It’s been a few weeks since we checked in on the Steven Avery case, and lo and behold, there’s plenty to report. Let’s get to it!
Avery’s new lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, has been going HAM on social, posting all sorts of vaguely teasing tweets about developments in the case. For starters, as part of her effort to see Avery exonerated for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, Zellner plans to do “advanced luminol testing,” and recently paid her client a visit in order to collect fresh DNA samples to test. The attorney, who has successfully represented a number of exonerated prisoners, appears extremely confident that proving Avery innocent is only a matter of time, tweeting,“The inevitable is coming — he was smiling so were we.”
Zellner has been rightfully critical of the original police investigation, which was documented on the hit Netflix docu-series, Making A Murderer. Ultimately, regardless of where you stand on Avery’s guilt or innocence, a tainted crime scene, suspicious evidence and police misconduct serves to harm both the defense and the prosecution’s cases. In a series of tweets, Zellner raised some really good points about how specific elements of the forensic evidence found on the Avery property — Halbach’s car key, her RAV-4, her burned remains, etc. — actually contradict each other.
She also pointed out that when the search party found Halbach’s RAV-4 in the Avery salvage yard, the car was locked. A strange move for a killer to make, considering this only helps “preserve” the evidence, leading Zellner to hint that it was “kinda obvious” who locked it.
Zellner tweeted that Avery’s case is “identical to the other 17 men we’ve cleared” and that she “won’t quit until he’s out.” In her interview with The Lip TV, Zellner emphasized that her confidence in his innocence is based on the very evidence used to convict him.
“In having had a number of these cases, it has the signature of a wrongful conviction case,” Zellner said. “They only focused on him. They did not look at a lot of other suspects, certainly some very key people they should have been looking at.”
In fact, Zellner and Avery seem to have an exact suspect in mind, not that they’re telling, though Zellner says she intends to prove who the real killer is. On February 8, she tweeted a handwritten note from Avery in which he maintains that no one in his family is responsible for Halbach’s death, but it’s “obvious” who is, and that the police decided chose not to investigate “him.”
Let’s just assume for a moment that Zellner is right and Avery and the rest of his kin are completely innocent in the murder. Based on her tweets and interview quotes, it seems obvious that Zellner is among the many who believe that the cops definitely framed Avery by planting 1) Halbach’s key, after giving it a good scrub and B) Avery’s blood in the RAV-4 and his DNA on the hood latch. She also may be hinting that the cops planted Halbach’s car as well — if they were framing Avery, they would want to make sure nothing happened to the forensic evidence inside by locking the vehicle. If that’s the case, that would mean the police found the RAV-4 somewhere off the Avery property, a theory that was touched on at trial. Remember, on November 3, the day Halbach was reported missing, Officer Andrew Colburn called dispatch with a license plate number for them to run, and they confirmed that it was registered to Halbach. “A ’99 Toyota?” he asked, volunteering information that further indicated he was looking at the vehicle in question. Two full days later, the car was officially “found” on the Avery lot.
But the question remains: who do Zellner and Avery think killed her? It’s pretty indisputable that the police had tunnel vision from the moment they learned Halbach had been on the Avery lot, as evidenced by the fact that they ONLY took forensic evidence from the Avery family. But in thinking about the other possible suspects, I’m left wondering if Avery counts his brother-in-law, Scott Tadych — who some consider to be an alternative suspect – as a member of his family? Because Tadych was never fingerprinted, and his trailer — located near Avery’s — was never searched.
That said, Zellner has hinted that Halbach was killed by someone she knew.
“There was a very poor investigation done of the victim’s background, who she was involved with, the circumstances of her life,” Zellner cryptically told The Lip TV. Perhaps she’s thinking of Halbach’s ex-boyfriend Ryan Hillegas? Or her roommate, Scott Bloedorn, who waited three days before reporting her missing? It’s also possible that she has in mind someone we’ve yet to hear about because they were never investigated.
I guess we’ll have to wait to see what Zellner tweets next…