If Netflix was a court, Wisconsin inmate Steven Avery would probably already be free. Avery, who is serving a life sentence for the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, is the focus of true-crime series Making a Murderer, and more than 150,000 people have been convinced that he is innocent, the Independent reports. A Change.org petition denouncing Avery's "unconstitutional mistreatment at the hands of corrupt local law enforcement" and calling for a presidential pardon has over 155,000 signatures, while a White House petition seeking pardons for Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, has close to 20,000 signatures. The White House will have to respond to the latter petition if it hits its goal of 100,000 signatures by Jan. 16, People reports.
Avery, 53, served 18 years in prison for sexual assault and was released in 2003 after his conviction was overturned on the basis of DNA evidence. He was arrested for the Halbach murder after he had already filed a $36 million lawsuit over the wrongful conviction and has always maintained his innocence, the Independent notes. Making a Murderer has been a huge hit on Netflix since its Dec. 18 release, though former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, who prosecuted Avery for murder, has complained that the series misled viewers by leaving out evidence implicating Avery, Vulture reports. "You don't want to muddy up a perfectly good conspiracy movie with what actually happened," he told People last week. (Click for more from the prosecutor.)