Steven Avery's second plea for a new trial was denied by an appeals court on Wednesday, delivering another setback to the subject of the famous Netflix documentary series "Making a Murderer."
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals dismissed his request for a hearing to evaluate new evidence in preparation for a potential new trial in the high-profile case, which garnered national attention after the controversial show raised concerns about Avery's and Brendan Dassey's guilt. For the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, both are receiving life sentences.
Steven Avery's legal team challenges the jury's verdict
In connection with Halbach's death in 2007, Avery was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and sentenced to life in prison. Brendan Dassey, his nephew, was also found guilty of Halbach's murder. Throughout the 14 years after Avery's conviction, his legal team has been challenging the jury's verdict, as per Newsweek via MSN.
According to a Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruling issued Wednesday, Avery's demands were insufficient on their face to entitle him to a hearing, and the circuit court did not erroneously use its discretion in refusing the motions to vacate and reconsider.
According to the court, in the years following his conviction, Avery has given a range of different theories about who else may have been responsible for Halbach's killing. However, the court stated that the request his legal team submitted, upon which the court was giving its decision, was missing specific vital components.
Per Daily Mail, the documentary raised doubts about Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, being convicted of Halbach's murder. Because Avery was appealing the lower court's denial of a request for a new trial without having an evidentiary hearing, the appeals court's inquiry was mere whether a hearing was needed, according to the decision. It concluded that the lower court made the proper decision in rejecting the request for a new trial without a hearing.
The series sparked speculation regarding the pair's innocence. Still, many who worked on the cases accused the filmmakers of omitting significant evidence and portraying a skewed version of events. The filmmakers defended their work and backed demands for Avery and Dassey's release.
Netflix's 'Making a Murderer' gained international attention
Dassey admitted to investigators at the age of 16 that he assisted his uncle in raping and killing Halbach at the Avery family's salvage yard. In 2016, a court overturned the confession, saying that it was forced by detectives using misleading techniques. A federal appeals court eventually reversed the decision, and the United States Supreme Court declined to consider his case.
Before DNA evidence exonerated Avery, he had spent 18 years in jail for a separate crime. He launched a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against his conviction after his release, but he was apprehended in 2005 and convicted of Halbach's murder while the case was still underway.
After the Netflix documentary hit "Making a Murderer" in 2015 raised concerns about whether Avery and his fellow life-sentenced nephew Brendan Dassey were unjustly convicted, the story gained international attention. Teresa's remains were allegedly discovered in a burn pit on Avery's property, according to cops.
The legal setback occurred only weeks after Avery's mother, Dolores, passed away. Despite their convictions in court, the mother never changed her belief in Steven and Brendon's innocence.
Avery's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, even launched a campaign to have his case re-examined in 2016, claiming that his rights was violated and that investigators overstepped when they obtained evidence that went much beyond the scope of their search warrant. The 83-year-old mother was without contact with her jailed son for months and was allegedly suffering from dementia and in hospice care when she died.
The struggle for Avery's release appears to be ongoing. In an attempt to get a new trial, Avery's defense team indicated a witness named Bobby Dassey, who was purportedly seen pushing Halbach's vehicle. While the documents imply the potentially exculpatory evidence might be evaluated on its own, the court wants to know why the evidence has not been submitted until now, The Sun reported.