We may never know for sure if Steven Avery killed Teresa Halbach. One thing we do know for a fact, though, is that Steven Avery was wrongfully convicted of sexually assaulting Penny Beerntsen in 1985. He famously made headlines when he was exonerated after 18 years in jail, and is making headlines again now, thanks to Netflix's docuseries Making a Murderer. The series follows Avery's 2003 release from prison after being exonerated, his 2005 arrest in connection with Halbach's murder, and his eventual 2007 murder conviction. Avery continues to maintain his innocence, even a decade after Halbach's death. Still, of his 53.5 years on this planet, Avery has spent over half his life in jail.
To really highlight just how many years Avery has spent behind bars, Bustle made a chart of his total years spent free vs. his time spent incarcerated. It includes his wrongful conviction, his murder conviction, and several smaller crimes he committed when he was younger.
Milwaukee Magazine reported that, at 18 years old, Avery was arrested for burglary of a bar. According to the article, he was imprisoned for 10 months. Just after that, according to the magazine, Avery was arrested for animal cruelty. Avery spoke about the "cat" incident on Making a Murderer.
Another mistake I did... I had a bunch of friends over, and we were fooling around with the cat... and, I don't know, they were kind of negging it on and... I tossed him over the fire... and he lit up. You know, it was the family cat. I was young and stupid and hanging around with the wrong people.
For that crime, he was sentenced and imprisoned for nine months, according to Milwaukee Magazine.
Then, as seen in the Netflix documentary, in 1985, Avery was convicted and sentenced to six years for endangering safety regardless of life and felon in possession of a firearm after he pointed a gun at his cousin and threatened her. Romper reported that the first six years Avery spent in jail for the 1985 sexual assault of Penny Beerntsen (of which he was wrongfully convicted) were actually for the incident with his cousin. Then, the remainder of the 18 years he spent were for the wrongful conviction, of which he was later exonerated. In Avery's own words, according to the documentary, he was imprisoned from 1985 to 2003 for a total of "18 years and six weeks" which would include the time between his wrongful arrest for Beerntsen's rape and his conviction in that case.
Avery has since spent an additional 10 years and two months in prison as of January 13, 2016 for the murder of Teresa Halbach. That time includes the nearly two years he spent in jail while he awaited trial. As seen in the chart below, in total, Avery has spent been in jail 29 years, 10 months, and two weeks compared to his 23 years, seven months, and two weeks spent free.
No matter what you think about Avery's claims of innocence regarding the murder of Teresa Halbach, it's interesting to see the chart differentiate his life by years, and see just how many of those years have been spent behind bars.
Images: Netflix (2); Mary Rabun/Bustle