‘Making a Murderer’ Subject Brendan Dassey’s Confession Was Coerced, Federal Appeals Panel Rules

In the clear … for now. A three-judge federal panel in Chicago ruled on Thursday, June 22, that the Brendan Dassey, a defendant featured in the Netflix series Making a Murderer, was coerced into confessing to his crimes, according to Reuters.

Brendan Dassey Making a Murderer
Brendan Dassey on ‘Making a Murderer’ Netflix

The panel voted 2-1 to uphold a federal judge’s August 2016 ruling to overturn Dassey’s murder conviction. At the time, Judge Willian Duffin ruled that Dassey, a 16-year-old with a learning disability at the time of his conviction, was to be released in November. Dassey’s release was delayed as Wisconsin authorities appealed Duffin’s decision.

Dean Strang, Jerry Buting and Steven Avery Making a Murderer
Dean Strang, Jerry Buting and Steven Avery on ‘Making a Murderer’ Netflix

Dassey, 27, was found guilty of first-degree murder and second degree sexual assault, and sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for his alleged involvement in photographer Teresa Halbach’s death two years prior. While being questioned during the investigation, the Wisconsin native admitted to detectives that he had helped his uncle Steve Avery, the focus of Making a Murderer, rape and kill Halbach at the family’s home on Halloween night. Avery, 54, was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 without the possibility of parol.

According to Reuters, the federal panel has ordered that Dassey be released unless Wisconsin opts to retry the case or appeal the ruling within 90 days.

Netflix announced last July that the Emmy-winning docuseries would be getting a second season. 

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