Review of “Making a Murderer”

“Making a Murderer” is a documentary series, filmed and edited over the course of 10 years by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, that covers the Stephen Avery case of 2005.

Stephen Avery was originally falsely accused of the rape of Penny Beerntsen in 1985, only being exonerated after 18 years in 2003 when re-examined DNA evidence proved him innocent. Once he got out, he sued Manitowoc County for $36 million to make up for his lost years. But then, in 2005, just a couple years later, he was arrested for the murder of Teresa Halbach.

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Steven Avery’s mugshot from his first arrest in 1985. (Public domain)

The docuseries sets out to explain the blatant mishandling of Avery’s case and how Avery would appear to actually be innocent for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Across 10 episodes the docuseries shows evidence upon evidence submitted by Avery’s defense lawyers, Dean Strang and Jerry Buting – the best in Wisconsin – that serve to prove his innocence.

While much of the evidence put forward almost yells for Avery’s innocence, one piece stands out, and that’s when investigators seem to have to coerced Brendan Dassey, Avery’s nephew, into confessing against him with a now proven-to-be-made-up story. Dassey has an IQ of between 69-73 (for comparison, Forrest Gump’s IQ is 75), and when you see the investigators push this kid to give the truth, it appears that they’re pushing him to give the truth they want to hear as they keep telling him that they already know what he did and continue to feed him information of what he had apparently done – resulting in a fake, bizarre story made-up by Dassey in panic.

In the end, because of the huge mess, Dassey and Avery were both convicted to life in prison by jury. Avery has no chance for early dismissal and Dassey is able for early release in 2048.

While the ending isn’t happy and the entire docuseries is highly bleak, I would still very much recommend watching “Making a Murderer.” It highlights many clear flaws in our U.S. justice system that need to be fixed. If a man can so easily be set-up to be a convicted murderer by one county, what’s stopping it from happening to you or me?

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Steven Avery along with the other suspects of the 1985 Penny Beerntsen case. Photo from Netflix.

A few weeks back, a Change.org petition was made with over 300,000 signatures that called
for the White House to pardon Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. However, the president has responded and explained that he cannot pardon Avery and Dassey since they’re state prisoners and the president can only pardon federal prisoners. Scott Walker, Republican Governor of Wisconsin, is the only man who can pardon Avery and
Dassey, but he has refused to do so in his long belief that the state government should not pardon prisoners.

Now, the only way Avery and Dassey may get released is if new evidence is found to prove them innocent. Many around the world have tried to help free them, including an Australian woman who was billed $6,000 for shipping of the entire Avery trial transcript to her home. However, it would appear that a final hope rests in testing the supposed blood of Avery’s found in Halbach’s car for EDTA (a chemical used to preserve blood in vials) to prove that it was planted by police. Until that happens, it would seem that we can only do what we can from our homes and pray that Avery and Dassey are either released or accurately proven to be guilty.

I give “Making a Murderer” a 9.5/10.

Author: klauer46100

Matt Klauer is a sophomore Global Section editor for The Eye. He’s originally from Jacksonville, Florida, and is an out-of-the-box thinker, an enjoyer of precious sleep, and wants to colonize Mars sometime in his life. He can be contacted at klauer46100@sas.edu.sg.

One thought

  1. What did you think of how the story was revealed? What about cinematography? It has a repetitive nature that was distracting for me. The use of the same slow shots of abandoned cars in a field didn’t add much to the show.

    Like

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