Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared that he would not issue a pardon for Steven Avery, the man in the case dramatized in Netflix's "Making a Murderer," despite the existence of two online petitions that have already surpassed the required amount of signatures needed to be addressed.
Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey are serving life sentences for the 2005 murder of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach, a photographer whose charred remains and vehicle were found outside his home in Manitowoc County, Wis., according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Avery and his supporters claim he was framed by local authorities to silence him after he was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault. The 10-episode documentary covers the timeline leading up to the "questionable" circumstances of his most recent conviction. Two years after DNA evidence exonerated him in 2003, he pursued a $36 million dollar lawsuit against those behind his conviction, however, just as he was making progress on that front, he was arrested for Halbach's murder and convicted in 2007.
To add insult to injury, due to the murder allegations and the fact that a jury likely wouldn't hand over $36 million to a murder suspect, Avery was forced to settle the lawsuit for $400,000, which meant that he would dismiss all claims of wrongdoing against the county. That sum was used to pay for his defense in the murder trial.
Walker's spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said that the former Republican presidential candidate would not issue a pardon, citing the fact that he made it clear soon after taking office that he wouldn't issue any pardons during his term, adding that he hasn't seen the documentary.
"These events took place before Governor Walker took office. Governor Walker has not watched this documentary," press secretary Laurel Patrick said in an email Tuesday, according to the Huffington Post. "As you may know, early in his administration, Governor Walker made the decision not to issue pardons."
A Whitehouse.gov petition was created in an attempt to have President Barack Obama pardon both Avery and Dassey. It has 116,232 signatures, well above the 100,000 signatures needed by Jan. 19 before it can be addressed by the administration. However, the president in has no authority to issue pardons in state cases, thus making Walker the only official who would be able to issue a pardon.
A Change.org petition was also created which has 312,679 signatures, surpassing the 300,000 needed before it can be addressed. Despite that, Patrick made it clear that Walker will have nothing to do with it.
"Those who feel they have been wrongly convicted can seek to have their convictions overturned by a higher court," she added.
Her suggestion comes four years after a state appeals court denied Avery's last request for a new trial.