Tag Archives: series

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.


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.


  •  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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Pop Culture Mysteries: Case File #005 – Smeller vs. Denier

Pop Culture Mystery Question – When gas is passed, who is the culprit?  Is it, “he who smelt it, dealt it?” or “he who denied it, supplied it?”

Another dinner shift over.  Ms. Tsang’s employees cleared dishes and wiped down tables as my landlady took a seat in a corner booth and made with the typey type on her laptop beep boop machine.

I sauntered over with a bowl full of pork fried rice I pilfered from the kitchen.

“Pardon me ma’am, is this seat taken?”  I asked.

Ms. Tsang looked up at me through a pair of glasses.  She only used them for reading.


I shrugged my shoulders and sat down anyway.  My host noticed my eats.

“I should start running a tab,” she said as she returned her focus to the computer.

Susan Tsang, Hatcher's Niece/Unpaid Landlady

Susan Tsang, Hatcher’s Niece/Unpaid Landlady

On the wall, there was an extensive, elaborate painting of a Chinese dragon.  He was green with a red belly, long like a snake and had a set of dagger like teeth.  His face was angry and menacing, as if he was just itching to leap off the wall and attack the patrons.

“Your mother,” I said as I pointed at the dragon with my chopstick, “Hated that dragon.  Absolutely hated it.  She wanted to run a paint roller over the entire thing.  Said the customers couldn’t enjoy themselves when there was a beast on the wall that looked like it wanted to eat them.”

“Uh huh,”  Ms. Tsang said.  Whatever was on her screen, she was more interested in it than me.

“Your father wouldn’t budge though,”  I said.  “Your Great Uncle, the man who gave him his club in Hong Kong, had a dragon on the wall of his joint just like that one and Joe hired an artist to recreate it from a photo.  He said it brought him luck.”

“Yeah,” Ms. Tsang said.  “Well, if that ugly thing is lucky then I’m still waiting.”

I knew that was a reference to me but I didn’t say anything.  I didn’t blame her.  I wouldn’t want to take care of someone for decades the way she did for me.

“Can you explain this?”

Ms. Tsang turned around her laptop to show me what her peepers had been perusing.  It was none other than the Bookshelf Battle Blog, the official stomping grounds for my client, Mr. Bookshelf Q. Battler.

“Don’t stay on there too long,”  I said.  “If Battler gets another reader it’ll go to his head.”

That comment didn’t go over well.  Ms. Tsang was miffed.

“I love you, Jake.”

“Back at ya’ kiddo.”

“But I don’t think you have any idea what it was like to have a grown man sleeping upstairs for fifty-nine years.”

“I have a hunch.”

“Do you?”  Ms. Tsang asked.

I kicked back and enjoyed my free dinner as my niece/landlady enlightened me.

“While I was a kid it was kind of funny,” Ms. Tsang said.  “I’d go up to your office and poke you with a stick, sing songs to you, try to wake you up.”

“Surprised I didn’t wake up,” I said.  “You couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket as I recall.”

“Mom and Dad took care of you.  I remember they used to shave you.  Clip your fingernails.  They’d lay you out on your couch, strip you, give you a sponge bath, then dress you back up and put you in your desk chair.”

“Wowza,”  I said.  “Did they really?  Yikes, poor Joe and Evelyn staring at my man parts all those years.”

“Until they passed on,”  Ms. Tsang said.  “Then it all fell on me.”

My heart sunk.

“I’m sorry, kid.”

“Are you really?  Do you really think running this place is what I wanted to do with my life?”

“Why not?”  I asked.  “You do it so well.”

“I do a lot of things well,”  Ms. Tsang said.  “But running this place wasn’t what I wanted to do.”

“I know what you wanted to do,”  I said.  “I remember the little girl in the ballerina tutu.  You had moves, Susie, I’ll give you that.”

“I kept the restaurant going because I had no place else to put you.”

“You could have left me on the curb with the trash for all I care, sweetheart.  Sorry I was asleep.  I’d of told you that.”

“And it wasn’t like I could ever tell anyone,”  Ms. Tsang said.  “How do you explain to a boyfriend that there’s a stereotypical 1950’s hardboiled film noir style private detective complete with a trench coat and fedora sleeping permanently in your place of business, never aging at all?”

“Very awkwardly, I assume.”

“Or not at all,”  Ms. Tsang said.  “Dad told me about that man you made an enemy of in World War II.  He told me things could get very bad for you if anyone were to find out that you were in a defenseless state.”

“An accurate assessment,”  I said between bites of rice.

“So, I have a question.”

“I might have an answer.”

Ms. Tsang pointed to the screen, where BQB had posted his latest nonsense.  Something about being the best friend of a little green space man.  The guy was nuttier than a bag of cashews.

“Why are you flushing everything I did for you all those years down the drain?”

“Come again?”

“This blog,”  Ms. Tsang said.  “These stories you write for this Bookshelf Q. Battler idiot.  I hide you for decades and you turn around and announce to the entire world that you’re back?”

“‘The entire world’ is a bit of a stretch,”  I said.  “That site will get more than 3.5 readers when hell freezes over and the devil sponsors a snow man making contest.  I’m pretty sure I’m safe.”

“But you wrote about…”

Ms. Tsang looked around.  The floor was empty.  She leaned in over the table and whispered, “Operation Fuhrerpunschen.”

“So what?”

“Dad said you were sworn to secrecy!  I spent my entire life taking care of a sleepy gumshoe and now you’re daring the government to come haul you away!”

“Please,’  I said.  “Anyone involved in that mission is long gone.  Pushing up daisies and serving as an all you can eat buffet for earth worms.”

“What about the drinking?”

“What about it?”  I asked.

“You’d think six decades would have flushed that demon out of your system,”  Ms. Tsang said.  “But you’re half in the bag now more than ever.”

“What’s it to you?”

“What’s it to me?”  Ms. Tsang asked.

She stood up and waved a finger in my face.

“Now you listen to me, Jacob R. Hatcher.  You will TAKE this second chance at life that NO ONE EVER gets and you will do something worthwhile with it so I don’t end up wishing I’d of just fed your carcass to a pack of wolves, or I will NEVER speak to you again.”

I thought about it.

“Can I still drink?”


Ms. Tsang closed her laptop and stormed off.  She got halfway across the restaurant’s spacious dining room when Alan, her goofy looking busboy met her.

Allan died his hair dark black and wore eyeshadow.  Nose with more metal than a scrapyard.  I think he was one of those, what do you people call them?  Goths?

All I know is he was the most depressing kid I ever saw.

“Ms. Tsang” he said in a drab monotone, “This lady asked to come in but I told her we’re closed.”

The lady?

My colleague in the Pop Culture Mystery game, Ms. Delilah K. Donnelly, of course.

And she was dressed as snappily as I’d ever seen her.  A full length evening gown.  Blood red and lipstick to match.

“It’s ok Allan,”  Ms. Tsang said.  “Go punch out.”

Copyright Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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