Murderer, martyr and madness. HLN host Nancy Grace faced off against Donnie Wahlberg over Netflix's controversial, headline-making true crime docuseries Making a Murderer on her program on Monday, January 11.
Wahlberg, 46, penned an editorial last week for the Chicago Sun-Times about the buzzworthy program — which tells the story of Steven Avery, who was allegedly wrongfully convicted in the murder of Teresa Halbach — and warned viewers to consider that Making a Murderer only presents one side of the argument. In fact, Wahlberg argued that Avery's case was reminiscent of another high-profile '90s trial: O.J. Simpson v. the People. The Blue Bloods actor also controversially defended Avery's nephew Brendan Dassey, who allegedly assisted in the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach.
"Brendan Dassey . . . may deserve a petition," Wahlberg wrote. "He may be the second biggest victim in all of this, after Ms. Halbach. A victim of unfair treatment by law enforcement, given his mental issues. A victim of his uncle, Steven Avery — a man who was too busy being a martyr, to protect his own nephew."
Grace, 56, who was featured in the 10-part docuseries, took issue with Wahlberg's op-ed. "Everybody says [Dassey] was forced into a confession? BS!" she railed against the New Kids on the Block singer on her program. "He raped Teresa Halbach. He is not a victim!"
Wahlberg replied: "The one thing that's important to remember in all this hullabaloo about the case is that nobody is remembering the true victim in this is Teresa Halbach . . . If his uncle brought [Dassey] over to engage in this horrific thing, then his uncle is victimizing him."
"He chose to rape the woman: Teresa Halbach," Grace replied incredulously.
Avery is currently serving a life sentence in prison, while Dassey is eligible for parole in 2048. Avery has maintained his innocence since his arrest and conviction. Both he and Dassey are currently state prisoners under Wisconsin's authority. The governor of the state, Scott Walker, has previously said that he will not pardon the men.
Meanwhile, multiple petitions calling for their release have garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures. The White House released a statement last Thursday, January 7, saying it does not have the authority to pardon state prisoners.
Grace and Wahlberg continued to engage in intense debate about the issue. "Oh, honey, when you get in that chair? It's on!" Grace said to her guest.
They later made peace off-camera: Both tweeted their love and respect for each other on Monday.
Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!