Making a Murderer Subject Brendan Dassey’s Conviction Has Been Overturned; Showrunners React

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FILE - In this Aug. 2, 2007 file photo, Brendan Dassey is escorted into court for his sentencing in Manitowoc, Wis. The Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer” tells the story of a Wisconsin man wrongly convicted of sexual assault only to be accused, along with his nephew, of killing a photographer two years after being released. Steven Avery and his then 17-year-old nephew Dassey were accused of killing Teresa Halbach, a photographer who visited the Avery family salvage yard to take photos of a minivan on Halloween and was never seen alive again. (Herald Times Reporter/Eric Young via AP, Pool)
Dassey. Photo: Herald Times Reporter/Eric Young via AP, Pool

Making a Murderer subject Brendan Dassey’s murder conviction has been overturned, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. On Friday, a Milwaukee federal judge threw out the 26-year-old’s 2007 conviction for the murder of Teresa Halbach; the controversial trial was at the center of Netflix’s Emmy-nominated docuseries. According to the ruling, Dassey’s confession was “rendered involuntary” as a result of “false promises” from interrogators, as well as Dassey’s “age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult.” The judge also called Dassey’s original lawyer Len Kachinsky’s behavior “inexcusable both tactically and ethically” and “an affront to the principles of justice.” Dassey, who was 16 at the time of the murder, could be released from prison in 90 days, unless the state of Wisconsin files legal papers to retry him. Dassey’s uncle, Steven Avery, was also convicted for Halbach’s murder in a separate trial, and has been locked in a legal battle for his exoneration. Netflix recently renewed Making a Murderer for a new batch of episodes that will follow updates in both the Avery and Dassey cases.

Update, August 13: Making a Murderer showrunners Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos have issued a statement regarding yesterday’s ruling on Dassey’s conviction. “Today there was a major development for the subjects in our story and this recent news shows the criminal justice system at work,” they said. “As we have done for the past ten years, we will continue to document the story as it unfolds, and follow it wherever it may lead.” The duo are currently working on season two of the Emmy-nominated show.

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