Although hundreds of thousands of people have expressed support for convicted killer Steven Avery since the December release of the Netflix docuseries Making A Murderer, not everyone is as sure of his innocence. Dan O'Donnell, a radio reporter who originally covered Avery's trial for the murder of Teresa Halbach back in 2006 and 2007, has created a new podcast specifically designed to disprove many viewers' conclusions that Avery is innocent and to sway their opinions against him. The podcast, Rebutting A Murderer, is a retelling of the trial through O'Donnell's perspective, which is firmly opposed to the narrative filmmakers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi built in Making A Murderer.
In an interview with AdWeek, O'Donnell explained why he felt the podcast was necessary.
I understand that the filmmakers acknowledge they were there with a narrative in mind. However, they selectively omitted what I believe to be key evidence. They selectively glossed over key evidence that tends to show Avery's guilt. Moreover, what they did with respect to their frame-up allegations/conspiracy theory was not to provide any actual affirmative evidence to support their conclusion. Rather, based on supposed motive and opportunity, they made insinuations and vague allegations of wrongdoing. The filmmakers are instead relying on us to supply the conclusion that they've already drawn.
The evidence to which O'Donnell alludes is certainly compelling. Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, is painted throughout the series as intellectually disabled and mentally incapable of properly handling a police interrogation. However, as police footage show, Dassey claims in his confession (which some viewers believe is false) that he borrowed gruesome detailed descriptions of Halbach's murder from the book Kiss The Girls by James Patterson. The book is over 400 pages long, and, O'Donnell argues, if Dassey is intellectually disabled, it's unlikely he could have read and retained the details of the book.
Another troubling detail that O'Donnell examines is Avery's history of violence. In 1984, Avery was charged with animal cruelty. While in prison for the sexual assault of Penny Beerntsen, a crime for which he was eventually exonerated, Avery reportedly sent letters to his ex-wife that threatened to kill her, according to the Huffington Post. Although the letters were briefly included in the series, the seriousness of their implications is largely unexplored. Finally, O'Donnell points to an incident during which Avery runs his cousin Sandy Morris off the road and points a gun at her.
O'Donnell's podcast presents a new perspective to a case that has so captivated America. Even if you believe in Steven Avery's innocence, you should absolutely listen to this podcast. Either you can figure out how to successfully break down O'Donnell's counter-argument, or you can reexamine the circumstances that Making A Murderer presented.