pit. Why was there evidence her dead body had been moved???
28) The judge ruled against the defense in almost every single motion they presented. The jury deliberated for 4 hours when suddenly one juror had to be excused for a family emergency. He was replaced with an alternate.

29) That juror later said there was a straw vote.
30) He said the first straw vote was 7 acquit, 4 convict, one undecided. He personally leaned to acquit on the basis of "too many questions."

31) After four days, however, the verdict came back guilty.
32) Besides the screaming issue of the blood spatter--which to me would have been a deciding fact--there were two other major issues that the series left unaddressed. The first was that of motive. Never once, neither from the prosecution or defense, was this issue raised.
33) We all know the "means, motive, and opportunity." What motive in the world did Avery have to murder --not in a fit of passion---a perfect stranger? Were there others who might have a motive? Halbach's ex boyfriend may have; Halbach's roommate was not mentioned.
34) It was Halbach's ex boyfriend who magically directed searchers right to the Rav4 hidden on Avery's 40 acre lot and had furnished them, and only them, with a camera.

35) Besides the blood and motive, one other thought came to mind during the series.
36) I don't know how advanced GPS earth sats were at that time. I know in 2016 when we moved to AZ, my brother-in-law sent us a shot from an earth sat of me and Mrs. LS in the front yard working. Cars and phones have GPS capabilities now.
37) No one in the defense team ever sought to find out if there were photos of the property on the day of the murder (other aerial photos were shown frequently).

IF Halbach's Rav4 was still there after 3:30, Avery is guilty. It would prove she never left.
38) But if sat photos showed no Rav4 there at 3:30, then Halbach left. It would be even better for Avery if photos showed her getting in the car or the Rav4 elsewhere. To my knowledge, no one in either defense team looked for this.

Certainly prosecutors didn't.
39) It might be argued that Avery drove her around in the Rav4--but that wasn't what Dassey testified to at all. And there wouldn't have been time.

40) The relocation of the car was a mystery as well, Avery's prints were NOT found on the car . . nor were Dassey's.
41) How did it mysteriously get parked on a fenceline on the Avery property unless one of them drove it . . . or unless the police & prosecutors knew whose prints were on it?

42) I don't know if Avery is guilty or not. I certainly wouldn't have convicted him on the evidence . .
42) contd. . .shown in the series.

43) But more than ever, the series showed that law enforcement that we once revered is perhaps fatally scarred. From Mike Flynn to the Trump hoax investigation, more than ever prosecutors should always be suspect.
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