Kathleen Zellner, wrongful conviction lawyer for Making a Murderer centerpiece, Steven Avery, recently challenged naysayers to prove that her client is indeed guilty of murdering freelance photographer, Teresa Halbach. Although Zellner claims no one has currently taken the challenge, a number of Reddit users took the challenge in their own way and challenged Zellner back on the validity of the questions.
Zellner’s questionnaire, known as the “Proof of Guilt” challenge, consists of 100 questions (or 99 questions, as Reddit users pointed out that questions 81 and 92 are duplicates) aimed at “guilters,” the nickname given to those who feel Avery is guilty.
“Over the last 19 months, we have heard and read numerous claims that Steven Avery is guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach,” Zellner wrote.”Without exception, the authors of these claims simply do not know the facts of the case nor do they address the most blatant discrepancies in the State’s case against Mr. Avery.”
Guilters responded to Zellner’s statement by saying it’s not a claim since Avery is already a convicted man.
“A claim is an assertion yet to be proven, but Avery, proven guilty already, is currently serving a life sentence for murder in a Wisconsin prison,” said a proclaimed guilter.
In order to enter the challenge, Zellner demands the numbers of each contestant’s driver’s license, as well as their full name and current address.
The questions, on surface at least, seem legitimate. Yet, numerous guilters pointed out that not only is the “onus” currently on Zellner to prove Avery’s innocence, but that a number of her statements in the questionnaire have not been proven yet, making the challenge unfair and impossible to win.
Reddit user super_pickle created an open response to Zellner’s challenge, and held nothing back while, with a tinge of sarcasm, described her thoughts on the reported inaccuracies.
“As impressed as we are with your adherence to ethical standards thus far, we’re not interested in giving you our drivers’ license numbers to prove something that was proven 10 years ago,” the Reddit user wrote.
“The onus is currently on you, as Avery’s attorney, to prove him innocent, or at the very least prove his rights were violated. You didn’t offer that proof in your PCR motion (which would’ve been a great place to do it!), but your followers have assured us you’re holding back the real evidence to toy with the courts while your client sits in prison. Apparently they don’t have much faith in your ethics either.”
Zellner, who apparently read the response, fired back, stating that Reddit users aren’t following the rules and giving in to her specific demands of identifying themselves.
“So far not a single person has followed the specific instructions in the offer. If these Reddit claims are credible and based on evidence or theories presented by the prosecution at trial the author should have no problem identifying themselves.”
But are the questions legitimate? Is it possible for anyone to answer them correctly? Reddit users compiled a list of many of Zellner’s questions and pointed out that there is no way to answer questions where answers do not exist.
For example, on question #86, Zellner wrote that “the microscopic examination of [Teresa Halbach’s] hood latch swab fail[ed] to reveal any evidence that the swab ever touched a hood latch.” Reddit users confronted Zellner on what they perceived as inaccuracies.
“According to your expert, analysis revealed ‘fine mineral grains and other particles of airborne dust (e.g., pollen),’ qualitatively consistent with the size range and composition of debris collected from the hood latch of an exemplar 2012 Toyota Rav 4.’……. Can you explain how that counts as no evidence the swab ever touched a hood latch? If your theory is correct and this is a groin swab, can you explain why Avery had mineral grains and pollen on his groin?“
Sixteen of the most egregious questions that Reddit users challenged Zellner on can be found here.
Tom Fassbender, co-lead detective in the Avery case who was seen on several occasions during the Making a Murderer documentary, told Crime Online that Zellner’s challenge is taking the focus off of what truly matters in this case: Teresa Halbach.
“Steven Avery’s guilt was decided in court 10 years ago by a jury of his peers. Anyone, especially an attorney, who turns the violent murder of a young woman into a sick game and tries to goad people into playing should be utterly ashamed of themselves. It is so very sad what is being alleged with no regard for the Halbachs or the victim, Teresa.”
Is it truly a “sick game” or does Zellner have a method behind the madness? The lawyer recently said that the questionnaire was simply a way to get those who think Avery is guilty to put up or shut-up.
There is no doubt that Zellner holds a stellar track record in the law field by almost anyone’s standards. She successfully freed 17 innocent victims from prison, including Ryan Ferguson, whose case was made into the award-winning documentary, Dream/Killer.
— LawNewz (@law_newz) July 27, 2017
With her solid background, however, some people question why she is so bothered by Internet users who don’t agree with her assessment of Steven Avery, and moreso, why she has, for months on end, left scathing comments and taunting memes directed towards people who don’t share her point of view.
— Kathleen Zellner (@ZellnerLaw) July 19, 2017
It’s also puzzling to many people who’ve studied the case why she’s offering $10,000 that could be used for a compensation for the established Wisconsin Victim Compensation escrow account for Teresa Halbach’s family.
Another Reddit user, Puzzledbyitall, who states he’s a licensed attorney with 35 years of experience, took aim at Zellner’s monetary offer, as well as her Twitter activity.
“None of us want her money, which she wouldn’t pay anyway. What we would like is a discussion with her in which she answers our questions and we answer hers. We invited her, she ignores it. It’s obviously not because she’s too busy, because she clearly wastes lots of time on nonsense tweets……Serious lawyers file serious briefs in the correct courts. Clown lawyers spend their time sending tweets to Guilters, then blocking them from reading the tweets they don’t care about, and setting themselves up for defamation lawsuits by accusing people of murder without any evidence.”
Anyone interested in taking Zellner’s challenge can email her at attorneys@
[Feature Photo: AP/Don Shrubshell, Pool]