Brendan Dassey, whose 2007 conviction for allegedly aiding his uncle Steven Avery in murdering and sexually assaulting photographer Teresa Halbach was documented in the Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer, has been denied clemency.
The New York Times reports that Wisconsin governor Tony Evers denied Dassey’s legal team’s request for clemency, even after thousands of people signed a petition asking for it. (Dassey’s legal team also reportedly submitted “an open letter signed by hundreds of national legal and psychological experts, former police officials and prosecutors and clemency experts, according to the Times.) Evers’s office said Dassey was ineligible for a pardon, which could only be granted at least five years after he completed his sentence, and also noted Dassey had not registered as a sex offender, as had been stipulated.
Dassey’s case saw renewed interest after Making a Murderer’s first season aired in 2016, and in August of that year, his conviction was overturned. The state appealed, and an appeals court ruled in 2017 that his confession had been coerced; that ruling was overturned later that year, and Dassey, who was convicted at age 17, is still in prison.
“Brendan is ever hopeful,” Laura Nirider, one of Dassey’s lawyers, said in a statement on Saturday. “He has a truly childlike faith that one day someone is going to have the courage to do the right thing in his case. It’s a blow that stings, but it’s not the end of the story.”
He is set to serve life in prison with eligibility for parole in 2048.