It’s fair to say the controversial case of Steven Avery has got everyone talking…
His case was subject to a ten-part documentary series Making a Murderer, which arguably IS the best thing to come out from Netflix since, forever really.
Every viewer now thinks they’re as a good a lawyer as Dean Strang and Jerry Buting combined, but this shocking case has divided opinion all over the world.
It looks at whether a man wrongly convicted and jailed for a sexual assault and then released was responsible for a brutal killing or whether he was framed by police.
The Mirror spoke to Scotland Yard’s finest officers to get their verdict on this controversial case and it makes for very interesting reading.
Here’s what they had to say:
Chris Burke is a former anti-terrorist branch officer and Detective Superintendent.
He believes that the police completely stitched up Avery and described the conviction as an ‘absolute outrage’.
It’s as plain as the nose on your face that this has been a total police fit up. The first wrongful conviction of rape was bad enough but this is an absolute outrage.
Burke questions the majority of the ‘evidence’ including the missing car key, the forensic findings and Brendan’s confession.
It took six or seven searches to find Teresa’s car key which was then found by officers who were involved in the first case against Steven. If Steven killed Teresa why would he hide her vehicle on his own car lot? Why wouldn’t he have driven it somewhere else? If Teresa was tied up, stabbed and killed on the bed inside Steven’s trailer as stated in Brendan’s confession then where is the forensic evidence? Brendan’s confession would never have been allowed in a court in Britain. HE had no parent, no solicitor and seemed to agree with everything the detectives put to him before later denying it. He’s of very low intelligence and nothing he said seemed to make any sense. I cannot believe that his evidence was admissible in court.
He added that the police were narrow minded in their search for suspects and should have focused on other targets, instead of fixating all their attention on Avery.
Next up, Callum Sutherland. He is an ex-Met Detective sergeant who has worked as a consultant for crime writers and is acting vice President for the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences.
It’s fair to say Sutherland has a much different opinion on the matter.
Speaking to The Mirror, he said:
I think Steven Avery is guilty and the documentary is edited in such a way to make us question that guilt. There’s been a lot made about the lack of forensic evidence in the case. I think there’s no forensics in the trailer because the victim was killed in Avery’s garage.
He believes that they killed Teresa in such a way that there would have not been much blood at the crime scene and her wounds would have mostly consisted of internal bleeding.
I think Brendan is guilty because he knew things that only someone who was there would have known. He talked about Teresa’s body having been in the back of her vehicle which would have been consistent with the blood that was discovered by police. I think they tried to clean up that blood but that the light wasn’t great by then and they couldn’t see it all. When the police look for blood stains they use bright lights which Avery and Dassey wouldn’t have had access to at that time.
Despite thinking Dassey and Avery are guilty, he admits the police made ‘a lot of mistakes’ which gave the defence grounds to talk about manipulation of evidence. But he believes their mismanagement of evidence was down to a ‘lack of experience’ of dealing with big cases.
Rod Goddard is an ex-Detective Inspector of 20 years and has also worked as a criminal defence barrister.
He is unsure about the verdict, but believes that the pair definitely didn’t get a fair trial.
The question to be asked now is did he get a fair trial and the answer is almost certainly no and neither did Brendan Dassey. In Steven’s trial, the prosecution’s case theory is that Teresa was murdered in the garage, thus explaining the lack of forensic evidence in his trailer. You simply cannot rape, stab and slit someone’s throat in a bed without leaving a mass of forensic evidence behind. In Brendan’s trial they asked the Jury to believe his confession that Teresa was tied up on the bed, stabbed and had her throat cut. Which was it?
Referring back to Brendan’s trial, Goddard believes that the prosecution wanted it both ways, and this is probably why they weren’t tried together. He also believes Brendan’s confession would have not been allowed in a UK court.
He was a child with learning difficulties questioned alone by two experienced detectives, without a parent or a solicitor present. No British court would have accepted his confession as evidence. Give me an hour with Brendan and I could have him admitting to anything I wanted.
Goddard added that the way Brendan’s lawyers acted ‘beggars belief’ and any defence lawyer acting that way here would be struck off.
He believes despite the lack of searching for other suspects, the evidence points to Avery as a major suspect. However, he believes you don’t have to form your own conclusion on the car key which ‘mysteriously appeared’.
Former Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Malton is a TV script consultant.
Malton is another former officer who is undecided on whether Steven and Brendan are guilty or not, but believe they wouldn’t be found guilty in the court in the UK, because the conviction would have been deemed ‘unsafe’.
She believes that many questions remain unanswered as some evidence was withheld from the documentary.
There are so many questions as to why there was no forensic evidence found, about the implication police were involved in planting evidence, and the way the detectives reached their conclusions. In Steven’s case I guess you can’t get away from the fact that evidence not heard in the documentary reveals that he called his victim a number of times, withholding his number, before calling again to ask where she was. There’s also no escape from the fact her body was found close to his house.
She added that she thinks Avery is ‘disconnected’ from any type of emotion after his earlier conviction. When it comes to Brendan she believes there is no way of proving that his confession was true and would be intrigued to see how another country would would deal with this case.
Regardless of whether you think Steven Avery killed Teresa Halbach, it seems pretty certain that they did not get the fair trial they both deserved.