Netflix has provided us with no shortage of shows to binge watch over winter break. The one show everybody's been talking about? Making a Murderer, a ten-episode documentary following the case of Steven Avery, who was released after 18 years of wrongful imprisonment—only to be convicted of murder just two years later, in 2005. Still in prison serving a lifetime sentence (without the possibility of parole), Avery has continued to maintain his innocence.
The case is filled with twists and surprises so shocking they can't be made up. The timing of the murder case has many questioning whether Avery committed the murder, or whether he was set up by the Manitowoc County police department, whom he'd just sued for $36 million. Avery's lawyers raised a number of questions we still can't find answers to—among them, the complete lack of evidence in Avery's trailer, where 25-year-old Teresa Halbach was allegedly raped and supposedly had her throat slashed; the suspicious placement of Avery's blood in Halbach's car (which becomes even stranger when it's discovered that a vial of Avery's blood in evidence from a previous case was tampered with); the fact that Sgt. Andrew Colborn and Lt. James Lenk were heavily involved in (and apparently vital to, given they happened to be able to produce some pretty damning evidence) the case despite the obvious conflict of interest; and others. If you haven't watched the docuseries yet, it's worth a watch—seriously, you'll probably binge the entire series in a day—before you read on.
By the conclusion of the ten episodes, you're left wondering how in the world any judge or jury could find Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, guilty of their alleged crimes. While this doesn't change some of the shady stuff the documentary reveals, there are some vital bits of information that give us a little bit of a different perspective.
1. Avery may have 'targeted' Halbach
Ken Kratz, the prosecutor on Avery's case, told People that some of the evidence he presented wasn't represented in the Netflix series. October 31 wasn't the first time Halbach visited the Avery property; on October 10, 2005, Halbach stopped by to take photos for AutoTrader magazine. Reports show Avery greeted her in nothing but a towel, and she was "creeped out," according to Kratz. The morning of October 31, Avery called AutoTrader (as he had done several times previously) to request that Halbach in particular come out again; knowing she was skeptical of him, Avery took steps to pretend it was his sister who was calling to request her. That same day, phone records show he called Halbach three times, twice hiding his number with the *67 feature. Then, Kratz says, Avery makes "one last call at 4:35 p.m., without the *67 feature. Avery first believes he can simply say she never showed up… so tries to establish the alibi call after she's already been there, hence the 4:35 call. She will never answer of course, so he doesn't need the *67 feature for that last call."
2. Avery had just purchased tools that Dassey described in his confession
Only three weeks before the murder, it was noted that Avery bought handcuffs and leg irons, which Dassey said in his confession were used to hold Halbach to the bed. Avery, however, claimed he had purchased them for use with his then-girlfriend, Jodi.
3. Former inmates say Avery had plans to torture women
In his interview with People, Kratz said that inmates who knew Avery claimed Avery intended on building a "torture chamber" when he was released from prison, and that he wanted to "rape, torture and kill young women." He was also allegedly told by a fellow inmate that the best way to get rid of a body was to burn it.
4. Brendan was molested by Avery earlier in life
During a phone conversation from prison with his mother, Brendan confessed that Avery had molested him in the past. Though it has no bearing on Teresa Halbach's case, it does reveal a little more about Avery's character—and it gives insight into how Avery might have been able to manipulate Brendan into aiding him in this crime.
Mom: Then why didn’t you tell him that.
Brendan: Tell him what
Mom: That Steven made you do it. You know he made you do a lot of things.
Brendan: Ya, I told them that. I even told them about Steven touching me and that.
Mom: What do you mean touching you?
Brendan: He would grab me somewhere where I was uncomfortable.
Mom: Brendan I am your mother.
Mom: Why didn’t you come to me? Why didn’t you tell me? Was this all before this happened?
Brendan: What do you mean?
Mom: All before this happened, did he touch you before all this stuff happened to you.
Mom: Why didn’t you come to me, because then he would have been gone then and this wouldn’t have happened.
Brendan: Ya ..
Mom: Yes, and you would still be here with me.
Whether or not Avery and Dassey are guilty of Teresa Halbach's murder still seems unclear to us armchair detectives; so up in the air, in fact, that the petition to pardon the two men has garnered more than 100,000 signatures. Though there's likely much more to be revealed about this case, it is clear that between the bizarre circumstances under which much of the evidence against Avery was discovered and the close-to-coerced confession from Dassey, there was plenty of mistreatment and abuse of authority present in the treatment of both men.