Making a Murderer was a massive hit when it was released by Netflix in 2015. The story of how a wrongfully-imprisoned man got mixed up in another murder trial captivated the world and set the internet on fire. Everyone was outraged after watching the documentary, as a clearly biased police force with an active hatred for our protagonist, Steven Avery, works to frame him and prove his guilt through any means necessary.
The documentary is extremely entertaining and paints a dark picture of the Manitowoc County police and lead persecutor Ken Kratz. While there was certainly a fair amount of bad police work–especially in regards to Brendan Dassey, the real victim in the show–the creators of Making a Murderer left out a few details that cast doubt on their argument.
Laura Ricciardi and Miora Demos, who made Making a Murderer, clearly believe that Avery is innocent. Unfortunately, that belief led them to omit some evidence that might help viewers form their own opinions. It’s hard to take anything at face value, which is why it’s important to examine some of the important points that Making a Murderer fails to mention.
15. Creepy Behavior
Making a Murderer doesn’t depict Steven Avery as a saint, but it doesn’t tell nor give all of the necessary context either. This is a piece of circumstantial evidence, but is still paramount in understanding why the jury found Avery guilty.
This wasn’t the first time Avery had encountered Halbach, as she had come to photograph some of his cars before. In a previous visit, Avery greeted Halbach at the door wearing nothing but a towel. This crept her out, understandably, and she even told her employer that she’d rather not go back to Avery’s house.
While this isn’t the most damning piece of evidence the crew left out of the documentary, it’s not a good look for Avery. It doesn’t mean that Avery murdered Halbach, but there was certainly some creepy behavior at the very least.
14. The Cat Burning Incident
This doesn’t have any direct impact on the murder of Halbach, but is more about the overall characterization of Steven Avery. The killing of the family cat was briefly mentioned at the beginning of the show, but they moved past it quickly and didn’t tell the full story.
Avery didn’t just throw the cat over the fire like he said in the documentary. He doused the cat in gasoline before he tossed it. In the show, this is chalked up to kids being kids and doing stupid stuff, but there’s something inherently sadistic about purposefully burning a cat to death.
13. Torture Chamber
According to the prosecution, Avery was having some dark thoughts while in prison. This is circumstantial evidence at best, but if it’s true, then Avery’s characterization changes considerably.
According to the testimony of a fellow inmate, while Avery was wrongfully in jail from 1985 to 2003, he shared diagrams and ideas for a torture chamber when he got out of prison. He had reportedly shown these pictures to another inmate, who testified against Avery in his murder trial. According to the inmate, Avery planned to kidnap and torture young girls when he got out of prison.
Even if the testimony is true, it doesn’t mean Avery would act on these impulses. Still, most of us have never thought of torturing and killing a person, which makes us reconsider Avery’s depiction as a victim on Making a Murderer.
12. Relationship With Jodi
Making a Murderer depicts Steven Avery’s relationship with his fiancée, Jodi, as a positive one. There were obviously some good times in the relationship, but Jodi came forward after the show aired to give her real feelings on her ex-fiancée.
Jodi now claims that she does think Avery killed Halbach. She says that she lied about the phone call between the two of them the night Halbach died, saying that Avery sounded “funny.” In addition to this, Halbach said that Avery was a “monster” behind closed doors, threatening to kill her on multiple occasions. According to Jodi, Avery once threatened to burn down her house with her mother and child inside. He had told her that all women owe him because they sent him to jail in the first place.
This could be the ramblings of an ex who wants a piece of the spotlight, but it could also be so much more. In this case, it’s unclear whether the creators of Making a Murderer intentionally presented a misleading depiction of their relationship or not, but it’s important to know what Jodi, who was said to be with Avery through thick and thin, really thinks.
11. Bullet Match
Another focal point of sketchy evidence in the Steven Avery murder case was the bullet found in Avery’s garage. The bullet contained traces of Halbach’s DNA, which gave the state further evidence against him. Since the bullet was found months after the initial search, the documentary heavily suggested that the police department planted it.
What the documentary failed to mention was that the bullet was a match for the rifle in Avery’s room. Investigators confiscated the gun when the house was searched the first time, meaning the bullet had to have been shot before the first search of his property.
Dean Stran, one of Avery’s lawyers, contested that there were bullets everywhere on Avery’s property. He claims that the fact that Halbach’s DNA was found “really didn’t move the needle one way or the other.”
10. Additional DNA Evidence
If you have watched Making a Murderer, then you’re doubtlessly familiar with the infamous vial of blood. The documentary’s creators focused on Avery’s blood found on Halbach’s car as one of the main pieces of sketchy evidence in the case.
The blood found on Halbach’s car matched Avery’s, but when his lawyers took a look at the Avery’s blood vial the Manitowoc County office had, there was a hole in the top of the rubber stopper. The implication in this scene was that police planted the blood to help frame Avery for the crime.
What the documentary conveniently left out was that there was more DNA evidence linking Avery to Halbach’s car. Avery’s DNA was also found under the hood of the car, which was consistent with sweat. Avery claims he never touched the car and police don’t have the ability to plant his sweat, which means Avery is likely being dishonest.
9. Halbach’s Bones
Another key argument that the documentary focused on was the placement of Halbach’s bones. The stance of the show was that the bones were moved–either by the killers or by the police–to Avery’s property. If the creators of the show believe Avery to be innocent, this is one of the most crucial elements on which they rely. After all, if the bones originated in Avery’s property, then there is no question of his guilt.
While it’s still possible that the bones were moved, the documentary left out the fact that the bones were intertwined with some of the steel belts from tires used as fire accelerates. This would suggest that (at least) remnants of Halbach’s body were burned onsite at Avery’s home.
8. Avery Requested Halbach
As previously stated, this wasn’t the first time Halbach had photographed Avery’s vehicles for AutoTrader magazine. She had been to his property a few times before the day she died, and Avery clearly had a fondness for her. He had greeted her in a towel, which suggests that Avery was interested in Halbach s*xually.
On the day she was murdered, Steven Avery called AutoTrader and requested she be sent to photograph for him. Making a Murderer left this detail out of the documentary, making it seem as though the state was accusing him of murdering a complete stranger. This was never an alleged killing of a completely random woman. This was someone who had been to Avery’s house in the past and didn’t like the vibe she was getting.
7. Avery Called Halbach
It wasn’t just that Steve Avery requested Halbach come to his property the day of her murder, but he also called her personal cellphone three times. The first two calls were at 2:25 PM and at 2:35 PM, and both times, Avery used the *67 feature to hide his number. The third call was placed at 4:35 PM. Avery didn’t use the *67 feature in this call.
Kratz, the prosecutor in the case, believes that this was Avery establishing an alibi. Avery called Halbach from a restricted number so that she would pick up. Once she arrived at his house, he called her again so that he could claim she never showed. He didn’t use the *67 feature because he knew she couldn’t pick up the phone.
This was the theory of the prosecution, and it makes a good amount of sense. Unfortunately, viewers of the documentary were not able to consider this fact when making their own decisions on Avery’s guilt.
6. Dassey Helped Clean The Garage
Even when considering all of the additional evidence Making a Murderer left out, it’s hard to see Brendan Dassey as anything but a victim. The video that shows Dassey getting interrogated is still chilling, and the police seem to have no tangible evidence to connect him to the murder of Halbach.
This piece of evidence serves as a bit of context for those who finished the show saying, “Yeah, but why did they convict Brendan?”
Dassey’s mother told the police that Dassey had stained his pants while helping his uncle clean his garage. In addition, police found traces of bleach on his pants which made Dassey seem increasingly suspicious.
This doesn’t mean Dassey had anything to do with a murder, as Avery probably could have manipulated Dassey into helping him anyway. This only shows that the jury saw far more evidence than the viewers at home.
5. DNA On The Keys Wasn’t Blood
As previously stated, much of the focus of the show was on the faulty evidence against Avery. The blood was heavily questioned by the documentary team as there were some suspicious circumstances surrounding Avery’s vial of blood found in police custody.
The documentary told us that DNA was found on Halbach’s car and on her keys. The show details the blood, but fails to mention the other DNA in the car. The same is true with that of the key. The show never explicitly states what DNA was found on the key, leading many viewers to assume it was more blood. Since the blood was in question from the beginning, this gives Avery’s innocence more credibility.
4. Fake Name
Part of the persecutors’ argument in the Avery case was that Avery lured Halbach to his property in order to murder her. He tried to cover his tracks with the cellphone calls previously mentioned, but they also argue that he gave a fake name to throw off the scent. In addition to covering his tracks, the history between the two of them may have made Halbach nervous. Giving another name to AutoTrader might make Halbach more likely to come.
Avery gave the name of his sister, Barb Janda, and said that he wanted to sell her car. Of course, there is a fair chance that this was genuinely the case, but it’s still worth mentioning as pieces of the story Making a Murderer left out. In order to understand why Avery was found guilty, we must first hear the entire argument of the prosecution, which we don’t in the show.
3. Halbach’s Belongings
It wasn’t just Halbach’s bones that were found on Avery’s property, but her belongings as well. Making a Murderer focuses on the possibility of someone–whether the true murderers or the police–planting the remains of Halbach on Avery’s property. This evidence, in addition to her bones, casts doubt on that possibility.
Many items belonging to Teresa Halbach were found burned in a barrel 20 feet from Avery’s door. They included her phone, camera, and other personal items. It’s still possible that someone planted these items, but they were so close to Avery’s house that it’s unlikely he wouldn’t be aware. Making a Murderer presents this evidence as if it could have been easily planted, although the truth tells a different story.
2. Dassey Molestation Allegations
One large element to this story that was ignored by nearly everybody was the molestation allegations levied against Avery. Brendan Dassey told his mother and the police that his uncle would touch his genitals through his pants in ways that made him uncomfortable. Dassey was only 16 at the time of the investigation.
The transcript of a phone conversation between Dassey and his mother was released, in which Dassey clearly states that he was molested by Avery. His mother asks him why he didn’t tell her sooner.
It wasn’t only the Netflix docuseries that ignored Dassey’s claims, however. The police, the prosecution, and the defense all failed to take Dassey’s molestation into account. This evidence, while nothing concrete, paints Avery in a completely different light than we see in the show.
It wasn’t just Halbach’s belongings and remains that were found on Avery’s property, but some of his own items that cast doubt on his innocence. Some of the more troubling items found on Avery’s property were leg irons and handcuffs.
Avery claimed that these items belonged to him and his girlfriend, but there wasn’t any of his DNA on the restraints. Conversely, Halbach’s DNA wasn’t found on them either. Even more interestingly, the same kind of restraints were found in Brendan Dassey’s home as well. His DNA wasn’t on them either, and Dassey likely had nothing to do with the murder if it indeed occurred.
Owning these items doesn’t make Avery a murderer alone, but in combination with much of the other circumstantial evidence, it paints him in a far darker light than the documentary does.
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