Three journalists who covered the murder trial of Making a Murderer’s Steven Avery spoke about their views on the 2005 Teresa Halbach murder.
These journalists included Colleen Henry, a reporter with WISN-TV in Milwaukee; Aaron Keller, a reporter with WGBA-TV in Green Bay during the trial, and is currently an English and communications professor at NHTI-Concord Community College in New Hampshire; and Dan O’Donnell, who was a reporter with WTMJ radio in Milwaukee during the trial, and is currently a news anchor with WISN radio in Milwaukee.
Prior to his conviction for Halbach’s murder in 2005, Avery had spent 18 years in prison on a sexual assault charge. He was exonerated in 2003 after DNA evidence proved he had not committed the crime.
“Avery is absolutely guilty,” O’Donnell said, as reported by Channel3000.com. He also said that Len Kachinsky, who allowed the interrogation of Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey to be conducted in his absence, “was doing everything that he felt was in the best interest of his client. Namely, to take a plea deal that would have likely resulted in Dassey being released from prison at age 36.”
Meanwhile, Henry said, “As for the verdict, I thought it could have gone either way. By the time they began deliberating, I wasn’t surprised the jury convicted.” He also said that Dassey could have been released on parole sooner had he confessed and pleaded guilty than go to trial. However, she had a different opinion regarding Kachinsky.
“Most lawyers I know would have been there if investigators were interviewing/interrogating their juvenile client in a homicide case,” she said. “I have never seen anything like the video of Kachinsky’s investigator, Michael O’Kelly, asking Dassey to confess and to include drawings.”
The case at the center of the trial is that of the murder of 25-year-old Halbach, who went missing after she was last seen at the Avery Salvage Yard. While DNA evidence connects Avery to the crime, his lawyers argued that it was planted by the Manitowoc County sheriff’s deputies because he was suing the county for $36 million for the sexual assault case he had been wrongfully convicted in.
The principal evidence on the bases of which Dassey was found guilty for was his confession, which, according to his lawyers, had been coerced. As reported by Post Crescent, he could have faced a lesser sentence had he accepted a plea deal.
Ken Kratz, speaking on Dr. Drew last week, said that Dassey “was provided with an opportunity to serve as little as 15 years in prison” in the case of Halbach’s murder. Dassey, who had a “more limited involvement” in the crime, was given the choice of testifying against his uncle, but was urged to not accept it by family members as it would hurt Avery’s case.
“The Avery and Dassey trials occurred in a different time. The anti-government/anti-police narrative is stronger now than it was then,” Keller said. “The decision to acquit would have been a message from a Manitowoc County jury that its own sheriff’s department was corrupt. Kratz might as well have asked Wisconsinites to state that the Green Bay Packers are a lousy football team.”