Tag Archives: true crime

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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Movie Review – Black Mass (2015)

All is forgiven for Mortdecai, Johnny.  All is forgiven.

I’d announce SPOILERS though all this stuff actually happened!  BQB here with a review of Black Mass.

“If nobody sees it, then it didn’t happen.”

So goes the advice of infamous Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to his young son after he got in trouble for punching another kid at school.  It’s a line delivered so eerily that it sets the whole tone of the movie.

It gives the viewer insight into just the kind of guy Whitey is.  Most parents would tell their kid not to punch anyone.  Whitey tells his to just make sure no one’s looking before he punches someone the next time.

Step aside Tony Soprano, as this true crime gangster flick shows  Whitey as one cold, calculating sociopathic serial killer, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake during his tenure as the boss of an organized crime family known as the Winter Hill Gang in South Boston from the 1970s to the 1990’s.

I was a fan of The Sopranos and the ongoing theme of that show was that Tony often felt bad about his crimes.  Of course, that didn’t stop him from being a murderer, but after the dirty deed, he’d feel bad, overeat, not sleep and walk around in his bathrobe and get so depressed that he’d need to go spill his guts to his confidant/ shrink Dr. Melfi.

Whitey, on the other hand – SPOILER – is able to strangle a hooker then take a nap and have dinner afterwards.

In one of the saddest turn of events in modern law enforcement history, FBI agent John Connolly struck a deal to use Bulger as an informant, but as we see in the movie, John becomes less concerned about justice and more about helping Whitey, his childhood friend, not to mention getting some extra gifts on the side.

Meanwhile, Whitey plays the FBI like a fiddle.  He gives them info needed to take down a rival Italian crime family moving in on his turf, but after that, pretty much feeds them bupkis.

If this sounds familiar, you might recall 2006’s The Departed, which was somewhat based on Whitey’s reign of terror.

I’ve always felt The Departed was one of the best gangster flicks I’ve ever seen and this one does meet it.

Johnny Depp solidifies his reputation as an actor who can become anyone.  He plays the ruthless yet somewhat quiet Whitey to a T and is barely recognizable on screen.

To complicate matters, Whitey’s brother was William Bulger, President of the Massachusetts Senate.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the South Boston politician well, delivering a powerful speech about how he’ll drive crime out of South Boston just as St. Patrick drove the Romans and British out of Ireland.

Ironic, given who his brother was.

What did William know about his brother, when, and what was his involvement?  Those are questions left on the table, though the film takes the standpoint that Billy basically suffered from being tied to a degenerate brother.

Can’t pick your family I guess.

Joel Edgerton turns in an excellent performance as Connolly, the fast talking Fed who always has a comeback ready to explain to his boss (played by Kevin Bacon) as to why Whitey’s being allowed to jerk the FBI around for his own personal gain.

Jesse Plemons (aka Creepy Todd from Breaking Bad) plays another creep, Whitey’s associate Kevin Weeks.  Poor Jesse’s stuck playing creeps I guess.

Adam Scott (known for comedic roles such as his part as Leslie Knope’s husband, Ben Wyatt on Parks and Rec) makes his first notable foray into drama as a Fed who’s suspicious of Connolly.

Overall, it’s a solid cast.  I could go into more detail, but I’d end up giving the rest of the story away.

Did Whitey win?  If you’re a news watcher, you know he went on the lam in the 1990’s after being tipped off by Connolly to an impending arrest, only to be caught in Santa Monica in 2011.

You might say justice was finally found.  Then again, Whitey was in his 80’s when he was nabbed so, he did get to live out his retirement years.

This is one of the first major Oscar contenders of the year and cements Depp as one of the greatest actors of our time.

If he takes home a gold statue for this, he will have earned it.

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