A special prosecutor has been appointed to represent the state of Wisconsin in the widely known case of Making a Murderer’s subject Steven Avery.
Ever since it first aired in December last year, Netflix’s Making a Murderer – which chronicles the convictions of Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey – has garnered tremendous popularity.
Steven Avery update: Prosecutor Norman Gahn replaces Jaclyn LaBre
According to court documents, Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Norman Gahn has been appointed to substitute Manitowoc County District Attorney Jaclyn LaBre in the homicide case. The replacement came on September 1 after LaBre cited a conflict of interest.
As reported by WBAY, Gahn was part of the original team that prosecuted Avery and Dassey for the murder of the 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach. Also included in the team were Assistant Attorney General Tom Fallon and Special Prosecutor Ken Kratz.
Gahn is known to have brought DNA use to the forefront in criminal cases. He became known in the 1990s when he filed charges against DNA profiles.
“I did the first DNA case in Milwaukee County — a serial murder case from the late 1980s and early 1990s when DNA was in its infancy,” Gahn said in an interview with the International Center for Victims of Crime. “DNA evidence became the lynchpin for the case, which was a big one, and we secured a conviction.”
Gahn said he primarily deals with homicide and sexual assault cases. These cases, he added, are based on various forensic science disciplines, including DNA.
Steven Avery update: Norman Gahn deals with homicide and sexual assault cases
“Victims are helped because the DNA technology allows investigators to go into a crime scene and look for biological evidence that is left there,” Gahn said when asked about how the advent of technology, especially with regard to DNA testing, has helped victims.
He also noted that, before DNA testing, investigators could not test and/or define links and find associations that are used to solve crimes.
“At a sexual assault scene, besides semen and blood, there can also be sweat or saliva, additional biological substances that give the crime lab more evidence to test and make associations,” Gahn said. “Testing can be done on condoms, clothing, linens, fingernail scrapings, ligatures, and tape.”
Gahn said DNA is principally used for identification and in corroborating statements from the victims. This generally offers a proof beyond reasonable doubt. DNA testing, he said, “gives an added level of credibility to [the victims’] testimony.”
Creators of Making a Murderer have spoken about the possibility of a second season of the docu-series. However, it has not been made clear when the new season will be aired.