The Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer has audiences calling for convicted killer Steven Avery's release. But some involved with the case say the filmmakers conveniently left out key pieces of evidence.
The 10-part series seeks to raise questions about the guilty verdicts against Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, who were found guilty in the Halloween 2005 slaying of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.
Two years before the homicide, Avery had been exonerated in a rape case for which he served 18 years in prison.
Since the series premiered, online petitions seeking a pardon for Avery have rack up thousands of signatures — even forcing the White House to respond — while contrasting reports claim that the series leaves out significant incriminating information, with everyone from the case's former prosecutors to Avery's ex-fiancée Jodi Stachowski weighing in.
In their media appearances surrounding their Netflix series, creators Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos have been forced to defend themselves about as much as they do Steven Avery, the possibly-falsely-convicted man at the center of their show.
"We knew this was a controversial project," Demos said at a TCA press tour. "We knew (we were) sharing with the American public and the world a lot of information that had never been talked about. It's not surprising people would get riled up. To some degree, we were expecting it."
Here's a roundup of details that were left out of the series:
1. Additional DNA evidence linking Avery to Halbach's car
During the trial, Avery's lawyers suggested that police planted evidence including Avery's blood in Halbach's SUV.
According to former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, Avery's DNA was also found under the hood of Halbach's SUV.
“It wasn’t blood. It was from his sweaty hands," Kratz told Maxim. "Do the cops also have a vial of his sweat that they are carrying around? The evidence conclusively shows that Steven Avery’s hand was under the hood when he insists he never touched her car."
The SUV was found on Avery’s property and was at the crime lab since Nov. 5.
“How did his DNA get under the hood if Avery never touched her car?” Kratz asks. “Do the cops have a vial of Avery's sweat to ‘plant’ under the hood?”
2. The cat fire
Filmmakers downplayed Avery's animal cruelty charge, according to Kratz. Avery was accused of soaking his cat in gasoline and lighting it on a fire, though Avery described the incident as if he were fooling around with friends in the docuseries, Kratz said.
“That’s a very, very different event than what Avery describes,” Kratz told Maxim.
3. Full details of Halbach's remains in the fire pit
Halbach’s tooth, identified with dental records, and a rivet from the jeans she was wearing the day she went missing were found in the fire pit near Avery’s home, Kratz said.
Kratz said Halbach's bones in the fire pit were "intertwined" with the steel belts, left over from the car tires Avery threw on the fire to burn.
Officers found remnants of steel belts from tires that they believed were used as fire accelerants. That was where her bones were burned.
Suggesting that some human bones found elsewhere (never identified as Halbach's) were from this murder was never established, Kratz said.
4. Phone records
According to Kratz, Avery targeted Halbach, who worked as a freelance photographer for Auto Trader Magazineand had photographed cars on Avery's property prior to her death.
At 8:12 a.m. on Oct. 31, Avery called Auto Trader Magazine and asked them to send "that same girl who was here last time," Kratz said. Avery gave a fake name and his sister’s number to the Auto Trader Magazine receptionist to trick Halbach into coming.
Halbach had been to the Avery property earlier in the month when Avery answered the door wearing only a towel. She said she wouldn’t go back because she was scared of him, Kratz said.
5. Halbach’s belongings
Halbach’s phone, camera and handheld device were found 20 feet from Avery’s door, and were burned in his barrel, Kratz said.
"Why did the documentary not tell the viewers the contents of her purse were in his burn barrel, just north of the front door of his trailer?" he asked.
Kratz said a bullet from Avery's gun had Halbach's DNA on it.
"Ballistics said the bullet found in the garage was fired by Avery's rifle, which was in a police evidence locker since Nov. 6," Kratz said. "If the cops planted the bullet, how did they get one fired from his gun? This rifle, hanging over Avery's bed, is the source of the bullet found in the garage, with Teresa's DNA on it."
He said the theory that police planted the bullet is ridiculous: "Did the cops borrow his gun, fire a bullet, recover the bullet before planting the SUV, then hang on to the bullet for four months in case they need to plant it four months later?"
“If you had to point to one piece of evidence that showed Steven Avery shot her, that’s what it is,” Kratz said. “It’s his bullet from his gun with her DNA on it.”
7. Steven Avery planned to torture women, according to the additional charges filed by the DA in 2006
While he was serving a prison sentence for a rape he was later acquitted of, Steven Avery planned the torture and killing of a young woman, according to documents released in the 2006 Halbach case.
Avery also bought leg irons and handcuffs three weeks before he allegedly killed Teresa Halbach, the special prosecutor in his homicide case said.
The allegations were included in 22 pages of court documents accompanying additional charges filed by Kratz in 2006.
Follow @AlisonDirr on Twitter.
Contributing: Maeve McDermott
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