Is Steven Avery guilty or innocent in the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach? Dean Strang, one of his lawyers featured in Netflix’s wildly popular docuseries Making a Murderer, put up a strong defense, but admitted during an appearance on CBS This Morning on Friday, January 15, that he has some doubts about the convict’s innocence.
“Sure, absolutely,” Strang replied when one of the hosts asked if he and co-counsel Jerry Buting think Avery could possibly be guilty. “And if it was OK to convict people on maybes, I wouldn’t be worried about this, but it’s not.”
But that’s not to say Strang is convinced the convict is guilty either. “I’m not convinced of his guilt. I’m not at all convinced of his guilt, never have been.”
As documented in the series, the two attorneys argued that Manitowoc County police in Wisconsin planted evidence to point the finger at Avery for Halbach’s death after he sued the sheriff’s department for his wrongful conviction in an earlier rape case. Avery was found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in 1985, but was released in 2003 after serving 18 years when DNA evidence exonerated him.
Since Netflix’s docuseries launched in December, several of the key players in the case have stepped forward to share their opinions, including sheriff Ken Petersen, who was the head of the police department during Avery’s murder trial.
“Police were fair,” Petersen said during an interview with Dr. Phil on Friday. “I have no reason to doubt the integrity of detectives Lenk or Colborn. … Prison is a good place for [Avery].”
Making a Murderer directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos also revealed earlier this month on the Today show that one of the jurors from the trial recently contacted them and said they believed Avery was framed by police. But not only that, “[the juror] told us that they were afraid that if they held out for a mistrial that it would be easy to identify which juror had done that, and that they were fearful for their own safety,” Demos said.
Avery has since filed an appeal for a new trial, arguing that there were violations of due process. On January 12, Kathleen Zellner, a Chicago-based attorney, announced that she would be representing him, and would be assisted by Tricia Bushnell, the legal director of the Midwest Innocence Project.
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