In the weeks since the release date of Netflix’s Making a Murderer, the whole of the American people have become obsessed with the apparent guilt or innocence of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin native who may or may not be guilty of a gruesome murder. While the celebrated documentary itself absolutely comes down firmly on the side of Avery’s innocence, painting the man as the victim of a vast government conspiracy, evidence released after the documentary’s air date points to some pretty glaring omissions on the part of the filmmakers. So, which is it? Is Avery an unfortunate soul who’s been targeted by local authorities, or is he a violent offender sitting in the cell he so rightfully deserves? Here, for your consideration, are fifteen pertinent points from the Avery case pulled from the pile of those included in the doc itself and those omitted.
1. In Case You’ve Missed Out on the Streaming Phenomenon…
Here’s the gist of the case in a nutshell. In 1985, Manitowoc County resident Steven Avery was charged with harassing his cousin, the wife of a local sheriff’s deputy. Apparently, he forced her off the road and then threatened her at gunpoint after she reportedly spread rumors that he liked to expose himself on his front lawn. Later that year he was convicted of the pre-meditated sexual assault of Penny Beernsten. Avery maintained that he was innocent throughout his incarceration, and in 2002, the Wisconsin Innocence Project took his case and were able to secure an exoneration for him after it was discovered that his DNA wasn’t at the crime scene. After 18 years in prison, Avery was set free and sent home to Manitowoc.
2. But Just When Avery Thought Things Were Going His Way…
In 2005, Avery filed a $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County, its former sheriff, and its former district attorney. At the same time, a photographer for Auto Trader Magazine named Teresa Halbach went missing on the same day she was scheduled to meet with Steven Avery at his home. Ten days later, Avery was arrested after Halbach’s car was found on his property and fragments of her bones were found in a ‘burn pit’ in his backyard. Avery maintained that the charge was an attempt to frame him as a means of undercutting his pending civil suit. Manitowoc County authorities asserted that the circumstances of Halbach’s disappearance combined with evidence found at the scene made the ex-convict a prime suspect.
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