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Steven Avery Murder Case

Date Saturday - January 16, 2016
Host Dave Schrader
Guests Michael GriesbachDan O'DonnellJohn A. Cameron

The Netflix documentary series, Making a Murderer, recounts the story of Steven Avery, a man from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, who was imprisoned for 18 years for the sexual assault and attempted murder of a Wisconsin woman. Avery was later exonerated of that crime, only to be subsequently convicted of the murder of Teresa Halbach.

Wisconsin county prosecuting attorney Michael Griesback joined host Dave Schrader (email) in the first three hours to discuss the latest developments in the Avery murder case (Related Link). Griesback provided background on the wrongful conviction of Steven Avery for first-degree sexual assault, attempted first degree murder, and false imprisonment of Penny Beerntsen. "They knew who the real assailant was within a couple days of arresting the wrong one but they didn't care," Griesback said, noting how the victim had been manipulated into picking out Avery. DNA evidence eventually exonerated Avery of this crime, he added.

Griesback next detailed the case against Avery for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, who went missing on October 31, 2005, after photographing Avery's sister's minivan for a sales ad in Auto Trader Magazine. Halbach's Toyota Rav 4 was found concealed on edge of Avery's Auto Salvage, and police dogs hit on a fire pit by Avery's house where her remains were found, he reported. Griesback pointed out how Avery concealed his phone number and misidentified himself as a woman when he asked Halbach to come to the property—details curiously left out of Making a Murderer. He acknowledged some of the troubling issues raised in the documentary, including Brendan Dassey's confession and the lack of blood evidence in the garage. Despite how the Manitowoc County police handled the Avery sexual assault case, Griesback does not believe they planted any evidence to frame him for Halbach's murder.

Journalist Dan O’Donnell joined in the third hour to report on the evidence that convinced him of Avery's guilt (Related Link). After watching all four hours of Dassey's confession O'Donnell does not think he was coerced, as presented in Making a Murderer. "[Dassey is] giving very incriminating details unprompted and unprovoked at every step of the way for a good hour here," he explained. Some details, such as the murder taking place in the garage, were things no one knew at the time and were corroborated when a bullet with Halbach's DNA was found, he added. O'Donnell reported on DNA evidence matching Avery found under the hood of Halbach's vehicle—yet another detail left out of the documentary. "I believe it is unreasonable to assume that there was a conspiracy and there was evidence planting," he said.

In the final hour of the program, retired police detective John Cameron revealed how notorious serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards is tied to the Avery case.Edwards was caught for the first time in 2009 in Jefferson, Wisconsin, and confessed to kidnapping, raping, killing, and planting the bodies of victims in the area, Cameron reported. Edwards would travel to a city under an assumed identity, stage a horrific murder, frame someone close to the victim, and watch the system execute them, he disclosed. According to Cameron, Edwards has framed at least three dozen others like he set up Avery. He noted how Edwards killed on Halloween (day Halbach went missing) and shot victims in the head (location of Halbach's fatal injury). "The whole reason that Ed Edwards chose Steve Avery to set up was because he was all over the press, and because of his name, and he had been wrongfully convicted," he said.

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