Evidence brought to trial now involves Brendan Dassey’s brother
Last week, the defense attorney for Steven Avery – whose case came to worldwide attention following Netflix’s Making A Murderer series – submitted a new filing that implicates Brendan Dassey’s brother and Avery’s sister’s husband Scott Tadych as suspects in the murder case.
It brings new evidence to light in the murder of Teresa Halbach, a photographer whose charred remains were found in a fire pit near Avery’s home. Avery and his then-16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey were convicted of her murder that year. Brendan, who the series suggests was coerced into a confession, had his conviction overturned in 2016, but it was later upheld by a higher court in December 2017. Avery’s defense has continued to suggest Manitowoc County framed Avery for the crime, after he won a multi-million dollar lawsuit for wrongful sexual assault convictions and attempted murder in 1985.
As Rolling Stone reports, Avery’s attorney Kathleen Zellner submitted a 599-page filing to the Wisconsin Circuit Court asking to include fresh evidence in her client’s latest appeal. The new evidence includes a CD-rom with data from the Dassey family computer. Zellner claims it supports that Bobby Dassey, who was a key witness for the prosecution of his brother and uncle, lied in court. The CD-rom includes violent porn which shows women being tortured – Zellner claims the data shows it was accessed mainly when Bobby Dassey was the person at home (Brendan, a teenager, would have been at school), and highlights an interest in violence.
The request for a retrial was denied back in October 2017 before Zellner could submit this as evidence, but now, the Court of Appeals has ruled that it now must be considered. A decision must be made in the next 60 days by the Wisconsin Circuit Court judge on whether a retrial will take place.
Zellner claims that evidence from the laptop shows that Bobby Dassey accessed the internet several times on the morning he claimed to have been asleep until the afternoon, then seen Halbach before she died. This completely contradicts his first statement. The data also shows Dassey had folders labelled ‘DNA’ and ‘Halbach’, accessed at times the defense claims only Bobby would have been home.
A medical expert has also claimed that the scratch marks that were found on Bobby Dassey’s back days after Halbach’s disappearance – which he said was from his dog – were actually more like a human hand. The filing also includes information from another witness who claims he saw Halbach’s car parked near the property of Scott Tadych – Steven Avery’s sister’s husband. The filing claims he is an accomplice.
As detailed in the Netflix series, Steven Avery’s defense were not allowed to make the case for Bobby Dassey being a third-party suspect due to lack of evidence and absence of motive – this new information stands in opposition to this original claim.
Steven Avery himself also makes a claim in the filing: that Bobby Dassey knew and made several references to Halbach prior to her disappearance. Dassey previously claimed in court he had never seen her before. The defense for Avery also claims Dassey had access to the car where he was able to plant blood and frame him.
“The State had no real interest in outing Bobby’s perversions and obsession with dead female bodies – after all, they didn’t want the jury to see their star witness was a developing sexual psychopath,” Zellner said in a statement.
Zellner then claims that the evidence highlights that Avery’s sister Barbara may have hired someone to wipe the computer’s hard drive authorities were able to access it. “I ask myself what would motivate (Barbara) and Bobby to be such obstructionists and I have reached the inevitable conclusion, as our court filings state, that they were involved in the crime and Barb, was and is involved, even unwittingly, in its cover-up.”
As Rolling Stone reports, the overwhelming amount of new evidence brings up post-conviction issues that will force the court to reconsider and grant a new trial. Read more of their report here.