Steven Avery’s lawyer asked for a new trial and made several explosive claims about the case, and who she considers to be the real killer, in a petition filed on June 7.
Avery, the 54-year-old Wisconsin man whose story was depicted in the hit 2015 Netflix docu-series Making A Murderer, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 2005 slaying of photographer Teresa Halbach.
Now, in a newly issued 1,272-page document, Kathleen Zellner alleges that Halbach’s ex-boyfriend Ryan Hillegas is the most likely killer.
Zellner theorizes that the motive was jealousy. Hillegas allegedly maintained a romantic interest in Halbach even after they had broken up. Zellner says he also continued to pursue her even after she began a sexual relationship with her roommate Scott Bloedorn.
The attorney goes on to allege that Hillegas committed perjury at trial when he “described Ms. Halbach’s relationship with Mr. Bloedorn as platonic and never romantic or sexual in nature.”
Hillegas reportedly had no alibi for October 31, 2005, the day Halbach was killed. In the show, Hillegas stated the last time he saw Halbach was Sunday, October 30, 2005, the day before she went missing.
In court, Hillegas testified, “I think I was dropping something off for Scott [Halbach’s roommate] and [Halbach] was sitting there at her computer.”
Hillegas, who was trained as a nurse, was never named as a suspect by the defense, and was reportedly never asked by law enforcement to provide an alibi for October 31, 2005.
Zellner says that Hillegas’ cell phone records show “significant gaps during time periods in question,” including a six-hour stretch on October 31, 2005.
The first 220 pages of the document are available on Zellner’s website. She also claimed to have new scientific evidence, and pointed out incidents that she believed to be miscarriages of justice. She wrote:
“Of the 4,238 days that have passed since Ms. Halbach’s murder, only 9 short days were devoted by law enforcement to identifying the alleged murderer, much less time than the average vacation time allocated in 2005 to the law enforcement personnel involved in the 9-day effort leading to the arrest of Mr. Avery.”
Zellner also says that Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, who prosecuted Avery and nephew Brendan Dassey, knew Avery did not commit the crime.
Zellner’s document alleges copious wrongdoing by law enforcement. She claims that authorities destroyed an answering-machine tape that proved Avery’s salvage yard was not Halbach’s last stop before she was killed.
In addition, Zellner asserts her belief that the police planted a spare key for Halbach’s vehicle inside Avery’s bedroom and that, furthermore, the suspect’s trial attorneys dropped the ball on that fact by failing to conduct a thorough investigation.
Avery has always maintained his innocence. He insists that he was framed by officers from the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department. Officials involved in the case have denied any misconduct.
Main photo: Steven Avery [Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department]