Netflix's Making a Murderer has taken TV to a whole new level by inspiring viewers to take action and voice their opinions on the imprisonment of Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey. Both received life sentences for the murder of Teresa Halbach. In the months following the December release of the series, online petitions that support freeing Avery and Dassey have become accessible and relatively easy to track down, but getting in touch with them is a whole other story. If you've ever wished you could send a handwritten letter to Brendan Dassey, in particular, now's your chance.
In the series, it's not difficult to feel some degree of compassion towards Dassey, who was just 16 years old at the time of his trial. With an IQ below 70, according to the docuseries, viewers speculated that he was coerced into confessing to the crime. His uncertainty as to how the trial will play out verges on heartbreaking as he speaks to his distraught mother on the phone; in one episode, he admits, "They got in my head."
At the time of the series' release, Dassey had already spent years in prison. Currently, he is 25. His cousin Carla Chase addressed viewers' sympathies via Twitter by sharing his mailing address with the public.
In January, People magazine released a video of the four-hour long interview process from March 2006. In an interview with the Capital Times' Jason Joyce, Avery's defense attorney Dean Strang alluded to that process and explained how the flaws in the justice system appear more apparent in Dassey's case than in Avery's.
Steven's case, almost any case, reveals some systemic weaknesses or things we should try to improve, not just in one case but across the workings of the justice system. For me at least, those flaws were revealed in sharper relief and more vividly in Brendan's case.
In January, a little over a month after Making a Murderer was released, Dassey was moved from the Green Bay Correctional Institution to the Columbia Correctional Institution, TMZ reported. The transfer to the maximum security prison may have come as a result of the fame Dassey and Avery gained after the series aired.