Steven Avery's new defense lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, is pulling no punches when it comes to her attempts to secure her client's release from prison. Making a Murderer Part 2 demonstrates that she is doggedly determined to finding out who killed Teresa Halbach and will go to great lengths in order make her case. And the wrongful convictions specialist not only defends her client in court, but she also defends him on social media. Kathleen Zellner's tweets show how confident she is in Steven Avery's innocence — which he's maintained despite being convicted of Halbach's murder in 2007 — but they have also made her some enemies.
Zellner, who has been able to exonerate 19 of her clients, according to her website, has a reputation for nearly unmatched tenacity in the field of criminal defense. And she's taken that fighting spirit to her Twitter feed, trying her client's innocence in the court of public opinion as well as through the appeals process. A vast majority of her tweets center on reaffirming her belief that Avery, who was convicted of the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, could not have committed the crime. She warns critics and skeptics that after her job is done, and they've finished watching Making a Murderer Part 2, there can be no doubt that Avery is innocent:
She also uses her Twitter feed to allege that Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, who was also found guilty of murder, is innocent as well (Dassey has also maintained his innocence):
But Zellner hasn't just used Twitter to keep those following the Avery case updated, and to show support for her client. She also uses her public platform to launch some attacks against the opposition, and those she suspects might actually be guilty of the crime. In particular, Zellner has created a rift between the Avery and Dassey families by alleging that Dassey's brother Bobby and his stepfather Scott Tadych might actually be the ones responsible for Halbach's murder. Zellner came to this hypothesis after uncovering new evidence that suggests that violent pornographic images found on a Dassey family computer were downloaded by Bobby, according to Rolling Stone. (Bustle's request for comment from Bobby Dassey's mother, Barb Tadych, about the ongoing case and his inclusion in the Netflix documentary was not immediately returned; Scott Tadych also did not return Bustle's request for comment.)
Tadych has never been charged with anything in the case. Per the first part of the series, Tadych's alibi is his now-stepson, Bobby Dassey. According to The Daily Beast, both men claim they saw each other while driving en route to a hunting trip. Bobby Dassey was never suspected by law enforcement in the 2005 crime.
This hasn't stopped Zellner from alleging the pair might be involved, both in the Netflix series and on Twitter. In a recent tweet, Zellner reposts a screenshot of something Tadych had posted on Facebook, which reads:
I would like to take a minute of my time from reading all these nasty emails and messages to thank Kathleen Zellner for all the false accusations against me and my stepson Bobby. And for ruining our lives I think you're a f**ken c**t thank you and have a good day.
Zellner's accusatory response reads:
Why would anyone think this “prince” of a fellow would be angry enough to hurt a woman?
@lifeafterten #MakingAMurderer2 #KeepDigging
Zellner has also used Twitter to criticize former District Attorney Ken Kratz, who served as the prosecution on the Avery and Dassey cases. During a question and answer session on Twitter using the hashtag #AskZellner, a Twitter user asked, "Did you read Ken Kratz's book?" Zellner replied, "I did. I'm looking forward to a nonfiction version being put out!"
In another tweet, someone asked Zellner, "What’s your opinion about the way
@kenkratz thinks he’s still the star of the show? I mean honestly if I did that poorly of a job, I wouldn’t be having my face shown everywhere!" She responded, "Actually we enjoy Mr. Kratz's appearances in MaM2 with his sweat-soaked shirt. He gives new meaning to the term 'Watch That Body Language'".
More recently, Zellner has taken to Twitter to voice her frustrations with reviews of Making a Murderer Part 2, many of which were less than glowing. In a particularly scathing review in Vanity Fair, the author writes that Zellner and Making a Murderer Part 2 "prize drama over integrity" and claims that "Zellner knows exactly what she is doing. She offers reams of new data intended to poke holes in the prosecution’s original case, yes. But what she’s really offering is spectacle — and Making a Murderer, with damning credulity, follows her every step of the way."
Zellner pushes back against these critics by encouraging her many followers (all 279,000 of them) to rate the show positively:
Zellner also makes an argument as to why the show is so important:
Social media has been one of the most powerful tools in Zellner's arsenal, and it's a useful one for a case that has so fascinated the public since the first part of Making a Murderer was released in 2015. But so far, her efforts have not been successful in securing Avery a new trial, or exonerating him. Most recently, Zellner's motion to grant Avery a new trial based on the discovery of the CD of pornographic images that Zellner claims is exculpatory evidence was denied by the Sheboygan County Circuit Court judge in September of 2018, according to The Post Crescent.
But as Zellner's Twitter account indicates, she is far from giving up:
Something tells me that Zellner is not a quitter. And as Avery's appeals process continues, she will be there to tweet updates every step of the way.