The Making A Murderer star was set to walk free in weeks. If the appeal is successful, he’ll spend another 32 years behind bars.
If you’re as big a fan of the Netflix docu-series Making A Murderer as we are, you probably already know one of the show’s protagonists, Brendan Dassey, recently had his conviction overturned.
Dassey was sentenced to life in prison when he was 17, after confessing to assisting his uncle, Steven Avery, in the rape and murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, whose charred remains were discovered in a burn pit near Avery’s home; but as avid viewers of MAM know, Dassey’s videotaped confession – which he recanted at the trial – appeared worryingly coerced and didn’t seem to align with any of the evidence.
More concerning was the fact Dassey has a learning disability and repeatedly struggled to understand what he was being asked during investigations, most poignantly asking his mother what ‘inconsistent’ meant in episode three after investigators demanded he provide a new statement due to the fact there were gross inconsistencies between his original – potentially coerced – confession, and things he later said.
It was for these reasons a Milwaukee federal judge overturned his conviction last month, finding Dassey’s confession involuntary and describing the “misconduct” of his then-attorney Len Kachinsky as “indefensible” and an “extreme malfunction” of the Wisconsin legal system. The ruling meant the now 26 year-old would be “released from custody unless, within 90 days of the date of this decision, the State initiates proceedings to retry him.”
Unfortunately bad luck seems to be continuing to follow Dassey, as in a shock twist this week, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has launched an appeal against the ruling, which means Dassey will be staying in prison until there’s an outcome. If the appeal is successful, Dassey won’t be eligible for parole until 2048.
In a news release concerning the appeal, Schimel insisted Dassey’s conviction should never have been overturned.
“We believe the magistrate judge’s decision that Brendan Dassey’s confession was coerced by investigators, and that no reasonable court could have concluded otherwise, is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law. Two state courts carefully examined the evidence and properly concluded that Brendan Dassey’s confession to sexually assaulting and murdering Teresa Halbach with his uncle, Steven Avery, was voluntary, and the investigators did not use constitutionally impermissible tactics.”
Dassey’s family released a statement shortly later, expressing their disappointment at the appeal.
“We are disappointed in the State’s decision to prolong Brendan’s case by seeking an appeal. We look forward to continuing to defend his rights in court. Like Brendan, we remain grateful to his many supporters for their continued loyalty and strength.”
Comment: Do you think Brendan Dassey should be set free?