Steven Avery, the centerpiece of the highly popular Netflix docu-series, “Making a Murderer,” has been granted an appeal.
Newsweek reports that Avery’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, explained that the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled a lower court to hear out her reasons for wanting to test bones which the state previously stated were inconclusive.
“The appellate court granted our motion to supplement the record with the evidence the bones were destroyed,” Zellner told Newsweek. “The case is being remanded back to the circuit court to conduct proceedings, which can include a hearing. The circuit court can grant a new trial, or if not, back to appellate court who can reverse the conviction and/or grant a new trial.”
“Either way, the State opposed this motion and lost. This evidence has the potential to undo the whole case, so it is a big win.”
Zellner filed the appeal after she learned the Wisconsin Department of Justice returned bones to Teresa Halbach’s family. The state reportedly indicated that the bones had never been tested for DNA, prompting Zellner to file the appeal, citing the Youngblood vs. Arizona violation, which indicates the state cannot “breach constitutional duty” in preserving evidence.
The state gave suspected human bones to Teresa Halbach's family, implicitly acknowledging the potentially exculpatory evidence, Steven Avery's attorneys argue. https://t.co/LI0GCIcVgw
— Journal Sentinel (@journalsentinel) January 28, 2019
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 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 were found on Avery’s property in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, days later.
The bones in question, however, were found in a quarry located away from Avery’s property.
Both Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey are behind bars for Halbach’s murder. Avery was incarcerated in November 2005 and Dassey 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.
With the appeal granted, Zellner now has the opportunity to test the bones to determine whether they’re actually human or animal bones, and if human bones, whether the bones are of Halbach. If the bones are Halbach’s, it will refute the state’s allegations that Avery killed Halbach and burned her in a burn pit on his property.
“This admission proves these bone fragments were returned to the family and it is undisputed there was no notice given to Steven Avery or his attorneys and that violates Wisconsin law,” Zellner told Newsweek.
With the new appeal, Avery could potentially get a second trial.
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Steven Avery/Police Handout]