This town is talking. The locals of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, reacted to Netflix’s smash docuseries Making a Murderer and the theory presented that the local sheriff’s department allegedly planted evidence to frame Steven Avery in the 2005 murder case of Teresa Halbach.
“We lived through this 10 years ago,” Manitowoc Area Visitor and Convention Bureau president Jason Ring told The New York Times in a new piece published Thursday, January 28. “We made our judgment, and the trial came to an end, and locally most people were in support of that.”
According to the tourism bureau chief, the renewed interest in the case (after the 10-part Netflix series was released in full in December) is problematic. “Now it’s back — by no choosing or no doing of anyone in this community,” Ring continued. “So that’s the first point of injustice: that we have to live through it again.”
New York Times Chicago Bureau Chief Monica Davey, who wrote the piece, said many of the local townspeople avoided her once they saw her notebook. The mayor of Manitowoc County also declined an interview, as well as many local business owners.
“One said she had read online about a call for a protest in the town, and she was worried about safety,” Davey wrote. However, a local woman was willing to go on the record and speak for the community.
“Look, we lived this whole thing like a juror,” Suszanne Fox told the Times. “He was guilty as sin.”
Davey also spoke to current Manitowoc County Sheriff Robert C. Hermann, who was the undersheriff to Ken Petersen during the Avery case back in 2005. “It’s not how Manitowoc wants to be put on the map,” Hermann told the paper.
Making a Murderer’s filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos have previously defended their controversial series. Both underestimated its popularity. “We have empathy for Manitowoc because we know that people have been reaching out in unkind ways and posting things about the city and the county,” Ricciardi said. “That’s an unfortunate response, because we have always wanted the series to be constructive, not destructive.”
Since the series’ release, Avery’s former fiancées, Jodi Stachowski and Sandy Greenman, have spoken out regarding the case. Stachowski told Nancy Grace in an interview that she believes that he is, in fact, guilty of murdering Halbach, while Greenman claims he’s innocent.
In a bizarre handwritten letter from prison, Avery wrote to the local ABC affiliate: “How much money Jodi get to talk bad! The state $.”
Hundreds of thousands of viewers signed petitions to pardon Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey. Avery filed a plea several weeks ago with his new legal team.