Netflix’s “Making a Murder” continues to attract more and more attention as people discover the series and learn about the Wisconsin murder of Teresa Halbach in 2005.
If you haven't seen the 10-episode docuseries yet, you may want to stop reading and watch the full story first to avoid any spoilers.
After an engrossing and at-times frustrating 10-episodes, the documentary ends with both Steven Avery and his learning-impaired 16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide.
But because the documentary contains seemingly corrupt authority figures, potentially planted evidence, and an arguably coerced confession, many viewers now are not convinced of either man’s guilt.
Ken Kratz, the original former prosecutor in the case, told the New York Times however that Avery “is exactly where he needs to be.”
Kratz and other Manitowoc County figures such as the current Sheriff Robert Hermann have been vocal after the Netflix documentary aired in December, citing evidence that was left out which they believe points unequivocally to Avery’s guilt.
We rounded up all of the reasons why they still believe Avery is guilty — and what they say was left out of “Making a Murderer.”
The cat killing incident was more gruesome than filmmakers made it seem.
“Avery’s past incident with a cat was not ‘goofing around,’” Kratz wrote in an email sent to media outlets as well as Reddit users. “He soaked his cat in gasoline or oil, and put it on a fire to watch it suffer.”
The soaking his cat in gasoline or oil was also reported by the Associated Press back in 2005: “[Avery’s probation] was revoked in 1982 after he was charged with animal cruelty for pouring gasoline on a cat and throwing it into a bonfire.”
Though this incident is in the documentary, filmmakers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi included a voiceover from Avery that it was a “mistake” and he and his friends were “fooling around.”
“Another mistake I did, I had a bunch of friends over and we were fooling around with the cat and, I don’t know, they were kind of negging [sic] it on,” viewers heard him say in the first episode. “I tossed him over the fire and he lit up. You know, it was the family cat. I was young and stupid and hanging around with the wrong people.”
Avery allegedly planned to build a ‘torture chamber’ after he was released from prison.
“While in prison, Avery told his cell mate of his intent to build a ‘torture chamber’ so he could rape, torture, and kill young women when he was released,” Kratz said in the email. “He even drew a diagram. His other cell mate was told by Avery that the way to get rid of a body is to ‘burn it’…heat destroys DNA.”
This shell-shocking assertion was included in additional charges filed by Kratz back in 2005 and allegedly comes from “prisoners who served time with Avery at Green Bay Correctional Institution,” according to an article from the Appleton Post Crescent.
“They said Avery talked about and showed them diagrams of a torture chamber he planned to build when he was released,” the report said.
Halbach was ‘creeped out’ by Avery.
“On October 10 , Teresa had been to the property when Steven answered the door just wearing a towel,” Kratz wrote in the email. “She would not go back because she was scared of him (obviously).”
This incident was reported at the time by The Chippewa Herald when Manitowoc County Circuit Judge Patrick Willis would not allow this evidence into trial.
The story came from Dawn Pliszka, an Auto Trader receptionist at the time, but it went a little differently than how Kratz describes it:
“She had stated to me that he had come out in a towel,’’ Pliszka said. “I just said, ‘Really?’ and then she said, ‘Yeah,’ and laughed and said kinda ‘Ew.’’’
Willis did not allow the testimony because “the date wasn’t clear and few details were known about the alleged encounter,” according to The Chippewa Herald.
Avery used a ‘fake name’ when he booked Halbach to take pictures of the car.
Halbach was a photographer for AutoTrader Magazine. Her job was to go take pictures of a car someone wanted to sell, and she had previously worked with Avery in the past.
Kratz said in the email that Avery specifically requested “that same girl who was here last time” when he booked the appointment and put the appointment under his sister’s name Barb Janda in order to “trick” Halbach into returning.
AutoTrader receptionist Pliszka testified during the trial that Avery did specifically ask for Halbach, according to the Associated Press.
As for the “fake” name, the documentary revealed the car was Janda’s car, so it would stand to reason her name would be on the bill of sale.
Avery called Halbach using *67 to hide his number.
“Phone records show three calls from Avery to Teresa’s cell phone on October 31 ,” Kratz said in the email. “One at 2:24 p.m., and one at 2:35 p.m. — both calls Avery uses the *67 feature so Teresa doesn’t know it him [sic]…both placed before she arrives. Then one last call at 4:35 p.m., without the *67 feature.”
“Avery first believes he can simply say she never showed up so tries to establish the alibi call after she’s already tied up in his trailer, hence the 4:35 p.m. call,” Kratz continues. “She will never answer of course, so he doesn’t need the *67 feature.”
Conjecture over why Avery used *67 aside, this evidence was a part of Avery’s trial testimony from a wireless telephone company technician, according to a 2007 Associated Press article.
The contents of Halbach’s purse were found in a barrel close to Avery’s property.
“Teresa’s phone, camera, and PDA were found 20 feet from Avery’s door, burned in his barrel,” Kratz said in his email. “Why did the documentary not tell the viewers the contents of her purse were in his burn barrel, north of his front door.”
Kratz doubled down on this assertion in an interview with Maxim: “Teresa’s phone, camera and [other contents of her purse] were found 20 feet from Avery's door, burned in his barrel...Two people saw him putting that stuff in there. This isn’t contested. It was all presented as evidence at the jury trial, and the documentary people don’t tell you that.”
Though Tech Insider doesn’t currently have access to Avery’s court documents to check the veracity of this statement, Manitowoc County’s current sheriff Robert Hermann remembers this evidence as well.
”In the burning barrel, the cell phone and several other things of Teresa Halbach were found in the barrel, burnt," Hermann told The Hollywood Reporter. "A camera, I believe, and a cell phone.”
Teresa’s tooth, a rivet from her jeans, and more were found in Avery’s fire pit.
“Also found in the fire pit was Teresa’s tooth (ID’d through dental records), a rivet from the ‘Daisey Fuentes’ jeans she was wearing that day, and the tools used by Avery to chop up her bones during the fire,” Kratz said in his email.
Though these tools to dismember her body are never mentioned, Kratz does discuss Teresa’s tooth and rivets from her jeans at Brendan Dassey’s trial.
“You’re going to hear that the five of those six rivets were recovered from the burn area right behind Steven’s garage,” Kratz said in his opening statement. “Teresa tooth No. 31, one of the back teeth on the left side of her jaw, was recovered from the bone area.”
Halbach’s bones were “intertwined” with the tires Avery threw on the fire to burn.
“Her bones in the fire pit were ‘intertwined’ with the steel belts, left over from the car tires Avery threw on the fire to burn, as described by Dassey,” Kratz wrote in the email. “That was where her bones were burned!”
This is significant because the documentary discusses two other possible burn sites in addition to Avery’s bonfire location. His defense counsel argued the bones were most likely moved from one of these burn sites in order to frame Avery.
Kratz said to People Magazine the evidence “suggesting that some human bones found elsewhere – never identified as Teresa's – were from this murder was never established [sic].”
Because we don’t have access to Avery’s full trial transcript, there’s no way to verify Kratz’s statement. However, a 2005 Wisconsin State Journal article reported, "Investigators also said in the court documents that they found steel belts of about six tires that were used as fire accelerants. They also found a number of 5-gallon buckets that appeared to have been used to distribute burned remains."
Avery’s DNA was found under the hood of Halbach’s car.
AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool
Both at the trial and in the documentary, a lot of emphasis is placed on Avery's blood, which was found in Halbach's car. Avery's legal team argued the blood could have been planted there by police officers in an effort to frame Avery while the prosecution insisted it was from an open cut on Avery’s hand.
Kratz argues in the email, however, it’s Avery’s DNA from his sweat — not his blood — that was found under the hood of her SUV.
"How did his DNA get under the hood if Avery never touched her car? Do the cops have a vial of Avery's sweat?" Kratz said to People. “That is completely inconsistent with any kind of planting,” he later told the New York Times.
Dean Strang, one of Avery's defense attorneys during the trial, told The New York Times that the DNA found on the latch was never actually confirmed as sweat and that it still doesn’t mean Avery touched the car.
Read more about the theory here.
Ballistics said the bullet with Halbach’s DNA was fired by Avery’s rifle.
In Avery’s garage, police found a bullet that had Halbach’s DNA on it. Kratz said in the email the ballistics proved the bullet was shot from Avery’s rifle that police had confiscated back when they first searched the property.
“Ballistics said the bullet found in the garage was fired by Avery’s rifle, which was in a police evidence locker since [November] 6 ,” he wrote. “If the cops planted the bullet, how did they get one fired from his gun?”
Avery’s former defense attorney Strang did not deny the ballistics report, but told The Times that bullet fragments were found all over the Avery Salvage Yard property where the family often shot guns.
Strang also told The Times that Halbach’s DNA on the bullet “really didn’t move the needle one way or another.”
Avery admitted to buying handcuffs and leg irons.
AP Photo/Dwight Nale, Pool
Dassey’s controversial confession included statements saying he found Halbach restrained on Avery’s bed with “ropes and chains” before they both raped and killed her.
Manitowoc County Sheriff Hermann told THR that leg irons and handcuffs were found in both Avery's and Dassey's homes, which was also confirmed by the testimony of a Department of Justice investigator in Dassey’s trial.
Interestingly, Dassey’s prints and DNA weren’t found on the leg irons or handcuffs and neither was Halbach’s DNA.
In the 2006 Milwaukee Magazine story “Simple Blood,” it says Avery admitted in an interview with the reporter that those were his property. "I bought them,” he said. “I wanted to try out something different with Jodi [Ed note: Avery’s girlfriend from the time].”
For what it’s worth, pictures from the crime scene and in the documentary show no restraint marks on the bed frame (spotted by Reddit).
Bleach was found on Dassey’s pants after Avery asked him to help clean the garage.
"Apparently, Brendan had helped Avery clean the garage floor with bleach and there was bleach on Brendan's pants," Sheriff Hermann told THR.
This bit of information was also in Kratz’s opening statement from Dassey’s trial: “Brendan, himself, hands over to Investigator Fassbender his jeans. He says, these were the pants I was wearing that night, and these pants are splashed with bleach from cleaning Uncle Steve’s garage.”
The Dassey defense responded that though bleach was found on Brendan’s pants and he did help Avery clean the garage, it was to clean up a lawnmower spill, not Halbach’s blood like both Kratz and Hermann insinuate.
“They go into the garage, and there’s a small area behind the lawnmower as if something had spilled,” Dassey’s trial lawyer Mark Fremgen said in his opening statement. “Steven takes from gasoline and pours it onto this little area, and they use some clothing, old rags, that sop up the mess, and as they begin to clean it up with these old clothes and old rags, they throw them onto the fire, and they do that for about a half hour. Steven tries some gasoline and paints — paint thinner to help clean up the area, and some bleach as well.”