Making a Murderer's Brendan Dassey Ordered Freed

Judge finds his conviction was unconstitutional
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 12, 2016 4:25 PM CDT
US Court Orders Release of Nephew in 'Making a Murderer'
A judge overturned the conviction of Brendan Dassey, profiled in Netflix's “Making a Murderer,” on Friday.   (Herald Times Reporter/Eric Young via AP, Pool)

(Newser) – A federal court in Wisconsin on Friday overturned the conviction of a Brendan Dassey, who was found guilty of helping his uncle Steven Avery kill Teresa Halbach in a case profiled in the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer. The court overturned Dassey's conviction and ordered him freed within 90 days unless prosecutors decide to retry him, the AP reports. Judge William Duffin said in his ruling that investigators made false promises to Dassey by assuring him "he had nothing to worry about." "These repeated false promises, when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey's age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey's confession involuntary," Duffin wrote.

Dassey confessed to helping Avery carry out the rape and murder of Halbach, but attorneys argued that his constitutional rights were violated throughout the investigation. Dassey was 16 when Halbach was killed in 2005 after she went to the Avery family auto salvage yard to photograph some vehicles. Avery was tried and convicted separately in the homicide. Both Avery and Dassey are serving separate life sentences. Dassey's case burst into the public's consciousness with the popularity of the Making a Murderer documentary that debuted in December. Authorities involved in the case have called the 10-hour series biased, while the filmmakers have stood by their work. (Read more Making a Murderer stories.)

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