Convicted of rape and attempted murder of Penny Beerntsen in 1985, the American Steven Avery was exonerated 18 years later thanks to DNA testing. Just two years after regaining his freedom, man then aged 43 was arrested again. Since 2007, he is serving a life sentence for the sordid murder of the young photographer Teresa Halbach. This time, DNA tests have rather served to establish his guilt. Attorney Michael Griesbach, member of the Innocence Project of Wisconsin and author of innocent killer, helped liberate do in 2003. He is now convinced: “Steven Avery is now where it should be. In prison”
First published at the author in 2010 and reissued by the American Bar Association in 2014, Innocent Killer – Dark of the Steven Avery case of Michael Griesbach lands on the shelves of French bookstores in the wake of the dissemination of the documentary series Making A Murderer on Netflix.
“If Steven Avery was not unjustly imprisoned the first time Teresa Halbach would be alive,” the prosecutor believes the Manitowoc County seal in Wisconsin, where the legal saga continues 30 years later.
Making A biased Murderer
Michael Griesbach recognizes the scope of the title of the series Making A Murderer.
“The fact that he spent 18 years of his life in prison when he was not raped or attempted to kill Penny Beerntsen made Avery – who already then violent history, I recall – even more dangerous and angry. ”
The prosecutor, however, denounced the stance of documentary filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos. And calls into question their conclusions.
“I was shaken by the bias of Making A Murderer and some elements put forward. To the point where, for three months earlier this year, I took a sabbatical to review the evidence in every detail, in addition to read all documents in connection with the murder of Teresa Halbach, including transcripts the trial. To me, it seems impossible to me that Steven Avery was the victim of a conspiracy by the police, as claimed by two documentary filmmakers. The police could not ‘hide’ evidence, as the series tries to support it. This would imply the idea of a conspiracy in which I can not join in the light of facts, “Mr. Griesbach tranche, the second book, indefensible: The Missing Truth About Steven Avery, Tereasa Halbach, and Making A Murderer, to be published in September.
In the first, Innocent Killer, the lawyer is especially interested in the unjust conviction of Avery, by analyzing each step that led to his arrest and trial, and his release 18 years later.
He leans on his violent history, the existing social gap between him and his alleged victim, as the omissions volunteers Attorney Denis Vogel district and Sheriff Tom Kocourek – who in 1985 were never investigated Gregory Allen despite the strong possibility that it was he the aggressor Penny Beerntsen, not Avery.
Through its role in the Innocence Project, Michael Griesbach is also the one who found him in the Vogel file on Avery, a complaint dating back to 1983 and quoting Gregory Allen as aggressor in an incident at the where will be held two years later, the rape of Penny Beerntsen. A complaint signed by … Denis Vogel, the very man who had served as district attorney in the Avery case. This discovery, says Mr. Griesbach, was “shocked and disappointed”.
“This complaint was the first clue raising the possibility he could intentionally send an innocent man to jail, leaving a real predator free. It almost drove me ill, he said. I am now convinced that Denis Vogel and Tom Kocourek knew they had not arrested the right person in this story, but they did nothing to track Allen Gregory. ”
Along with the reconstruction of the facts, Michael Griesbach raises many consequences of this divergence, not only for Avery (who in addition to his freedom, then lost his wife and contact with his children), but also for the collateral victims Penny Beerntsen Teresa Halbach and at least one other woman, assaulted in 1995 by the man who had been free for all this time, Allen Gregory.
“By condemning an innocent, the system has made worse an already appalling situation at the base. As Avery was cleared, it was not on probation and therefore had no conditions to meet. Would it have been followed, although he has said he would not have accepted therapy or to meet a psychologist to help him in his reintegration? Does the community was wrong to treat a hero? We have lessons to learn from all this. But in the end, if the system made a mistake the first time, Steven Avery has also failed later. ”
That said, and despite the tragic death of Teresa Halbach, Mr. Griesbach has “never doubted” that his colleagues in the Innocence Project and had made him “the right thing” by Steven Avery release in 2003.
The prosecutor is aware of the polarization of public opinion on the Avery case, which has transcended borders uniennes-states after the broadcast Making A Murderer on Netflix last December. He himself has been singled out by some pro-Avery militants as a part of their conspiracy theory, following the publication of innocent killer.
“The Facebook page of my book was taken hostage by people he is simply impossible to talk reasonably. I tried, at first, but there is absolutely nothing to do. ”
Convicted of having “credibility” necessary to continue writing on the subject, Michael Griesbach defended well to try to make money by surfing on the wave Making A Murderer. And he is adamant: “Steven Avery is guilty of killing Teresa Halbach.” What he aims to prove irrefutably in indefensible.
The folder in a few dates
2 July 9, 1985: Penny Beerntsen is raped and left for dead. On the night of July 29 to 30, Steven Avery was arrested at home.
March 10, 1986: convicted of sexual assault, forcible confinement and attempted murder, he gets 32 years in prison.
26 April 1996: Gregory Allen was sentenced to 60 years in prison for a sexual assault July 9, 1995.
September 23, 1996: despite the traces of DNA “unknown” levied at the time on the nails Penny Beerntsen, Fred Hazlewood judge refused to reopen the trial of Avery.
Spring 2001: two students from the Innocence Project of Wisconsin requires a new DNA analysis.
September 3, 2003: the “case Avery” broke out when the results come back from the lab: the aggressor Penny Beerntsen is not but Avery Allen.
September 11, 2003: Steven Avery found his freedom. The 1985 verdict is canceled.
October 12, 2004: he started a civil suit for $ 36 million against Manitowoc County, the District Attorney Denis Vogel and Sheriff Tom Kocourek.
31 October 2005: the photographer Teresa Halbach went to Avery Scrap for Auto Traders Magazine.
1 November 2005: Wisconsin adopts the “Law Avery” (whose name has been changed since) reforming certain judicial procedures, including new provisions for the preservation of evidence containing DNA.
3 November 2005: Teresa
Halbach went missing.
November 11, 2005: Avery is arrested for the murder of the photographer, whose bones were found in a brazier in front of his mobile home.
December 2005: he accepts, Manitowoc County, restitution of $ 400,000 related to the judicial error of 1985.
March 18, 2007: Avery is convicted of murder in the first degree and possession of a firearm, but no mutilation of the body of his victim.
16 April 2007: start of the trial of his nephew Brendan Dassey, also accused in the case.
April 25: Dassey was convicted of murder in the first degree, mutilation of a body and sexual assault.
1 June 2007: Avery gets a sentence of mandatory life imprisonment.
August 2, 2007: Dassey receives a life sentence with the possibility of release in 2048.
August 24, 2011: the request of lawyers Avery for a new trial is denied.
18 December 2015: start of the broadcast of the documentary series Making A Murderer on Netflix.
January 2016: second appeal filed by the new lawyer Avery, Kathleen Zellner.