Let’s Talk Making a Murderer

Thanks Netflix.  Thanks a lot.

Got no work done this weekend, ended up binging on Making a Murderer instead.

SPOILERS!  SPOILERS!  SPOILERS!

Don’t read on if you haven’t watched it yet.  This post is meant to be a discussion for people who want to talk about the series…WHO HAVE ALREADY WATCHED IT!!!

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: I have no idea if any of the crap I am about to say is accurate.  I am just opining on the show.

So here we go.  BQB’s thoughts:

 The First Case – Penny Beernsten

So it’s clear Steven Avery is innocent here.  Testing that occurred years after his conviction due to advances in DNA testing methods indicated that the culprit was in fact Gregory Allen, a guy in the area who physically looked like Avery (same hair color, body type).

Allen, according to the documentary, had been known to local law enforcement, so much so that they kept him under surveillance.

Did the police act with malice?  (i.e. did they intentionally try to put Avery behind bars because they didn’t like him?)

There was the argument that one of the deputies was friends with a woman that Avery had run off the road and so on.

Personally, I think the issue might have been more about negligence – i.e. they found a suspect, they made it stick, and it was just too much of a pain in the ass hassle to go after someone else.

Is negligence better?  Well, it’s not great, and it thoroughly sucks that someone was wrongfully convicted.

At any rate, its impossible to deny the wrongful conviction.  The court set the conviction aside, Avery was released, even the victim acknowledged the mistake.

The Second Case – Teresa Halbach

A tougher case.

First, as the documentary starts to get into it, your gut begins to tell you maybe something’s up.  What are the odds of a guy wrongfully convicted of a crime being accused of another major crime?

  • Avery had become a public hero and a symbol for a justice reform.
  • The state legislature had been in the process of working on a bill that would compensate him $450,000.
  • A civil case was underway that’d likely have gotten him millions.

BUT…as much as the wrongful conviction sucks…people who have had sucky things happen to them don’t get a free pass or an excuse to commit a terrible crime.

In other words, your gut, or at least mine, began to tell me to keep an open mind on both sides:

  • Yes, it is odd a wrongfully convicted person got convicted again but…
  • It isn’t impossible for someone to be not guilty of a first crime and then be guilty of a second crime.

The Frame Defense

Hmmm.  This was a tough one.

This is where some may disagree with me but…

I don’t believe the officers framed Steven Avery.

Why?

  •  You see a hole in Avery’s blood vial from his first case.  You, like Buting, start to think, “Oh well, maybe that could have been used to put Avery’s blood in Teresa’s RAV4.”
  • OK…BUT – what about the fire pit with all the bone fragments?  And the barrels with all the bone fragments?

Someone tell me if I’m wrong but for the police to have framed Avery, they would have had to…

  • Dig into Avery’s life until they discovered that a photographer for Auto Trader was coming to the Avery property on a regular basis to take car photos.
  • Kill her.
  • Plant Avery’s blood in the car
  • Dump her car on the Avery property without the Averys noticing.
  • Burn her body somewhere else but then scatter bone fragments in a pit and in barrels on the Avery property, AGAIN without the Averys noticing.
  • Plant Avery’s DNA on the car key and plant it in Avery’s room.

BUT – Could someone else have killed Teresa and the police just took advantage to railroad a guy they didn’t like?

In my opinion, where the “Frame Defense” gets weak is the bone fragments.

Did the police have access to Avery’s blood? Yes. However, the FBI did run a test that showed some of the blood in the car did not have the testing chemical that would have been in the stored blood sample.

But ok.  Say you still think they planted the blood in the car.

How did the bone fragments get onto the property then???

I think if you accuse the cops of planting the blood, then you practically have to accuse them of planting the bone fragments too because if Avery didn’t do it then how else would the bone fragments have gotten there?

You could argue well some mysterious other murderer did it, then dumped the car and the fragments on the Avery property and then the cops were like “Yahoo!  We hate Avery so lets plant some shit to make this stick” but between accusations of cops planting a RAV4, putting blood in the RAV4 and then ANOTHER party dumping bones and making it look like a burning took place in the back yard…

…well, with all that happening I have to feel like the Averys might have noticed.

Was there a civil case?  Yes?   Were two cops deposed?  Yes?  Does that mean they’d go to the lengths of framing a guy?  I find that doubtful.  Cops, public officials, office holders, etc are sued all the time.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t envision cops being worried about a lawsuit enough that they’d frame a guy, plant evidence and somehow manage to either sprinkle the victims bones on the Avery property or benefit from some mysterious evildoer who did so.

So what the hell happened?

What made us all agree Avery was off the hook in the first case was the identification of another perpetrator.

Here, no other alternate suspect was found.

Brendan Dassey

Well, here’s where the case gets really complicated.  There’s another suspect and I suppose that means there’s room for theories that a) Avery did it and the nephew’s just a sap that got roped into it b) They did it together as the state alleged or c) maybe the nephew did it and Steven didn’t and well…while never Steven or Brendan came across as rocket scientists, I’m not sure Brendan could have pulled this all off on his lonesome.

The confessions are troubling.  Perhaps there should be a rule that kinds under 18 should always have a lawyer present during police questioning no matter what.

As a cautionary tale, if you’re a parent and your kid gets charged with something, insist you be there for any interviews and insist a lawyer is there too.

As for – is Brendan innocent?  I mean, he made statements he did it, and that he didn’t do it. He was clearly, for lack of a better description, not the brightest bulb, so yeah, he was probably manipulated into confessing and certainly the part where his own lawyer’s investigator is badgering him into confessing is troubling.

From the documentary itself, just as a pure question of whether or not he did it, I can’t tell.  What makes it hard for me is at one point he tells his mom something like he had to because Steven was stronger than him and then at another point he tells his mom basically that he just said what the cops wanted him to say.

In other words, in a very cloudy mind, his statements to his mother seem to provide the most insight into his head, and he made conflicting statements to his mother.

So who did it?

I think the bones on the property is the piece of info I can’t get away from.    The RAV4 on the property, the key in the room, the bullet in the garage, explain them all away but I just fail to see how the bones could have gotten there otherwise.

Does the documentary reveal a lot of things that law enforcement can do better? Yes.

But…absent evidence that someone carted a bunch of bones and spread them around Avery’s backyard, my gut tells me he did it.

Anyway, keep in mind I’m no expert and I’m just shooting my mouth off on a series.  Don’t take anything I wrote above to be accurate or correct.  Watch it yourself.

What are your thoughts?

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12 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Making a Murderer

  1. MBBlissett says:

    They fitted him up. He’s a man who doesn’t wear underwear but somehow he manages to professionally remove any trace of the victim from his apartment. The Sheriffs department, the DA would have been personally liable for up to $38 million and potential investigations into the actions of the individuals. The key phrase was that the police are not interested in the truth, but in gaining convictions. At the absolute least, there was a singular failure to establish a reasonable notion of guilt. That’s just for Avery.
    Brendan was guided and coerced, led through a confession that was carried out by the defence’s own investigator. Procedurally alone, these cases do not pass muster, and even with the additional evidence that was not featured, it stinks to high heaven.

    • Doesn’t really matter whether or not she was in the apartment. Well, I suppose it does matter for Brendan since his “confession” was that it happened in the apartment but all in all, for Avery, it just means she was killed elsewhere on the property.

      Sorry, but the bones are what do it for me. When the only 2 possible scenarios are that Avery did it and then burned the body in the back yard, or the police killed a woman and spread her bones around the back yard…it just seems the only logical way those bones got there is someone who lives there killed her.

      To most people, a $38 million lawsuit is something to worry about. Honestly, I do not believe the cops cared. The state already cleared them of any wrongdoing in the first case and that means if there’s a declaration from their employer they did nothing wrong, then their employer, i.e. the government is on the hook financially. Cops get sued all the time. Part of the job. The state always, always, always picks up the tab. The police union would have made sure of that. Plus, the case would likely have been tied up in appeals for years. The cops personally never would have paid a penny.

      It does suck what happened to him the first time, the second time though…to think him innocent I’m asked to believe that cops killed a woman, brought an SUV onto his property and hid it, then planted his blood in the SUV, then spread her bones in the backyard and hid a bullet with the woman’s DNA on it in the garage and planted a key in Avery’s bedroom…

      The other news that’s come out is that in the trial, it was revealed that Avery’s sweat was found on a latch under the SUV’s hood. So the police carry vials of Avery’s sweat around too? After watching 10 episodes, I feel the documentary creators were a bit dishonest for leaving that part out.

      I do think mistakes were made. The chief one is the cops involved in the first case, had they stayed out of the second case, they’d of been able to steer clear of being accused of wrongdoing.

      The Brendan case is more of the problem and perhaps it shines light on a need for lawyers to be present when kids are interviewed. It looks like his first lawyer screwed him on this one.

      • MBBlissett says:

        I learned my approach if I were ever called in for questioning, innocent or not. The only thing I will say is to ask for a lawyer. And only that.
        I am prepared to be wrong on almost everything, but if you posit cui bono (who profits) and then look at how the case was put together, then it raises some disturbing questions.
        In all fairness, I do need to watch it again. Either way, someone is dead and there’s a possibility that Brendan was talked into a confession. Hell of a documentary, though. It’s got people talking.

      • Yeah, I’m not saying mistakes didn’t happen. But, after reading more about the case though, I’m disappointed in the documentary makers. Some more things they left out:

        The bullet not only had Halbach’s DNA on it, it was also traced to a gun Avery owned. So the cops would have had to have gotten a hold of Avery’s gun, shot Teresa with it, then put the gun back.

        The cops found leg irons and restraints in the search.

        Avery called Auto Trader to specifically request Teresa be the photographer, then called her cell phone three times that day.

        I don’t know. Here’s a list of what was left out. I’d of just preferred that the documentary makers included that and offered their explanation as to why it doesn’t matter rather than leave it out entirely.

        It does suck what happened in the first case, perhaps one could even argue that the first case turned him into a monster, but as for the second case, there just would have had to have been a massive unbelievable conspiracy amongst multiple people.

        http://thefederalist.com/2016/01/06/making-a-murderer-subject-steven-avery-is-guilty-as-hell/

      • MBBlissett says:

        we never know the whole truth, which is why jury duty is so important. The presumption of innocence, the presentation of evidence are all ways to keep us from descending into chaos. There needs to be reform in several areas but regardless, it was entertaining and thought provoking. All creative acts are those of inclusion and exclusion and documentaries are no exception. I’m just grateful it’s not me or anyone I know.

      • Yeah there’s definitely problems in every system. Criminal justice system, health care system, whatever system. All we can do is do our best to stay healthy and keep out of trouble because once you’re stuck in the bureaucracy its a tough place where no one knows what’s going on.

        Thanks for stopping by! Feel free anytime.

      • MBBlissett says:

        I enjoyed this. Most systems are designed by people who never use them which is why they don’t work too well.

  2. Barb Knowles says:

    I’m clicking like because I like your blog in general. However, I haven’t watched this yet so thank you for the spoiler alert! Ill read your post after I’ve watched the show.

  3. Glad you finished it. Lots of food for thought but I agree with your analysis. I’m hoping to work on my post on this today.

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