Public outcry has mounted over the imprisonment of Steven Avery, the Wisconsin man convicted of murdering a female photographer in 2005, after the hit Netflix documentary series "Making a Murderer" suggested he was framed by police.
After a White House petition calling for a presidential pardon surpassed 100,000 signatures this week, the prosecutor in the case, Ken Kratz, has come forward to defend the conviction, saying the documentary series left out major pieces of the story — including key forensic evidence against Avery.
"You don't want to muddy up a perfectly good conspiracy movie with what actually happened, and certainly not provide the audience with the evidence the jury considered to reject that claim," Kratz told People magazine
Gathered below are nine facts that filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos have been accused of de-emphasizing or leaving out altogether.
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1. Avery allegedly targeted the victim, Teresa Halbach
— Kratz said that the first time Halback visited Avery on assignment for Auto Trader magazine on Oct. 10, 2005 — weeks before she was killed on Oct. 31 — he answered the door "just wearing a towel." According to Kratz, Halbach told her employers "she would not go back because she was scared of him." Kratz said Avery called Auto Trader at 8:12 a.m. on the day of her death and told them to send "that same girl who was here last time." Avery allegedly gave his sister's name and number to "trick" Halbach into coming, People magazine reported.
2. Avery used *67 to mask his phone calls to Halbach
— "Phone records show three calls from Avery to Teresa's cell phone on Oct. 31," said Kratz. "One at 2:24 [p.m.], and one at 2:35 – both calls Avery uses the *67 feature so Teresa doesn't know it him . . . both placed before she arrives. Then one last call at 4:35 p.m., without the *67 feature. Avery first believes he can simply say she never showed up . . . so tries to establish the alibi call after she's already been there, hence the 4:35 call. She will never answer of course, so he doesn't need the *67 feature for that last call."
3. Forensic bullet evidence matched Avery's gun
— The bullet found in Avery's garage linked to Halbach's DNA was forensically tied to the gun that hung over his bed, the New York Daily News reported
. The gun was confiscated by officers on Nov. 5, 2005, and the fired bullet was found in the garage in March 2006. "If they planted it, how did they get a bullet that was shot from Avery’s gun before Nov. 5?" Kratz asked reporters.
4. Forensic evidence on car key
— The key to Halbach's Toyota RAV4 found in Avery's residence had his sweat DNA on it, The Federalist reported
. "So not only are we asked to believe the Manitowoc police department planted the key in his trailer (and that the neighboring police force was either incompetent or complicit in the deception), but also that somehow the cops had extracted Avery’s perspiration and put it on the key. Another explanation might be that Avery handled the keys when dealing with Halbach, although he denies having ever seen them," the publication explained.
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5. Evidence on hood latch
— DNA from Avery's sweat was also found on the hood latch of the RAV4, which was found in the salvage yard on Avery's property. As The New York Times explained, "Avery’s blood
was found inside Ms. Halbach’s vehicle, and the documentary explains the defense theory that it could have been planted there by officers who had access to a vial of his blood. Sweat, however, never came up."
6. Avery's alleged past assaults
— "Making a Murderer" mentioned that Avery once held his female cousin at gunpoint, but did not mention that he was also accused of raping a young girl and threatening to kill her family if they spoke out, the Appleton Post Crescent previously reported, according to Daily News. Additionally, another older woman also accused Avery of rape, the newspaper said. Avery also allegedly molested his nephew.
7. Avery allegedly diagrammed a "torture chamber" while in prison
— "While in prison [on a previous 1985 case], Avery told another inmate of his intent to build a 'torture chamber' so he could rape, torture, and kill young women when he was released," Kratz wrote in an email to The Wrap.
"He even drew a diagram. Another inmate was told by Avery that the way to get rid of a body is to 'burn it' . . . heat destroys DNA." Halbach's remains were later found in a burn pit on Avery's property.
8. Avery threw a cat on a bonfire
— According to the New York Daily News, "In a sympathetic portrayal, the show refers to misbehavior with a cat as it quickly highlights Avery’s criminal past. However, in addition to a burglary charge, a young Avery actually poured gasoline on a cat and then threw it into a bonfire."
9. Brendan Dassey's testimony matches evidence found in fire
— "The victim’s bones in the firepit were 'intertwined' with the steel belts, left over from the car tires Avery threw on the fire to burn, as described by [his nephew] Dassey. That WAS where her bones were burned! Suggesting that some human bones found elsewhere (never identified as Teresa’s) were from this murder was NEVER established," Kratz wrote in an email.
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