A federal judge has ordered that Brendan Dassey, the man convicted in the case featured in Making a Murderer, must be released from prison by Friday evening.
U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin overturned the 27-year-old’s conviction in August, saying investigators tricked Dassey into confessing he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape, kill and mutilate photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005.
On Monday, Duffin ordered his release, the LA Times reports. The state Justice Department asked Duffin on Tuesday to stay his ruling, but Duffin issued an order Wednesday saying Dassey must be released no later than 8pm on Friday, saying prosecutors were merely repeating the same points the court already rejected.
Steven Avery, Dassey’s uncle who was convicted in a separate trial, is still in prison and 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, and after Dassey’s blood was found in her car, he was arrested. 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.
Fans of the Netflix series believe that the confirmation of Dassey’s release proves his uncle’s freedom will come shortly after.
According to family confidant and prison campaigner Shaun Attwood, supporters have been thinking it’s a ‘foregone conclusion’ that Avery will be set free, the Daily Mail reports. His lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, is demanding the court uses new forensic DNA testing methods, which she says will prove that Avery’s blood had been planted in Halbach’s Toyota RAV4 car – and is actually older than the vehicle itself.
In the meantime, Dassey is a free man.