Netflix"s Making a Murderer tells a chilling story: Steven Avery the Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, was sent out to jail for 18 years for a crime the didn"t commit, just to be exit after a an extensive legal battle. But once he"s lastly let go, simply a couple of years later he"s thrown into prison again because that a various crime that, the documentary argues, Avery likewise may not have actually committed.

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In the first case, in 1985, Avery was accused that trying to rape and also kill a woman named Penny Beerntsen, after she identified him together her attacker. DNA proof later exonerated him. However there were several mistakes in the investigation. Most notably, police seemed to skip Gregory Allen, a man who was deemed so dangerous the he to be under consistent surveillance — except on the work Beerntsen was attacked — and also was later convicted that a sex-related assault, for which he"s still serving time.

Related Netflix"s making a Murderer exposes flaws that go far past Steven Avery"s trial

Then in 2007, Avery to be convicted of killing Teresa Halbach, a photographer who routinely took pictures at the Avery family"s junkyard and also was last supposedly seen alive by Avery. The prosecution, led by Calumet County ar Attorney Ken Kratz, relied on number of pieces of evidence for this 2nd conviction: Halbach"s SUV was found hidden ~ above the Avery family"s property, the SUV had Avery"s blood in it, a bullet through Halbach"s DNA was found in Avery"s garage, and also Halbach"s spare SUV keys were uncovered in Avery"s trailer, among other clues.

To casual observers, it would seem like an open-and-shut case. However the 10-episode documentary series questions all these piece of evidence, forcing the audience come rethink just how valid also the proof we favor to think is most reliable — DNA proof — might not in fact be trustworthy. It likewise suggests, convincingly, that there was a grand conspiracy versus Avery, positing the after his relax in the 1985 case, Manitowoc county officials were so embarrassed by his exoneration, and felt so endangered by a sue Avery filed versus them, the they did every little thing in their strength to frame an innocent male for a second crime.

But Making a Murderer depends on a the majority of tropes that room all too typical of true crime documentaries, including leaving the end some significant pieces of evidence that would certainly hinder its in its entirety thesis the Avery is innocent. And it does this also though it can not need to: also if Avery is guilty of the second crime, the criminal righteousness system plainly failed him — not simply through his wrongful conviction in the an initial case, yet through the shoddy process that caused his conviction in the second.

Here are the huge points the the documentary, the evidence it left out, and why the ultimately can not matter whether or not it tells the full story of Avery"s case.

Making a Murderer hinges a lot on the doubts surrounding DNA evidence


In Making a Murderer, Avery"s instance largely comes down to one item of evidence: a blood vial. It"s the main item offered to discredit what is maybe the most damning item of evidence versus Avery — his blood, found in Teresa Halbach"s SUV.

The blood vial had actually been organized as evidence by Manitowoc ar officials because Avery"s vault arrest in 1985. Avery"s lawyers argue the this vial was supplied to tree the blood in Halbach"s car in the 2007 case. The documentary"s biggest moment comes as soon as the lawyers show that package containing the vial was cut open and, in a shocking reveal, the there to be a puncture the dimension of a hypodermic needle in the vial"s top — something the ar lab says it didn"t and also wouldn"t do.

Suddenly the conspiracy against Avery i do not care believable come the audience. Perhaps a sheriff"s deputy yes, really did sneak right into the county lab, traction out some blood from the vial, and also plant it in Halbach"s SUV. And if that happened, what else is possible?

From that point, the documentary chips away at the other evidence in the case. Here are a few examples:

Police claim they uncovered a vital to Halbach"s SUV in Avery"s home. But the key was only uncovered after lot of searches, and contained just Avery"s DNA, no Halbach"s — also though Halbach would have used the an essential for years. Thus, Avery"s defense argues that the vital was planted, raising concerns like: Why would certainly Avery clean the key of any kind of traces that Halbach"s DNA but leave his own DNA top top it? Why would certainly Avery clean the an essential but leaving it in his home? and why to be the an essential conveniently discovered after lot of searches?Law enforcement officials to speak they uncovered a bullet through Halbach"s DNA on that in Avery"s garage, arguing that it"s evidence that Avery shot and killed Halbach in there. However if that"s true, why couldn"t police find any type of other sign of Halbach"s DNA — not in any kind of of the piles that junk in the garage or in the cracks of the garage floor that they literally busted open? Shooting someone to death is an extremely messy. Room we to believe that Avery cleaned increase his garage of any traces that Halbach"s DNA however somehow forgot a bullet?Prosecutors present Halbach"s bones together evidence, claiming the they were discovered in a fire pit right external of Avery"s home. Yet bones were additionally found around the Avery property, saying that at least some the the bones were moved. For this reason why would certainly Avery leaving bones right external his house after making initiatives to relocate them roughly his very own family"s property?Tests found no indicators of EDTA, one anticoagulant provided to keep the blood in Avery"s vial, in the blood found in Halbach"s SUV. The prosecution supplied this finding together proof the the blood uncovered in Halbach"s SUV was no the same as the blood discovered in Avery"s vial. Yet a forensic skilled testified because that the defense the the test because that EDTA is so faulty the a recognize of no EDTA could additionally mean the check wasn"t good enough.The prosecution developed much of its initial situation on the testimony that Brendan Dassey, Avery"s nephew, that allegedly aided Avery kill Halbach. The start announced Dassey"s supposed confession in a huge press conference, implying that Dassey had listed a highly in-depth account of what happened. But the footage of the confession later said that investigators basically pushed Dassey, who by his own admission is not an extremely smart, right into confessing by barraging him through leading questions. In fact, when Dassey lawyered up, he withdrew his confession, and the prosecution didn"t use it in trial due to its questionable nature.

All the questions posed by this occurrence are do believable by the puncture in the old blood vial. If it"s believable that police may have actually planted Avery"s blood in Halbach"s car, what else are they willing to do? tree a key? A bullet? Bones? The documentary pushes ~ above this type of questioning to develop reasonable doubt in the audience"s mind, lot like a an excellent defense lawyer would for a jury.

But the documentary additionally manages to construct up a parallel feeling of mistrust by mirroring that the Manitowoc county Sheriff"s Office had a potential motive for framing Avery: the embarrassment and financial threat they faced after accusing that of a crime he didn"t commit.

The display makes you mistrust the Manitowoc county Sheriff"s Office early on

Dean Strang, one of the attorneys who defends Steven Avery in making a Murderer. Note Hoffman/Milwaukee journal Sentinel/TNS via Getty photos The start of the documentary doesn"t emphasis on Avery"s 2007 killing trial, instead looking ago at the 1980s, once the Manitowoc ar Sheriff"s Office accused — and also courts convicted — Avery of an test murder and also rape that he didn"t commit.

In that previous case, Avery to be convicted in 1985 and also then exonerated by DNA evidence 18 years later, in 2003. But there were indicators that the Manitowoc ar Sheriff"s Office neglected proof that can have freed Avery from prison earlier.

Particularly, sheriffs acquired a contact in the mid-1990s native a detective in surrounding Brown County, Wisconsin, who declared to have a man in custody who claimed that Manitowoc County to be holding someone for a crime this person had committed. It"s never ever proven who the guy in Brown County"s custody was, or even if it is he had to do anything with Avery"s case.

But because Avery was the just really high-profile situation in Manitowoc County because that years, the documentary and Avery"s lawyers argue, quite convincingly, the the phone contact was around Avery — and also they maintain that if this advancement had to be presented to a court earlier, Avery might have to be freed indigenous prison practically 10 years before he was in reality let go.

The display heavily says that this three efficiently kept Avery in prison for virtually 10 years much longer than the should have been

Building on this, the show starts to emphasis on a few Manitowoc ar deputies that were connected in some method with the phone call: Andrew Colborn took the call, James Lenk to be his supervisor, and also Kenneth Peterson was the sheriff in ~ the time. The present heavily says that these three effectively kept Avery in jail for almost 10 years much longer than he should have been by neglecting to investigate the phone call. And when Avery later sued Manitowoc County for his wrongful imprisonment, these three men were deposed.

As it transforms out, these facts and figures become really important to Avery"s killing trial in 2007. It would at some point be Lenk, for example, who discovered the vital for Halbach"s SUV in Avery"s home. Lenk was likewise at the scene of the SUV once it was an initial found top top the Avery family"s residential or commercial property — a secret circumstance, due to the fact that he never ever signed in to the scene but did sign out. And Lenk appeared to be at Avery"s garage throughout a search before the bullet with Halbach"s DNA was found.

Additionally, and damningly, Manitowoc county officials were supposed to be maintaining their distance from Avery"s 2007 investigation. At an early stage on, the county and state had realized the problem of attention that Manitowoc County"s authorized presented because Avery to be suing ar officials because that his wrongful imprisonment from 1985 to 2003.

Investigators tackled this conflict of interest by relying an ext on police from various other counties and also requiring the officials from other counties supervise Manitowoc county deputies when they are involved in, for example, a search.

But that reportedly didn"t protect against someone choose Lenk — among the ar officials v the greatest potential because that a problem of interest — indigenous taking component in some specifically important searches.

Making a Murderer supplies all the doubt created by these facts to poke holes in the 2007 case against Avery. That never offers hard proof that Avery is innocent, yet the problem of interest and also questionable forensic evidence actors what could be taken into consideration reasonable doubt.

The documentary achieves this in part by leave out evidence that may suggest Avery was guilty


Documentaries present a narrative through a suggest of view. Lock aren"t meant to current every truth or recite background — act so would be difficult or impossibly boring. And also that point of check out is the factor that with every documentary, there are criticisms.

Last June, Netflix"s documentary around the singer Nina Simone, What Happened, miss Simone?, was criticized because that letting she husband, a man who abused her, tell and shape parts of her story. Also last year, family members that Amy Winehouse take it umbrage with the method they were depicted in Amy. And if girlfriend look earlier to one of the many incendiary documentaries in current memory, Michael Moore"s Fahrenheit 9/11 to be a pincushion for criticism on how it depicted the bush administration.

Making a Murderer isn"t any type of different. It didn"t current every solitary moment of clip from Avery"s trial, every solitary quote from the people who were interviewed, or every single detail of the case. If the had, it would be tremendously boring and hundreds of hours long.

But Kratz, the key state prosecutor who suggested the case versus Avery, insurance claims — in addition to the Manitowoc sheriff"s room — that the documentary does more than just leave out extraneous details. He says it intentionally omitted crucial facts.

"They don’t even tell you 80 percent of the proof that the jury saw. They purposely kept all of that evidence that I verified the jury the absolutely discounted this evidence-planting theory," Kratz called Maxim.

As Making a Murderer has got popularity online, Kratz has been talk to publication like Maxim, People, and The Wrap come recount key facts the believes were intentionally excluded native the docu-series:

Avery"s animal cruelty was glossed over: Kratz defines that Making a Murderer downplayed the cat Avery collection on fire, that Avery"s treatment of the cat was much more sinister and showed that Avery is capable of excessive violence. In the first episode that the series, Avery talks about goofing off, throw the cat end a fire, and also seeing it capture flame. Kratz paints a different picture, informing The Wrap that the event was much more sinister. "He soaked his cat in petrol or oil, and put the on a fire to clock it suffer."

Kratz declared that Avery"s DNA was found under the hood the Halbach"s car: The series, and Avery"s guilt, hinges on the idea that police planted DNA proof — his blood — to incriminate him. However Kratz described to Maxim that Avery"s DNA, via his sweat, was discovered on the hood that Halbach"s car. The said:

Avery’s DNA (not blood) to be on the victim’s hood latch (under her hood in her hidden SUV). The SUV was at the crime lab due to the fact that …how go his DNA obtain under the hood if Avery never ever touched her car? perform the cops have a vial of Avery’s sweat come "plant" under the hood?

Kratz stated Halbach"s phone, camera, and PDA were found shed on Avery"s property.

He additionally said that Halbach"s this was discovered in the fire pit.

Kratz claimed that ballistics determined that the bullet discovered in the garage to be fired through Avery"s rifle: Kratz describes that there"s no means the police can have planted the bullet, because the gun that fired it remained in an proof locker. The police would certainly have had actually to obtain the gun the end of evidence, fire the gun, tree the bullet on the work of the investigation, and also return the gun come the locker. Kratz told The Wrap:

The bullet had actually to it is in fired prior to —did the cops loaned his gun, fire a bullet, recover the bullet before planting the SUV, climate hang on come the bullet for 4 months in instance they must plant that 4 months later???

Avery stalked Halbach in ~ her occupational (Autotrader), follow to Kratz.

Avery referred to as Halbach 3 times top top the job she walk missing: Avery allegedly target Halbach the work she went lacking and referred to as her three times. "For 2 of those phone call calls, phone records suggested he supplied the star-67 feature, i beg your pardon is dialed come hide a caller"s identity," new York"s daily News reported.

The third call, Kratz claims, was an alibi speak to deliberately make after Avery allegedly abducted her.

Jodi Stachowski, Avery"s ex-fiancée, said Avery to be a "monster," abused her, and threatened to kill her. The documentary gift Stachowski together a strong supporter the Avery, yet she told HLN the he was violent towards her. "He"d beat me every the time, punch me, litter me versus the wall," Stachowski said. "I tried come leave, the smashed the window out that my auto so ns couldn"t leave him."

Stachowski said she believed Avery was qualified of death Halbach, and that the did it. She claimed that she didn"t desire to it is in in making a Murderer, and that Avery endangered her into saying good things around him in the documentary. "He called me and also told me … the if i didn"t to speak anything an excellent and nice about him, I"d pay," Stachowski claimed.

While in prison, Avery accused told one more inmate that he wanted to construct a torture chamber.

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There"s additionally evidence left the end of make a Murderer that helps Avery"s case, including, according to Avery lawyer Dean Strang, signs the DNA proof under the hood that Halbach"s auto came indigenous contaminated gloves, and also a forensic anthropologist"s testimony that an open up fire couldn"t generate sufficient heat come burn a body in the means Halbach"s bones were destroyed. (The AV Club detailed several of the missing pro-Avery evidence.)

Making a Murderer"s creators answers to objections over absent evidence

Following the accusations, the documentary"s creators responded to online criticisms in a tweetstorm ~ above Wednesday, January 20. Here"s what castle said.

Why didn"t Making a Murderer incorporate the evidence discovered under the hood of Halbach"s car?