SPOILER ALERT : There are a lot of details on Making a Murderer in this article, some of which you might call spoilers. Consider yourself warned. Although you should have watched the show already!
Yep, like so many of my fellow earthlings, I got sucked into the Making a Murderer madness. My girlfriend and I went through the 10 episodes in about a week (yes, that is fast for us).
When we started watching the documentary, we practically had no knowledge of what it was about. Since Christmas, I’d seen a multitude of Tweets and blog posts on the case, but I wanted to watch the series first, then read them.
And now, after watching the series of 10 episodes, after having read many of those blog posts and ensuing comments, and even listened to podcasts and watched YouTube videos, the biggest question I have is this.
How can it be that, in 2016, in what can arguably be called the richest, most powerful, most advanced country in the world, the country that brought us so many Nobel prize winners, so many great minds and voices, how can it be that Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are sitting in jail as you read these lines?
Oh, and I have another question.
How many others are there?
Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are poor. They aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer – their I.Q. tested in the 70 range; at age 16, Dassey had the reading skills of a fourth grader. Unremarkable fellows, to say the least.
Nevertheless, Avery and Dassey were lucky enough to draw the attention of two New York City filmmakers who worked on their story for 10 years. They managed to sell their series to Netflix, which allowed millions of people across the world to learn about Avery and Dassey.
And, after coming into some money as retribution for being wrongfully imprisoned for 18 years, Avery was able to hire two sharp attorneys who put their heart and soul into his defense.
But how many others never had this chance? How many others were not given a voice? How many men and women, poor in money and intellect, are sitting in jail at this exact moment for a crime they did not commit? How many of them were framed by dirty cops who had sworn to protect them? How many of them had their lover or alleged best friend turn against them when pressured by detectives into giving false testimony?
If the answer is one, it’s already too much.
We already know that multiple American convicts have been executed, only to have evidence of their innocence come to light after their death. Will it happen again? Unfortunately, it probably will.
Yet I believe there is no reason, in 2016, for a country like the United States to send its citizens to jail without proving beyond any reasonable doubt that he or she is guilty.
DETECTIVES OF THE .COM
One good thing that has come out of the success of this documentary series and the attention it garnered is that a lot of people are talking about the case. People are discussing the justice system’s faults. That’s a start.
The amount of words written and spoken about the Avery case is staggering. Makes me wonder how bad it would have gotten if Twitter and Reddit had been around during the O.J. Simpson trial.
You can’t log on to a news website without seeing an article or a video report on Steven Avery or his lawyers or his family. They’re everywhere.
But it’s not only journalists and news anchors providing this material. People from all corners of the globe are offering their opinions and theories about Avery’s guilt or innocence. They are reviewing the evidence, reading court transcripts, searching for that one fact that was missed during the six-week trial which may close this case one way or another.
The detectives of the .COM world are hard at work. For better or worse.
At the end of episode 9, Jerry Buting, one of Steven Avery’s attorney’s, says something that has marked me :
We could all say that we’re never gonna commit a crime. But we can never guarantee that someone will never accuse us of a crime. And if that happens, good luck in this criminal justice system.
Doesn’t that just chill you to the bone? I know it give me the creeps. Big-time.
How can the people of a country which sends soldiers all over the planet to enforce democracy and secure freedom for foreign populations accept that, in their town, one of their own may be walking home from work, minding their own business, and get arrested for murder?
Also, why isn’t this a topic of conversation in the presidential election? To me, this is an issue which affects a lot more American citizens than Hillary Clinton’s emails or the status of Mexican immigrants.
That’s my Canadian opinion.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a supporter of the death penalty. Being a rational, scientific man, I trusted that forensics could prove the guilt of the accused beyond any doubt.
Now, after watching this series, and learning about many other similar cases through my research, I can’t say with overwhelming confidence that the death penalty needs to stay. Because forensics can’t guarantee that Man won’t step in and mess everything up.
If a jury of twelve can ignore the evidence presented, toss aside the mere concept of reasonable doubt to find a man AND his 16 year-old nephew guilty of murder, how can we be 100 % sure that the men sitting on death row deserve to die?
Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey may be exonerated and freed at some point in the future. But there’s no bringing back the ones who’ve received a lethal injection.
SO, ARE THEY GUILTY?
Did Avery and Dassey kill Theresa Halbach?
Good question. And the answer, in my honest opinion, is not as clear as I thought it was when I watched the series and yelled profanities at my TV set.
I’m not ready to say they did or did not do it.
Since the filmmakers had to cram a six week trial into three and a half hours of footage, they left out a lot of stuff. When questioned about this recently, they stated that they presented whatever evidence which both the prosecutors and the defense team had deemed to be most important.
What I am ready to say, though, based on what I saw, is that the jury should have had enough reasonable doubt to free both men. Send the prosecutors and the investigators back to the drawing board. Maybe force them to look at other possible suspects, which they never did. Their focus was on Avery the whole time.
The filmmakers don’t offer up any other potential suspects. The judge prohibited Avery’s attorneys from offering an alternative, “third party” theory during the trial. Now it seems that Avery’s defense team had a list of four potential suspects.
The web is loaded with theories and names of possible suspects. From his jail cell, Steven Avery has pointed the finger at members of his family.
Some people have even stated that a serial killer named Edward Wayne Edwards was spotted in the courthouse during the Avery trial and that he may be Theresa Halbach’s killer. Edwards was captured in Wisconsin in 2009, and died in April of 2011. The theory seems far-fetched, if you ask me.
Heck, even I was ready to name a suspect.
But I won’t.
I prefer to let you watch the series and do some reading yourself, so you can form your own opinion on the matter.
After you do, come back and let me know what you think.