Six Years After The Debut Of Netflix's Making A Murderer Was Watched By Millions What Do We Now Know About The Investigation Into Teresa Halbachs disappearance?
Deceptive Tactics Utilized By Prosecutors To Secure Wrongful Convictions
Reflecting back at what has been found since the debut of Making a Murderer I want to ask the reader this:
"If someone is telling you about an event that occurred yet they are lying to you about where it happened, what they did while they were there, why they did those things and most importantly who they were doing it for would you believe anything they said about the event at all?"
Taking a look at the disappearance of Teresa Halbach and some of the events in the investigation and trial process that resulted in the controversial murder convictions of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey reveals that the State of Wisconsin was at minimum deceptive and dishonest about everything that investigators found and did in the Teresa Halbach investigation and also in what was presented to the media, public and jury in 2005-2007. This deception has continued on in the post conviction.
As of today Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey remain imprisoned at separate correctional institutions in the state of Wisconsin. Brendan Dassey’s case has-as a result of the documentary ignited a long overdue discussion and more importantly the beginning of reforms in how juveniles are questioned and interrogated. Three states have enacted legislation regarding the interviewing and interrogations of juveniles. No matter what your belief in Brendan Dassey’s innocence or guilt I think everyone who watched the multiple interrogations conducted by Calumet County Investigator Mark Wiegert and Wisconsin DCI S/A Tom Fassbender agree that the officers at minimum lied to and manipulated Brendan to make statements that not only went against his best interest they were also total fabrications that evidence shows did not. happen
Jerome Buting and Dean Strang-the two highly regarded Wisconsin attorneys who represented Steven Avery at trial have both admitted that they were ineffective in his defense. Its undeniable that they were completely ineffective - if they had been effective defense attorneys for Steven he would not have been convicted of Teresa Halbach’s murder.
There are several key pieces of evidence that Buting and Strang either missed or more troubling were deceived by prosecutors about and also several pieces of evidence that post conviction testing by and additional investigation paid for by Steven Avery’s post conviction attorney Kathleen Zellner has found that not only are all of the prosecutions stories of how the murder of Teresa occurred - and prosecutors have had several different ones- one for Steven’s trial, a different one for Brendan’s trial, and also the versions that were told to the public via the media and yet still another version in the former prosecutor Ken Kratz’s book(s) about the case titled Avery. That there are this many versions of a murder being disseminated into the public by prosecutors in the first place should be concerning for everyone. Especially in a case involving a juvenile that forensic testing not one drop of his DNA or one fingerprint of his was found. Coupled with the fact that his “co-defendant” was a man who was in the midst of a $36,000,000.00 civil suit against the law enforcement officers and sheriffs department involved in this case for another criminal investigation that resulted in a previous wrongful conviction that had cost him over a decade of his life in prison.
The state of Wisconsin has stated repeatedly that Teresa Halbach arrived on the Avery property around 2:30pm on October 31, 2005 and that Steven Avery at that time abducted, assaulted, murdered and ultimately used a burn pit to place her body whole on to a massive fire and cremated her there. That Teresa Halbach never left the Avery property nor did her RAV4. That Brendan Dassey somehow winds up involved in this murder by coming to Steven’s trailer in the evening hours while Steven is in the midst of violently assaulting Teresa Halbach and Steven sweatily invites him to join in on the crime. The prosecutors state that really some strange things were done to Teresa Halbach by Steven and Brendan and then after she was killed they then did some more bizarre things with her corpse before ultimately building a massive back yard fire with flames as high as the garage roof and burning her body and using yard tools to break her bones down to ash and miniscule fragments. After that they scoop all the ash/debris/bone fragments out and then they dump a bucket behind Steven’s trailer and bury the rest by the burn pit area. Examination of all the evidence collected, officer audio, official records and the multiple witnesses accounts of Halloween and their interactions with Brendan and Steven show that this is not what happened to Teresa Halbach- nothing close to this did.
For example some of the claims about the abduction and murder involve Teresa’s hair being cut, that she was handcuffed/tied to Steven’s bed, that she was stabbed multiple times, that her throat was cut, that she was repeatedly sexually assaulted, that she was shot up to fifteen times in the garage, that she was placed on the mechanics creeper and wheeled/carried all around the Avery property, that she was loaded into and out of the back of the RAV twice, that while her body was in the back of the RAV Steven and Brendan drove all around the Avery Salvage Yard to the pond on the other side, then the RAV still with Teresa in the back was brought back to Steven’s property, then she was brought out again and that finally Steven and Brendan carried over to the burn pit area next to the dog and built a massive fire and they then placed Teresa Halbach’s body whole in a massive fire in Steven’s backyard burn pit that had flames so high as high as the garage roof that ultimately rendered her body to nothing except some tiny bone fragments the largest a golf ball size piece of bone and flesh. In other words a tragic, violent, bloody and prolonged excruciating death.
Yet the pictures and videos taken by officers of Steven’s trailer and garage the eight days the 40 acre property was seized and under control of law enforcement show a tiny trailer home and nothing out of the ordinary at all. No holes are found in the thin walls of the trailer in the living room, bedroom or narrow hallway left by a woman struggling, kicking and screaming fighting for her life. No blood droplets in the trailer or garage from the multiple stab wounds or gunshots or the traipsing back and forth of a body around the property and in and out of the RAV and garage. The trailer is full of furniture, large house plants and other items throughout the space and there was no signs of any of these items being disturbed. The carpeting of the trailer is a light gray/beige and there are no bloodstain trails present nor is there a noticeable clean up of bloodstains found. The same for the garage. Besides tools and a wealth of other items there was large items in the garage including a Suzuki Samarui, a snowmobile, a riding lawn mower, a large tool box, an air compressor, a refrigerator and much more. These items are dusty and have other miscellaneous items all over them. Luminol and phenolphthalin testing found not one drop of Teresa’s or Brendan’s blood nor that any blood spray clean up had occurred. Dozens of stains were collected and forensically tested and not one drop of Teresa or Brendan’s DNA was found anywhere on Steven’s property.
So how did prosecutors convince the media, public and the jury that Teresa Halbach had been murdered on Steven Avery’s property? By misdirection. By focusing the attention elsewhere. This was done in several ways. One of the ways was by using Wisconsin State Trooper Timothy Austin and his team to create a forensic mapping report. The final result was an 84 page forensic mapping report, hundreds of digital images and a 2-3 minute DVD/CD simulation of a walk through of Steven Avery’s trailer, garage and the Avery Property. The report is billed as a accurate 3D computer rendering of the scene. Yet in reality it was a tool utilized by prosecutors to sell a violent and prolonged convoluted murder story without providing actual videos, corroborating evidence and very few actual photos of the scene to show that it occurred. The digital images are very deceptive and allowed prosecutors to present a murder story and resulting investigation that evidence shows didn't happen.
The following is an excerpt of the forward to the 84 page report.
I encourage anyone who hasn’t read this report to do so. Austin explains that he isn’t the one making any conclusions about the evidence and is only providing the images at the request of others. He says the same about the skeletal models that he created depicting the bone fragments with Dr. Leslie Eisenberg. Yet Dr. Eisenberg- the forensic anthropologist who worked with the bone fragments and who never visited the Avery property testified at Steven Avery’s trial that she got her interpretation of the burn pit as being the primary location of the body burning from reading Trooper Austin’s graphic depiction of the scene among other things..
One of the many issues is the image used in the report depicting Steven Avery’s burn pit.
This image looks like the scene where a massive body destroying fire could have occurred yet the reality is that this is what officers found when they seized control of the property on November 5, 2005. The second photo shows just how small the actual burn area was. Also concerning is the fact that many of the items labeled as located in and around the burn pit area in the digital image were not present in the locations listed on the first days of the investigation. This can only mean that officers were moving evidence to manipulate the scene to make it appear more sinister than it was. How does creating a crime scene help find answers in a missing persons case?
The computer images of Steven’s trailer and garage are also not accurate representations. They are deceptive and misleading about the property. Here are computer images of the bedroom and here are actual photos taken by officers of Steven’s trailer . Steven’s trailer is extremely small- at best 14 foot wide and 70 foot long. It also contained wall to wall items and had minimal walking and moving around space. Manitowoc County Sheriffs Officers James Lenk and Andrew Colborn along with Calumet County Officer Dan Kucharski tell a complicated and detailed story of the arrival of the key on the fourth day of searching. Looking at the digital image that story may seem possible yet looking at actual photos of the bedroom and of the items on the bookcase and how small the bedroom is it is clear that those three men were never in that tiny space picking up a bookcase and roughly tilting it back and forth and side to side exposing the bottom to others. For one the objects on top of the bookcase (specifically the stacked coins) never change position, Two how did Lenk get around Colborn (searching the bookcase for the second time) to leave the bedroom and retrieve evidence bags as he claimed? Three where was Officer Kucharski during all this- sitting on the alleged rape/bloody murder bed? There also is an image of Steven’s bathroom laundry area depicting a bleach bottle- yet it doesn’t show that the bleach bottle was next to the laundry soap and both where above the washer and dryer. Another image included is of the outside area of the trailer and a random piece of duct tape next to the porch. The duct tape has zero evidentiary value in the case- it was not linked to Teresa or Brendan so why include it unless it is an intent to deceive people that it did have evidentiary value?
Actual photos of the garage and then these are copies of the digital images created by Wisconsin State Trooper Timothy Austin and used by prosecutors show the same deceptive labels and staging of the scene this particular image shows the RAV inside Steven Averys garage
No evidence that the RAV was ever in the garage yet jurors are shown this photo and not one bit of forensic evidence or a witness statement established the RAV was ever inside Steven Avery’s garage at any time. Another image used is one of the roof trusses in the garage. It is labeled with markings found on the trusses- yet those markings had zero evidentiary purpose and are normally found in garages of mechanics around the world.
Then there are the multiple pieces of evidence that established that officers spent many days investigating property that didn’t belong to Steven Avery. That investigators set up multiple road blocks that controlled access and traffic to properties that did not belong to Steven Avery . That he Wisconsin State Patrol were tasked to use GPS coordinates and coded location names and that the 3D laser imaging system was used to digitally render scenes and buildings on these properties. That multiple K9 dogs tracked away from Steven Avery’s property and that there were several alerts, including an alert on a burial site. Investigators are documented requesting a specific ambulance and specific officers to respond to the area. That the investigators performed a burial site excavation , that dozens of pieces of evidence was collected. That a coroner was paged and responded and death was pronounced on 80 acre property that belonged to Manitowoc County- the same county Steven Avery was suing for his first wrongful conviction in 1985. Prosecutors and investigators intentionally used misleading evidence location labels, evidence tag # shuffling, and inaccurate police reports to keep this from the defense, media, jury and public.
On November 7th, 2005 investigators are in the Manitowoc County Quarry and also at Josh Radandt’s deer camp and at the Kuss road cul-de-sac area. We know this not from their detailed reports about their investigation but from aerial photos taken from above that were released post trial to researchers and from radio and dispatch calls that were requested via records request and analyzed by researchers for countless hours. Investigators performed crime scene investigations on these other properties the entire time they also had complete control and unlimited access of the Avery property. Here are pics of aerial photos and maps showing investigation occurring, evidence locations and roadblocks in the investigation off of the Avery property. On November 9th, 2005 Calumet County Officer Kelly Sippel is recorded on a call to his Captain. That call can be heard here. During the call he discusses piles of human bones found miles away from Steven Avery’s property. Yet his reports written about activities that day mention nothing about this. Here are photos of investigators collecting evidence in the Manitowoc County 80 acre quarry. The same day in the evening DI Greg Schetter is also documented paging a coroner and the next day the coroner responds to the 80 acre Manitowoc County owned county Quarry. While there Klaeser pronounced Teresa Halbach deceased. Yet no reports about this are written either. In fact this is what is written about Coroner Klaeser’s visit to Manitowoc County quarry.
Then there are the human bones themselves. First the evidence photos of the bones are problematic. There are no photos of the burn pit debris being collected. Reviewing thousands of photos, videos, and media footage has failed to produce one image of any evidence being collected from the burn pit. Tag #7923 is assigned to the brown tarp investigators stated was the debris from the burn pit. The multiple sifting of the debris contained in the tarp produced all the human bone fragments that prosecutors stated show that Steven and Brendan burned Teresa whole in a massive fire in the backyard. Yet review of photos and documents show that the first time a brown tarp is photographed is December of 2005. Evidence tag #s are not assigned to evidence at the scene and photographed in site. These tags are assigned at the sheriffs office garage. Sifting of multiple tarps occurred at the same time. Tarps from multiple properties. Evidence location labels are written in code. For example evidence collected on property owned by Manitowoc county is labeled as being collected at “Avery property south of red trailer” or they used “E site numbers” https://imgur.com/a/nTBcxYG and deceptive GPS coordinates and simply wrote Avery on the location line.
Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Leslie Eisenberg doesn’t write her first report until June of 2006. Bone fragment photos with evidence tags aren't found until January 2006. She stated she worked on the bones prior to this yet the fact is that the first experts we know that analyzed the bones Stier and Bennett both clearly state that the bones originated “from a location unknown to me” and neither documented that a single evidence tag being affixed. They were brought bones in a white cardboard box to assess and give an opinion on. When the tags are not being assigned at the time of the collection and photographs are not taken to show what tag is being assigned to what evidence there is no evidence to corroborate where that evidence is actually originating.
Then there is the deception regarding the dismemberment of the body prior to the body being burned. Dozens of bones are noted with cut marks on them. The FBI examined fragments and noted that a serrated edged blade was used. Yet the prosecution never mentioned the dismemberment aspect of the murder. A time consuming and messy aspect of the crime that is not discussed at all. After the trials conclude yet while Steven and Brendan are in the midst of their appeals officers and prosecutors will meet and select most if not all of these human bone fragments and against statute requiring the keeping of the bones will state that they removed them and gave them back to the family. There are no ledgers or documents showing the family was contacted or received the remains.
This is just a glimpse of all that is wrong in this case. There is much more that has been uncovered in the case and all of it shows that investigators and prosecutors have been dishonest about everything that happened not only to Teresa Halbach but also in the investigation and trials that ultimately cost the tax payers of Wisconsin over two million dollars.
Another interesting thing is that right after Making a Murderer debuted there were dozens of articles about “All the Evidence” left out of the documentary that proved Steven Avery was guilty. Six years later the public is still waiting for it to appear. Everything released shows that another wrongful conviction of Steven Avery occurred. One that also resulted in Brendan Dassey losing his freedom as well.
So again I ask the reader:
if someone is lying about where a crime occurred, how a crime occurred and why a crime occurred-why would anyone believe that they aren’t also lying about who they are saying committed the crime?
Especially when from the start of this investigation the Sheriff and the Prosecutor in charge of the investigation and trial are on record repeatedly lying about the participation of officers who were in the middle of being sued for intentionally wrongfully convicting the same guy before and getting caught?
In the six years since Making a Murderer debuted the world has learned many more things about this case and also it is clear that the state of Wisconsin cares very little about truth and justice. Two men sit in prison and a young woman is gone and the state of Wisconsin still pretends that there is nothing to see here...
I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and thank all the fellow researchers in the wrongful conviction advocacy community who thoughtlessly share their research with others.
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