Netflix’s newest bingeable true crime series Making a Murderer tells the story of Steven Avery, a poor Manitowoc, Wisconsin resident who served 18 years for a rape he didn’t commit, and the murder case that landed him back in prison with a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
The series (especially watched over the course of three evenings as I did) is historically mind-boggling. Filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos present a defense of Avery that is at once seemingly airtight, and a searing condemnation of the police department and prosecution that convicted him. But some people who were actually there say that Ricciardi and Demos didn’t fairly present the weeks-long case, choosing to focus more heavily on evidence that paints Avery in a positive light.
Ken Kratz, the district attorney who led the case against Avery, said in an interview with the New York Times on Monday that the series “really presents misinformation.” According to Kratz, Ricciardi and Demos stuck to their “agenda” of presenting Avery as innocent to call the public to action: “That is absolutely what they wanted to happen.”
Kratz—who was accused in 2010 of sexting with vulnerable women including a sex abuse victim—referenced two pieces of evidence that were excluded from the documentary series: the presence of sweat under the hood of Halbach’s car, and a stray bullet in the Averys’ garage.
“How do you get Avery’s sweat underneath a hood latch of a vehicle?” Mr. Kratz said. “That is completely inconsistent with any kind of planting.”
Mr. Kratz also said a bullet with Ms. Halbach’s DNA on it found in Mr. Avery’s garage was matched to a rifle that hung over Mr. Avery’s bed. The gun was confiscated when officers searched his trailer on Nov. 5, 2005, and the bullet was found in the garage in March 2006, Mr. Kratz said.
“If they planted it, how did they get a bullet that was shot from Avery’s gun before Nov. 5?” he said.
Dean Strang, the defense attorney who stole our hearts, countered that the DNA under the hood was never identified as sweat and didn’t require that Avery had ever touched the car, and that bullets were found all over the Avery property.
An article on Pajiba regarding this matter has also been frequently cited, as it provides a (albeit poorly sourced) review of other excluded evidence—most notably that Brendan Dassey, Avery’s 16-year-old nephew who was also convicted for his alleged role in the murder, provided a full, detailed explanation of the events leading up to and following Halbach’s death, including driving her RAV 4 into the junk yard and removing the battery cable.
The New York Daily News has also rounded up damning evidence against Avery, including his history of violence against women, and Avery’s odd relationship with Halbach: he had reportedly requested her as his photographer, called her three times on the day of her disappearance, and once met her wearing only a towel, according to Kratz.
Ricciardi has said that she and Demos “included the state’s most compelling evidence.”
“Steven Avery committed this murder and this mutilation, and Steven Avery is exactly where he needs to be,” Kratz concluded. “And I don’t have any qualms about that, nor do I lose any sleep over that.”
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Image via AP.