A U.S. judge has ordered the immediate prison release of Making A Murderer’s Brendan Dassey.
The 27-year-old, who has learning difficulties, had been serving a life sentence for allegedly helping his uncle Steven Avery rape, kill and mutilate Teresa Halbach’s corpse in 2005. He was 16 at the time.
Judge William Duffin ordered that Dassey be freed from prison under supervision until the next steps in the case become clear, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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Under his release conditions, he must submit to the probation and parole office by midday on Tuesday the address where he plans to reside.
Dassey also must not have any contact with Halbach’s family, or co-defendant Avery, whose legal team hopes DNA evidence will clear him, the BBC reports.
And while Duffin has ordered the ‘immediate release’ of Dassey, it may not be until Thanksgiving (November 24) until he is freed. His lawyer, Steve Drizin said: “That’s what I’m focused on right now, getting him home, getting him with his family and then helping him to re-integrate back into society while his appeal plays out.”
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Steven Avery, who was convicted in a separate trial, is still in prison. He is pursuing his own appeal.
Both Dassey and Avery were accused and found guilty of murdering Halbach, a photographer for Auto Trader Magazine.
Her charred remains were found at Avery’s car salvage yard a week after she went there to photograph a minivan for sale. The docu-series Making a Murderer focused on the conduct of law officials in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, who had been facing a huge financial penalty over an earlier case in which Avery was wrongfully imprisoned for 18 years for sexual assault.
But back in August, Judge Duffin had repealed Dassey’s sentence in August on the basis that his constitutional rights were violated based on the way he was interrogated at the time.
He said: “Dassey’s conduct during the interrogation and his reaction to being told he was under arrest clearly indicate that he really did believe that, if he told the investigators what they professed to already know, he would not be arrested for what he said.”
Prosecutors are now considering the next steps and whether to call for another trial.
In the meantime, he’s a free man.