Why Did Jodi Stachowski Change Her Mind About Steven Avery? The 'Making A Murderer' Figure Claims Her Real Story Was Very Different
The much-debated tale of Making a Murderer's Steven Avery took a new turn when his ex-fiancée shared her current opinion of him in an interview with HLN Wednesday. Contrary to her insistence during the filming of Making a Murderer that Avery was innocent, Jodi Stachowski took a much different side this time around. Her belief that Avery is guilty came as a complete shock after viewers had become accustomed to her stance in the docuseries, in which she appears to be a loyal, supportive girlfriend who had been forbidden by the police to contact her beloved partner.
Stachowski comes across as a figure of unconditional love in the series. Before his arrest, Avery and she were planning their wedding. Making a Murderer suggests that after a certain point, although she claimed to still love him, she had to leave Manitowoc County and Avery because of the stress associated with his case, as well as pressure from the police. Relative to the slow, steady pace of the show, her decision to leave and never be featured in another episode seemed abrupt, raising questions about her sudden change of heart.
With the trial several years behind her and Avery in a prison cell, Stachowski stepped into the spotlight once again this week. But this time, she offered a very different explanation, saying that she never actually stood by Avery's side, even though it appeared that way.
The title of the series itself offers two possibilities about Avery, the man sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Teresa Halbach. On one hand, it seems to suggest that the police department effectively framed him for murder, which the department adamantly denies. On the other hand, it could also imply that Avery's 18 years wrongfully spent in prison turned him into the kind of person who could kill someone. During her interview with Natisha Lance, a producer on Nancy Grace, Stachowski seemed to support the latter (Avery's lawyers refused to comment on her allegations):
He told me once all bitches owe him because of the one that sent him to prison the first time. We all owed him. And he could do whatever he wanted. But Steven is the one person I don’t trust. He is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A semi-nice person and then behind closed doors, he’s a monster.
Nearly a decade later, before the series aired, the directors contacted Avery's ex-fiancée and asked her if she would like to participate in another interview. She said no.
I want nothing to do with it, I don't want any part of it. It’s all lies because Steven called me and told me ... that if I didn't say anything good and nice about him, I’d pay.
Milwaukee Magazine also suggested that Stachowski's relationship with Avery was potentially dangerous. According to the magazine, Avery was arrested in September 2004 for violating a disorderly conduct ordinance. As a result, he was ordered to stay away from his girlfriend for 72 hours, and to pay a fine. This information was not included in the Netflix series.
According to Stachowski's account, she had no change of heart towards Avery's innocence. Instead, she claims that she pretended to be supportive of him out of fear. Unfortunately, such fear and fabricated support is characteristic of abusive relationships. She told Lance that she never confided in the police because she was concerned there was still a chance Avery would be bailed out.
Shortly after the series was released on Netflix, viewers banded together, sending a petition to the White House requesting that Avery be pardoned. Stachowski says that she volunteered this new information after support for Avery became overwhelmingly popular, and she told Lance that she feels guilty about Halbach's death:
Because the day this happened, Steven was supposed to pick me up, to go to an AODA (drinking) class. But for some reason, which still don't know, the jail wouldn't let me out. And if they would have let me out, she’d still be alive. Because I would have been there ... I went through four months of intense counseling because of my guilt. And they kept telling me I have nothing to be guilty about, it’s not your fault. But if I would have been there, I still feel she would be alive.
She claims that her decision to speak out ensures that Making a Murderer viewers are aware of her side of the story before they become too invested in Avery. Meanwhile, Avery has always maintained that he is innocent.