It’s been over a year since Making A Murderer first aired on Netflix, but updates to the case keep on coming, and we got a big one on Wednesday: Thanks to an agreement between the defense and prosecution, a big chunk of the physical evidence against Steven Avery will be tested again in an attempt to confirm its legitimacy. Most of the evidence in question is blood, but a spare key will also undergo new testing.
In 2007, Avery was convicted of first-degree homicide in the death of Teresa Halbach, a photographer who’d visited his residence to take pictures of a car he was intending to sell. However, many believe the evidence against Avery is spurious, and Making a Murderer strongly suggests that he was framed by the Manitowoc County Sheriff's department for Halbach’s death. Prior to Halbach’s death, Avery served 18 years for a different murder; he was released after DNA evidence proved his innocence in that case.
The agreement to conduct new testing was filed in Wednesday with Sheboygan County Circuit Judge Angela Sutkiewicz, who is overseeing this latest appeals process. Much of the evidence that’ll be retested was discovered in, or is otherwise related to, Halbach’s car, a Toyota RAV4 that was found on the Avery family compound days after her death. The following pieces of evidence will undergo additional testing, according to the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter:
- Blood flakes from the floor of the RAV 4
- Bloodstains from the driver’s and passenger’s seats
- A bloodstain from the rear passenger’s door
- A bloodstains from a CD case in the car
- A swab of the RAV 4’s ignition area
- A vial of blood purported to be Avery’s
- A spare key for the RAV 4 purportedly found in Avery’s bedroom
- A swab from the hood latch of the RAV 4
"It's encouraging that the Attorney General's Office was so cooperative and helpful in expediting these tests," Avery’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, told USA TODAY. "Our experience in our other exonerations is that's the best attitude in working toward trying to discover [the truth]."
Zellner filed a motion for further testing of this evidence in August, arguing that in the time since Avery’s 2007 conviction, “considerable progress has been made in forensic DNA methods, procedures and tests, including the development of tests for the specific detection of blood, saliva, semen and urine.”
Earlier in the month, a judge blocked the release of Brendan Dassey, Avery’s cousin, who is also serving time in connection with Halbach’s death. Dassey told investigators that he assisted Avery in the alleged murder of Halbach, but his defense team argued that he was coerced, citing the fact that his IQ of around 70 puts him on the threshold of intellectual disability. Dassey’s conviction was overturned in August, but a judge put a stay on his release on November 18th pending further appeals.
Image: Making A Murderer/Netflix