Nephew in Making a Murderer Is Freed

Brandon Dassey will go free almost a decade after his conviction as appeals play out
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 14, 2016 2:30 PM CST
Nephew in Making a Murderer Is Freed
In this 2006 file photo, Brendan Dassey is escorted out of a Manitowoc County Circuit courtroom in Manitowoc, Wis.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

(Newser) – A man whose homicide conviction was overturned in a case profiled in the Netflix series Making a Murderer was ordered released Monday from federal prison while prosecutors appeal. US Magistrate Judge William Duffin ordered Brendan Dassey's release contingent upon him meeting multiple conditions, reports the AP. The judge ruled in August that investigators tricked Dassey into confessing he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape, kill, and mutilate photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. The state has appealed that ruling. Dassey's attorney, Steve Drizin, said he had not spoken yet with Dassey, but he hoped to have him out of prison in time for Thanksgiving. "That's what I'm focused on right now, getting him home, getting him with his family and then helping him to re-integrate back into society while his appeal plays out," Drizin said.

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A rep for Wisconsin AG Brad Schimel, who had asked that Dassey not be released pending the appeal, had no immediate response. Dassey was 16 when Halbach died. He's now 27. Duffin ruled in August that investigators made promises of leniency to Dassey and that no "fair-minded jurists could disagree." He cited one investigator's comment that "you don't have to worry about things," plus repeated comments like "it's OK" and that they already knew what happened. Schimel said investigators didn't promise leniency and specifically told Dassey that no promises could be made. Dassey was sentenced to life in 2007. Court documents describe him as a slow learner who had poor grades and has difficulty understanding language and speaking. Avery was convicted in a separate trial and was also sentenced to life in prison. He's pursuing his own appeal. Their cases gained national attention after Making a Murderer spawned widespread conjecture about their innocence. (Read more Making a Murderer stories.)

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