Social media is fluttering with conversation centralized around the case of Wisconsinite, Steven Avery. The case is currently a 10-part series on Netflix called The Making of a Murderer.
Here is a Summary of the Steven Avery Case:
Steven Avery was wrongfully convicted of rape in 1986. He spent 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
DNA evidence ultimately cleared Avery of the crime and he was released from prison in September 2003.
Avery and his attorney, in October 2004, began proceedings to sue the authorities for his wrongful conviction.
About one year later, in October 2005, while the lawsuit was pending, a horrible murder and sexual assault of a young 25-year old woman named Teresa Halbach.
The evidence pointed to Steven Avery and his 16-year-old nephew, Brendan Dassey.
Both were convicted of crimes against the woman and sentenced to life in prison, where they remain today.
The Netflix series raises a number of questions about the case against the two men, and petitions against the trial are circulating.
Prior to my watching The Making of a Murderer, I had never heard of Steven Avery, nor Theresa Halbach.
My heart goes out to the family of Teresa Halbach, for having to relive this, but if a man was wrongfully convicted, this needs to be addressed.
I am amazed at the notoriety this documentary has received.
It is incredible how many questions have been raised in this case.
It’s a prime example of how media has changed since the case happened–it has opened a discussion.
The producers of Netflix’s Making of a Murderer did a great job with so many personal interviews.
The documentary took ten years to make.
I cannot believe some of the things I saw in the documentary.
There are stories coming out every single day about this case and the documentary.
Usually, my husband will argue points with me, but as he sat next to me, he couldn’t.
For this post I’ll be using the Steven Avery Case Timeline I found on PostCresent.com.
The Beginning of the Steven Avery Story:
The whole story begins when a vicious rape along the Lake Michigan shoreline happened on August 2, 1993, in which Steven Avery was convicted.
A person, which we now know was Gregory Allen, suddenly comes up over the sand dunes of the Lake Michigan shoreline in Two Rivers Wisconsin, where Steven Avery lived near.
And starts stalking a woman walking in front of him on the beach, he pulled his pants down and begins doing some lewd actions to the woman, and the woman ran away.
Allen later calls the woman twice at her home and asked to have the charges dropped against him.
The prosecutor against Allen was Denis Vogel and the charges were reduced to indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.
Then on July 17, 1985, the Manitowoc County Police Dept. assigns police officers to maintain daily surveillance of Allen. He was a suspect in several complaints of prowling, window peeping, indecent exposure, and sexual assault dating back to January 1985 through July 17, 1985.
The comment from the police report was: He is a dangerous individual with a potential for violence.
So they know he’s dangerous and it’s just a matter of time before he will do something.
July 29, 1985, a hot summer day, temperatures were high and Penny Ann Beerntsen is attacked around 3:50 pm while jogging alone along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Two Rivers, Michigan by a scraggly-haired man in a leather jacket.
The man pulled out a knife and forced her into a wooded area. He sexually assaulted her. Beat her, and left her bloodied.
At the hospital, Beernsten described her rapist and Deputy Sherrif Judy Dvorak made a comment that the attacker sounded like Steven Avery.
Because of this comment, Manitowoc County Sheriff Tom Kocourek asked for Avery’s photo to be included in the photo lineup.
Two things here.
First of all, I can’t believe a Deputy Sherrif would make a comment that it “sounded like” someone. Granted, Steven Avery had commented on crimes in the past, including one pertaining to a cat he had doused in gasoline and threw over a fire. Because of incidents like this, he was well known in the area. Still, so unprofessional of Deputy Sherriff and he did not have convictions of sexual crimes.
The second thing is, to my knowledge, Gregory Allen had been under surveillance but for some reason, the two officers following him on the date of the attack were sent off somewhere else. Gregory Allen’s photo was never included in the lineup. It could be a coincidence, but perhaps Allen knew he was being followed, and recognized the two officers were not following him this day. Still, he should have been included in the lineup since his history was more along with the nature of this unfortunate crime. He seems like the number one suspect in the area.
Penny Anne Beernsten only had the photos presented to her, and I’m sure the attack on her was stressful, as it would be for anyone. When one is attacked, I’d think the last thing you’d be thinking would be “I wonder what this guy looks like”. Though Avery and Allen were similar looking–both had the straggly hair.
Three days later she was shown the photo again in a live lineup. Gregory Allen was, again, not in this lineup.
Avery, December 14, 1985, is at his trial, maintaining his innocence. He produces 16 alibi witnesses, receipts, and employees at the Shopko store in Green Bay confirm he was in the store at 5:13 pm (75-minutes after the rape was committed). Still Vogel and Kocourek were convinced Avery committed the crime. The Jury finds Avery guilty of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree sexual assault, and false imprisonment.
The receipt from Shopko at 5:13 pm, 75-minutes after the rape, they argue that he could have run to his car from the location on the beach, hopped inside, raced home, put his entire family in the car and immediately driven to Green Bay, technically, he could have committed the crime and made it Greenbay.
It seems like the authorities wanted to convict Avery based on their past experiences with him. They wanted to believe he did it intentionally and because it was theoretically possible for the drive time, they presented it as truth.
There were several appeals, but there was an instance 10-years after being in prison. Another aggravated rape in which they arrested Gregory Allen in Green Bay. Someone from the Green Bay Police Dept called the Manitowoc Country Police Dept and said that they had arrested a guy for aggravated assault and he claimed he committed rape in Manitowoc County and someone else was in prison for his crime. Officer Kolbar took the call at the Manitowoc County Police Dept. and reported it to his boss, Lt. James Lenk, who said that they already had a guy in prison and they weren’t going to talk to Allen.
Lenk decided Avery was the right guy, in spite of the confession of Allen.
Makes you wonder?
September 10, 2003, eight years after the phone call incident, the state crime lab tests thirteen hairs recovered from the victim back in 1985. NONE matches Avery, one matches Gregory Allen, who is now serving a 60-year sentence for the rape in Green Bay. The criminal complaint against Allen for August 2, 1985, beach incident was contained in Vogel’s file.
It was ONE hair that exonerated Steven Avery. One hair of 13. None of the hairs matched Avery, but one hair matched Allen. Amazing that only one hair was suitable, but it was enough to free Avery. Brings to fruition the expression, “just by a hair”.
September 11, 2003, Avery walks out of prison a free man after 18 years behind prison bars, for a crime he didn’t commit.
What should be the end of the story, Avery being free, instead becomes the beginning of the story of Steven Avery in Netflix’s documentary #MakingAMurderer. It’s filled with twists and turns.