What Steven Avery's Cellphone Tower Records Could Tell Us About The Case
New evidence may reportedly provide Steven Avery with an alibi in a homicide case that has gained national attention since the release of Making a Murderer. Acclaimed lawyer Kathleen Zellner is currently representing Avery, the primary subject of the Netflix documentary series. The lawyer has taken to social media to post new developments in the case and ongoing investigative efforts to exonerate her client. A recent tweet posted on Sunday claims that victim Teresa Halbach left Avery's Auto Salvage while Avery did not. According to Zellner, what Steven Avery's cellphone tower records reveal is allegedly an "airtight alibi."
In theory, cellphone towers are supposed to pick up signals from the nearest phone and vice versa. A whole host of factors may muddy the data, however. According to an AT&T engineer, who testified in court in 2012 about how cellphone towers work, phones can receive signals from towers from up to 20 miles away and don't always stick to the same consistent tower due to issues of wattage and usage. Data culled from CellReception.com suggests that there are at least six towers within a 12 mile radius of the Avery property. The closest cellphone tower to Avery's Auto Salvage sits just four miles away in nearby Mishicot, Wisconsin.
Cellphone tower records were used in another high profile case that gained national attention. The inaugural season of the podcast Serial included copious information about what cellphone tower records reveal. The records appear to be making a repeat appearance now that the case has returned to the courtroom. Experts maintain that the minutiae of such information and technology are still so inaccessible that most legal professionals may not realize how often such records are wrong about pinpointing location. University of California, Davis law Prof. Edward J. Imwinkelried had this to say in an interview with The Washington Post about the subject:
As well-intentioned and completely honest as some of the prosecution experts are, I don’t think they have that deep understanding of how the [phone] network systems operate.
Zellner has yet to release any further information regarding her claim that cellphone tower records provide Avery with an alibi. Bustle has reached out to Zellner requesting a statement about her claim. As of this writing, the tweet remains the only clue into the latest evidence that the lawyer has continued to compile. Perhaps Halbach's phone was at enough of a distance away to negate the potential 20-mile zone previously mentioned. Given Zellner's track record with exonerating clients who faced wrongful conviction, the information to be revealed may very well be what gets Avery out of jail once and for all.
Images: Netflix (1)