Is Steven Avery Still In Jail? The 'Making A Murderer' Subject Has Hope He'll Be A Free Man Someday
To say that Making a Murderer has captured the public's attention would be an understatement. Almost immediately after the Netflix docuseries began streaming on Dec. 18, 2015, it's been a topic of conversation and debate among viewers. As we see in the series, a jury found Steven Avery guilty of Teresa Halbach's murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. During the trial, as seen in the series, Avery's defense attorneys argued that he was framed by the Manitowoc Sheriff's Department — an allegation which Undersheriff Robert Hermann vehemently denied in the documentary as "impossible" and "so far fetched it's impractical." And, even though Avery has steadfastly maintained his innocence for 10 years, the Making a Murderer subject is still in jail.
In the final episode of the docuseries, viewers learned that Avery exhausted his appeals and is no longer entitled to state-appointed legal representation. Things looked bleak for him, but he still hasn't given up hope — he's reviewing his massive case file and conducting his own independent legal research. His former attorneys, Jerome Buting and Dean Strang, said in the documentary that newly discovered evidence would be Avery's only hope for a new trial. Neither Buting nor Dean Strang sounded hopeful at the time of the interview — but, if Avery is truly innocent as he claims, the new national interest in his case could help him.
As of Jan. 4, 2016, over 220,000 people have signed a Change.org petition requesting a presidential pardon for Avery. On Dec. 26, individuals claiming to be part of the hacktivist group Anonymous posted on Twitter that they have evidence which the claimed proved Sgt. Andrew Colborn and Lt. James Lenk allegedly worked together to allegedly frame Avery.
In 2007, Colburn released a statement addressing the lasting effect that the allegations of misconduct could have on his town. "I hope and pray that [Avery's guilty] verdict puts to rest any suspicions or loss of confidence this community felt toward our department," he told the media. Lenk did not issue a formal statement then, and has not spoken out since Making A Murderer's release. Bustle has reached out to the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department in an attempt to reach Lenk for comment, but has not yet received a response.
The tweets that were allegedly from an Anonymous hacker stated that they would release the alleged evidence in 48 hours if the Manitowoc Sheriff's Department did not — but, the deadline came and went and the Twitter handle was changed. The latest news reports indicate that Anonymous' alleged involvement was a hoax.
However, Buting and Strang's point about newly discovered evidence still holds true. Adnan Syed, the subject of Serial , was granted a new hearing recently. Making a Murderer has been streaming for just over two weeks, and the renewed attention could inspire people with knowledge of new evidence to come forward — this was certainly the case for Syed. If evidence exists that Avery is innocent as he claims, he'll still have a long road ahead of him — but he made it clear in the documentary that he won't give up. In the final episode, Avery told the filmmakers:
They think I'll stop working on it and it'll be forgotten. That's what they think. But, I want the truth. I want my life. But, they keep on taking it. So I'm gonna keep on working. Even if it's wrong. I ain't gonna give up. When you know you're innocent, you will keep on going. The truth always comes out... sooner or later.
He also expressed in the docuseries that he wants to marry his current girlfriend, Sandy Greenman, and spend time with his parents should he ever be released:
My dream right now is get out... buy me a lot of land and live up in the woods. Make me a big pond so I can fish. Do my garden and have my animals so I don't have to go into town and buy food. I'll have it all right there. I guess Sandy wants to get married so I'll get married. And, I'll have my wife, and then my ma and my dad. I'm gonna take care of them. I really don't need nothing else.
If new evidence comes to light because of Making a Murderer, his dream could become a realistic possibility.
Images: Netflix (4)