Who Is Tom Fassbender? The 'Making A Murderer' Detective Is Still At Work
Although the events of Making A Murderer happened about nine years prior to the release of the Netflix docu-series, many of the major personalities involved in the case are still working in criminal justice today. Along with investigator Mark Wiegert, investigator Tom Fassbender received Brendan Dassey's confession, in which Dassey said he was implicit in the 2005 rape, murder, and mutilation of Teresa Halbach. However, during the course of the series, Wiegert and Fassbender are accused by Steven Avery's defense attorneys Dean Strang and Jerome Buting of having coerced a false confession from Dassey. Who is Tom Fassbender, and what was his role in the trial, and what is he up to today?
When it comes down to it, Fassbender was a man who wanted to do his job, and didn't do anything wrong –– the circumstances under which 17-year-old Dassey's confession was obtained were completely legal. It's not illegal to interview a minor without a lawyer or a parent present. However, lawyers defending both Avery and Dassey have questioned the validity of the confession itself, claiming that Fassbender took advantage of Dassey's low intelligence. There is no proof, though, that Fassbender intended to do anything other than find the truth. Fassbender has continued to work in criminal justice since the events of the series — but how has his life changed after the events of Making A Murderer?
Fassbender received a "Meritorious Service Award" for his work on the Avery case. According to a 2008 press release from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said: "This case exemplifies cooperation between law enforcement agencies ...Tom personifies this mission, and he is very deserving of this recognition."
It's clear from Making A Murderer that there was a great deal of cooperation in the Avery case, as it seemed that every major criminal justice force in Wisconsin was involved somehow.
In the time since the case, Fassbender has continued his career in criminal justice as a Cheif Operating Officer at Attorney's Process & Investigation Services, Inc. Although he is not listed as such on the official API website, he is still listed as an employee through the Better Business Bureau.
When he wasn't serving with the API, Fassbender could have been acting as a private investigator from 2011-2014, according to his PI license record from Wisconsin Licensing. It's unclear whether he actually did any private investigating, only that he went through the process of getting a license.