Kathleen Zellner, the wrongful conviction lawyer who represents Steven Avery of Making a Murderer, dropped a bombshell motion in court on Monday, pointing the finger at the brother of Brendan Dassey, Avery’s accomplice in Teresa Halbach’s murder.
Teresa Halbach, a freelance photographer for Auto Trader magazine, was murdered on October 31, 2005, after driving to Avery’s house to take photos of his sister’s van. Her bone fragments, vehicle, and other evidence was found on Avery’s property in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, days later.
Subsequently, both Avery and Brendan Dassey were arrested for the murder; Steven in November 2005 and Brendan the following March, after confessing that he raped Halbach and helped move her body. Dassey later said that detectives coerced a false confession out of him..
Since 2016, Zellner, an attorney with a high success rate of overturning convictions, has been working on Avery’s case in an attempt to exonerate him or get him a new trial.
According to court documents, Zellner filed the new motion at the Wisconsin Circuit Court after Judge Angela Sutkiewicz recently turned down a previous motion, citing insufficient evidence to grant Avery a new trial.
While her previous motion primarily focused on Teresa’s former boyfriend, Ryan Hillegas, as the possible “real” suspect, Zellner now contends that Dassey’s older brother, Bobby Dassey left behind incriminating evidence that was never thoroughly investigated.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) October 26, 2017
The motion states that “new forensic testing” on the Dassey home computer, tracing back to the times around Halbach’s murder and after, resulted in “images of Ms. Halbach, many images of violent pornography involving young females being raped and tortured, and images of injuries to females, including a decapitated head, bloodied torso, a bloody head injury and a mutilated body.”
“The [women in the] violent pornographic images on the Dassey computer are strikingly similar in appearance to [Teresa Halbach],” Zellner told Rolling Stone. “The viewer – whom we believe is Bobby – has a morbid fascination with the death of young women plus torture, rape, pedophilia etc.”
“Bobby also lied when he told the police he had never seen [Halbach] before October 31,” Zellner continued. “He commented about her every time she came to the [Avery Salvage Yard] for appointments.”
She also provided other key points, including:
- According to Zellner, the graphic online images and videos were reportedly accessed at time in which only Bobby Dassey would have been home.
- Forensic testing of Avery’s DNA allegedly showed he would have had to open the hood of Halbach’s RAV4 around 90 times to leave behind the amount of DNA he’s accused of.
- Forensic testing done on a bullet fragment in Avery’s garage reportedly shows “no particles consistent with bone,” although prosecutors said it entered and exited through Halbach’s skull.
- The motion claims new evidence places Hillegas at the center of the murder after he was allegedly found in possession of the day planner that Halbach kept in her vehicle during the time she disappeared.
- A new witness said they saw Halbach “parked at the turnaround at State Highway 147 and the East Twin River Bridge” on Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, 2005.
On the other hand, numerous online sleuths are rebutting Zellner’s claims. For instance, a Reddit user pointed out that Halbach used a PDA and would have had no reason to carry a printout she created the night before.
Further, other Reddit users pointed out that the computer used to pull up the graphic content was a home computer that everyone shared and there is no way to be certain that Bobby was the only one home that day. No records were provided to show Brendan Dassey or his brother were in school on each day in question.
Another Reddit user claimed that the experts who pulled the content from the computer “found a list of searches from various dates,” which cannot single out Bobby Dassey, since the entire family used the computer at different times. Searches, as an exhibit in the motion, are dated Sept. 18, 2005, and range throughout the day until 10:04 p.m. Yet, that date was a Sunday night and Bobby Dassey would’ve already been at his third-shift job by the time of the last search.
Yet another Reddit user said that in regards to Avery’s DNA on the hood latch, it is “perfectly consistent with the literature on touch DNA yield,” and “barely enough to actually test with the methods they had at the time.”
“Only on Planet Zellner where you can just make sh** up is 1.9 ng an enormous amount of DNA.”
Check back with CrimeOnline for additional details.
[Feature Photo: AP/Sheboygan Press, Bruce Halmo, Pool]