Days after Netflix announced that Making a Murderer would be back for Season 2, Steven Avery is making claims about Jerry Buting and Dean Strang, the members of his former defense team. In a handwritten letter to In Touch Weekly, Avery, who is currently serving time in prison for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, claimed that evidence that can exonerate him exists, and that the evidence will allegedly come to light in an appeal led by his new attorney, Kathleen Zellner. Avery does not have kind words for his former lawyers, who he alleged are the reason he is still in jail. Avery claimed that Buting and Strang “didn’t do no investigation on this case, if they did I would not be in prison [sic]."
In the letter, Avery claims that his two lawyers allegedly failed to use forensic experts to explain key evidence that was used against him by the prosecution. This evidence allegedly includes a lack of blood splatter in the garage where Halbach was shot, according to the prosecution, and the allegedly "botched processing" of Halbach's bones, which were reportedly found charred in a burn barrel on Avery's property. In his letter, Avery claimed that these supposed mistakes show that Buting and Strang were allegedly only trying to protect the state of Wisconsin and their firm — not him. He also asks that the lawyers should be held accountable for their alleged mistakes by losing their licenses.
Bustle reached out to the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office for comment on the letter, but have yet to receive a response. However, in the past, Sheriff Robert Hermann has denounced the docu-series as "skewed" in a December 2015 interview with The Post-Crescent. In that same interview, he also added, "I don’t know why anybody in law enforcement would want to get [Avery], that makes no sense."
In the 2015 Netflix docuseries, Strang and Buting argued that the Manitowoc County police department in Wisconsin had allegedly planted Halbach's car keys in Avery's home; the same police department had previously wrongfully convicted Avery of rape and attempted murder for which he served 18 years in jail. But Avery claimed in his In Touch Weekly letter that his lawyers allegedly didn't have the police test their explanation of how the keys got there with a reenactment, which Avery believes would have disproved the story that the cops told.
Avery also claims that the reports of there being six burn barrels on his property were false, and that there were actually five. This is why Avery says he is speaking out against his lawyers for the first time. “Dean and Jerome are Bad Attorneys,” Avery wrote in the letter to In Touch. “They don’t now [sic] what Justice is and they don’t now what is a [sic] investigation is because if they did they would have done it for a innocent man like me!!!”
In an email statement to Bustle from Strang, the lawyer maintains that more than a decade after the case, he and Buting remain "deeply concerned with Steven Avery’s efforts to pursue freedom through the courts." Strang added, "We think that we understand, and we certainly sympathize with, his frustration. After all, we believe that a wrongfully convicted man is in prison, where he has been for more than half of his life."
But Strang also says in the statement that due to the fact that Avery was in jail during his case, "he doesn't know immediately all of the investigative steps we took on his behalf and all of the details of our decision-making on issues committed to his lawyers’ judgment, although we shared everything necessary with him and more.... if we were in his shoes, the difficulty of staying immediately involved with all of a lawyer’s efforts would frustrate us, too."
Strang added that despite Avery having new counsel, they will continue to "raise awareness of his case," and that of his nephew, Brendan Dassey, who is also serving jail time for the alleged murder of Halbach.
We will continue to raise awareness of his case and Brendan Dassey’s, and continue to address the systemic problems in our criminal justice system that lead to other wrongful or unreliable convictions. These problems include the effect of class, race or ethnicity, the callous underfunding of indigent defense, the experience of juveniles and those with intellectual impairments, the impact of pretrial publicity on the presumption of innocence, and the obstacles to justice in post-conviction proceedings. We also will continue to offer whatever information Mr. Avery’s new lawyers may want or need from us.
This past April, Buting gave a similar statement to The Belfast Telegraph in Ireland, saying "I don’t have any difficulty in saying, personally, I think [Avery] is innocent." Buting also said that the show did leave things out, something the Manitowoc County police have also claimed. Buting explained the filmmakers left key pieces of evidence for the prosecution out of the documentary, such as "the supposed DNA on the hood-latch." But, in the end, Buting stated this was because this evidence played a very small role in the prosecution's case against Avery.
Buting and Avery both seem to agree on one thing, though: that new evidence will come in handy in proving Avery's alleged innocence. Buting told the paper that Avery's new attorney can use new evidence to have the case reopened.
Image: Netflix (2)