In December 2015, Making a Murderer premiered on Netflix, became a cultural phenomenon and turned its subject Steven Avery into an obsession for conspiracy theorists across the world.
Of course if you've seen the series you know all that. You've also probably heard by now that Steven Avery's nephew and alleged accomplice, Brendan Dassey has had his conviction overturned by a Federal Court. In the wake of Dassey's conviction being overturned, Steven Avery's lawyer Kathleen Zellner announced that she's confident that her client will get the same outcome soon.
Before the premiere of Making a Murderer, it looked very possible that both men could spend the rest of their lives behind bars and yet here we are nine months later with the very real possibility that they both could be free men at some point this year.
So how did we get to this point? Let's take a look at the key events that brought us here over the last nine months.
Steven Avery gets a whole new legal team. Kathleen Zellner, who specialises in wrongful convictions and Tricia Bushnell of the Midwest Innocence Project take up his case. Zellner promises that there is 'new evidence' to present and that she is confident Avery's conviction will be overturned.
Avery files new appeal papers, claiming among other things that a search warrant was improperly executed and that evidence seized as a result of the warrant was “fruit of the poisonous tree.”
Due to attention he'd gained as a result of the series, Brendan Dassey is transferred from Green Bay Correctional Facility to the maximum-security Columbia Correctional Facility. The prison rules forbid the airing of television shows that contain violence, foul language and nudity, so Dassey hasn't been allowed to watch Wrestlemania since he was incarcerated.
State Prosecutor Ken Kratz, the man who secured Steven Avery's conviction, says he plans to release a book about the trial and tell the side of the story that the Making a Murderer filmmakers left out. Kratz claims that he was compelled to write the book because "because the one voice forgotten to this point is Teresa Halbach."
— FOX6 News (@fox6now) January 25, 2016
It's also revealed that Kratz contacted Avery and asks him to confess and help him write the book. Needless to say, Avery declined.
'Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What "Making a Murderer" Gets Wrong' is due to be released in January 2017.
Brendan Dassey becomes the subject of sexual abuse speculation. Journalist Dan O'Donnell, who covered Steven Avery's trial, says that the Making a Murderer directors left out claims by Brendan Dassey that his uncle sexually abused him. However in a 2006 psychological evaluation, he denied ever being sexually abused.
Kathleen Zellner claims to have some new suspects in the case which will help her prove Avery's innocence.
"We have a couple. I’d say there’s one, leading the pack by a lot. But I don’t want to scare him off, I don’t want him to run."
Zellner also claims that she has an "airtight alibi" for Avery for the evening Thresa Halbach disappeared.
— Kathleen Zellner (@ZellnerLaw) March 6, 2016
Making a Murderer directors, Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi reveal to Ryan Tubridy that Steven Avery still hasn't seen the series.
Laura said: “Steven unfortunately hasn’t been able to see the series.”
Moira added: “Prison is full of rules so they said no to his request to watch the series."
“I think their answer was if we said yes to you, we’d have to say yes to everyone."
Avery's lawyers were due to file their appeal on May 31st but requested a 90 day extension to file the appeal. Among the reasons cited was the sheer volume of paperwork that the team needed to get through.
“The record totals 464 documents. Although counsel has worked diligently … it requires additional time to complete the brief in this case.”
— Kathleen Zellner (@ZellnerLaw) May 30, 2016
Netflix officially announce that production will begin on new episodes of Making a Murderer.
Steven Avery writes a lengthy letter from prison in which he slams his former defence attorneys Dean Strang and Jerry Buting. In the letter, Avery claims that: "They don’t now what justice is and they don’t now what is a investigation is because if they did they would have done it for a innocent man like me!!!" Avery also said that if they'd done their investigation properly he wouldn't still be in prison.
Jerry Buting took to Twitter to respond to Avery's letter.
Please don't blame S Avery for his misdirected frustration. In his spot we'd all be unhappy. Dean & I still support his cause for justice.
— Jerome Buting (@JButing) July 27, 2016
Brendan Dassey gets his conviction overturned. The Judge in the case revealed his reasoning for the decision as follows:
"The investigators repeatedly claimed to already know what happened on October 31 and assured Dassey that he had nothing to worry about," the decision reads. "These repeated false promises, when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey's age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey's confession involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments."
The State of Wisconsin has 90 days to appeal the decision.
Kathleen Zellner says that she is confident that Steven Avery will get the same result soon. In a wide ranging interview with the New York Times, Zellner reiterates her claim that she has an alternative suspect in the Halbach case. She says that the new suspect combined with new forensic evidence should be enough to see Avery's conviction overturned.
“There is evidence that already exists in the case that points to a different location and a different suspect... We’ve got a combination of forensic evidence and a tip from somebody that we’ve interviewed multiple times that we think is credible."
Zellner will file Avery's appeal on August 29th.