A Blow for Making a Murderer's Key Defendant

Steven Avery denied a new trial
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 4, 2017 7:33 AM CDT
No New Trial for Making a Murderer Defendant
In this March 13, 2007 file photo, Steven Avery listens to testimony in the courtroom at the Calumet County Courthouse in Chilton, Wis.   (AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool, File)

The Wisconsin man convicted in the killing of a woman that was the focus of Netflix's Making a Murderer was denied a request for a new trial Tuesday. Steven Avery had argued that his conviction in the 2005 death of photographer Teresa Halbach was based on planted evidence and false testimony. Sheboygan County Circuit Judge Angela Sutkiewicz said in her ruling that based on the evidence presented so far, Avery failed to establish grounds to warrant a new trial. Avery argued that new scientific tests cast doubt on evidence submitted at his trial, presented alternate theories about the killing, and questioned motives of police, reports the AP. The Green Bay Press-Gazette has a point-by-point breakdown of Avery's attorneys' claims and Sutkiewicz's reasoning here.

Given the totality of evidence submitted at the trial, no reasonable probability exists that a different result would be reached at a new trial, the judge said. Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel praised the decision, saying it "brings us one step closer to providing justice to Teresa Halbach's family." He said the Department of Justice would continue to vigorously defend Avery's conviction. The Post-Crescent reports that Avery's team intends to try to get Sutkiewicz's ruling vacated; last month the state's Department of Justice agreed to allow additional scientific testing to go forward, and per the agreement, any relevant results can be added to his petition. "The scientific testing is not completed, we remain optimistic that Mr. Avery's conviction will be vacated," says attorney Kathleen Zellner. (More Steven Avery stories.)

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