A three-judge federal appeals panel affirmed on Thursday that Wisconsin inmate Brendan Dassey, who was featured in the Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer, was coerced in confessing by investigators and should be released from prison.
Dassey was 16 years old when he confessed to helping his uncle Steven Avery rape and kill the photographer Teresa Halbach and was sentenced to life in prison in 2007. In August his murder conviction was overturned, with a judge ruling that he be released from prison. The state then appealed and put it before the federal appeals panel, which affirmed that the confession was coerced.
At the time of his highly detailed four-hour confession, Dassey was suffering cognitive issues and enrolled in special education classes. He also confessed to the investigators while being unaccompanied by a parent or a lawyer.
The ruling on Thursday does not mean Dassey will be released from prison, as the State can still appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or retry him.