B&B Podcast 01/15/16

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My Current Thoughts on Netflix Documentary Series “Making a Murderer”

WARNING: This post is filled with spoilers. If you haven’t seen the entire series, turn back now

When I finished watching Making a Murderer, I was all but convinced that Steven Avery didn’t kill Teresa Halbach. I continue to be stuck on one thing: The lack of blood/hair in Steven’s bedroom/garage. It just isn’t possible for that much blood to be scrubbed completely clean by a couple of human beings (I’ll address Steven’s nephew Brendan shortly). It would take gallons of bleach and such fastidious attention to detail that even the most OCD human being who ever lived wouldn’t be able to accomplish it. Plus, hair goes everywhere. For investigators to be unable to find any of Teresa’s hair anywhere in Steven’s house tells me he didn’t do it

Then I looked at the stuff filmmakers left out

  1. Brendan’s testimony can’t be considered credible on any level and the fact that he was convicted is an embarrassment. He was coached, prodded, threatened, lead, cajoled, and influenced every step of the way. He told several different stories before he go to the one prosecutors wanted him to tell. His own lawyer arranged for him to meet with detectives with no attorney present. Thus…
  2. The bleach on his jeans means nothing. Can’t establish when the bleach got on his jeans and, if Steven was really a criminal genius, he’d have burned those pants in the fire
  3. Sweat found under the hood? Don’t know how much sweat (which evaporates) would have to be present to leave DNA, but, ok. That’s one for the prosecution
  4. Steven’s “obsession” with Teresa (several articles referring to how she was creeped out by Steven from a previous visit to the house). I’ll put this one down as a win for the prosecutors. It certainly is weird that Steven would dial *67 to hide his numbers and then not do it. But, if Teresa was creeped out or threatened by Steven’s earlier behavior, why would she come out to the address? She was aware that Steven would be nearby
  5. Steven’s “confession” to an inmate of violent fantasies regarding women: If it comes from a guy who is behind bars, it doesn’t carry much weight with me. Those guys will pretty much say anything
  6. Other articles have detailed Steven’s incident with the cat, saying that he actually “oiled up” or put gasoline on the cat before tossing it into the fire. Surely, only the most disturbed among us would do such a thing. Another one for the prosecution
  7. DA Ken Kratz and his disgusting behavior: As Kratz points out, this happened three years after the Avery trial and has no real material bearing on the Avery case. If you’d like to say that this speaks to Kratz’s integrity/credibility, that’s fine, but I don’t think this is “in bounds”
  8. The bullet with Teresa’s DNA on it: Not sure about this one, but, probably another win for the prosecution
  9. If Steven didn’t kill her, who did? I do find it difficult to believe that the police would intercept calls between Steven and Teresa, grab her, kill her, and then incinerate her remains on the Avery property. They’ve shown they’re incompetent and possibly evil, but that goes beyond anything reasonable. And now, court documents show that Steven thought his brothers could have killed Teresa. Not sure who the prime suspect would be if we eliminate Steven

BOTTOM LINE: The filmmakers clearly made a documentary series that was very sympathetic to Steven Avery. They also left some things out. But, reasonable doubt is the standard in our legal system and I feel that there was enough reasonable doubt to acquit Steve Avery

Now, let’s do our best to make sure Brendan can see Wrestlemania this year

Review: Netflix Original “Making a Murderer”

When the podcast Serial debuted in 2014, it become a cultural touchstone. People who had never downloaded a podcast suddenly became absorbed in the discussion over Adnan’s guilt or innocence. It even spawned an SNL spoof. But, it also caught the attention of the big content creators, who asked themselves “How can we come up with our own version of Serial and capitalize on the public’s demand for this type of content?”

Enter Netflix. Making a Murderer centers around Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who was wrongly convicted of rape in 1985 and spent 18 years of his life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. A multitude of evidence existed that could have freed him at several points during his incarceration, but, he remained behind bars until DNA testing freed him on September 11, 2003

Steven quickly became somewhat of a celebrity and the poster boy for the Wisconsin Innocence ProjectPoliticians couldn’t wait to have their pictures taken with Steven as they pushed legislation that would (allegedly) help people from being convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. Meanwhile, efforts to hold officials in Manitowoc County responsible for convicting Steven were fruitless. So, Steven filed a civil suit that would have made some officials in the county personally liable and put a price tag of $36 million on it

And then, they arrested him again


Did he or didn't he?
Did he or didn’t he?


When young Teresa Halbach goes missing after meeting with Steven, cops scour Steven’s properties and eventually come up with Teresa’s charred remains. After a ghastly confession (outlining hair-curling allegations of sexual violence and cold-blooded murder) from Steven’s nephew Brendan Dassey, both Steven and Brendan are put on trial and the media eats it up with gusto

And that’s all I am going to tell you. I want this series to unfold for you as it did for me. I think you’ll find it as surprising and satisfying as Serial. I would point your attention towards a couple of “stars” who appear throughout:

  1. Delores Avery, Steven’s beleaguered mother, who reminds us that mothers will do anything for their children. She attempts to put on a brave face against insurmountable odds and becomes head cheerleader, co-counsel, psychiatrist, anchorwoman, and analyst for the effort to help her son. As she trudges along, it’s hard not to sympathize with this poor woman who is looking straight at a second conviction of her baby boy
  2. Dean Strang, Steven’s attorney, who comes off as a man who believes deeply in a legal system that continues to disappoint him. As time goes on, he finds his faith in the system continually being challenged. At various times, towards the end of the series, he seems exasperated and unsure why he ever thought Steven might get a fair shake

Making a Murderer addresses a number of larger issues, such as the burden of the State when taking away the liberties of the individual. Have we made the burden of the State too great? Have we not? Do we have a system that is truly fair? Are the victims given proper consideration?

If nothing else, Making a Murderer will make you pony up a few extra bucks for a nice gift next Mother’s Day