In an affidavit filed on Friday, Brendan Dassey’s brother says he lied on the stand regarding a key detail surrounding the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, a detail that may have helped convict Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery of her murder in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
“I remember, on October 31, 2005, seeing my Uncle Steven carry a white plastic bag to his burn barrel,” Blaine Dassey said in the affidavit. “I did not see a fire in the burn barrel. However, the police pressured me into saying that there was a fire in the burn barrel and visible smoke coming from the burn barrel. My testimony about the fire and smoke coming from the burn barrel was not true.”
Blaine Dassey’s brother Brendan was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 in Wisconsin for the death of Halbach, a photographer, in 2005. At age 16, Brendan told detectives he helped Avery rape and kill Halbach. Both he and Avery were featured in "Making a Murderer,” a 2015 Netflix documentary series which raised questions about the conviction, leading some to believe that Avery and Brendan are innocent. The documentary suggested that police might have planted evidence on Avery’s property and that investigators took advantage of Brendan’s limited intellect to coax him into confessing. Former district attorney Ken Kratz and investigator Tom Fassbender, both of whom worked the case, have refuted these claims.
Now, Brendan’s sibling is also accusing police of coaxing him. He claims in the new affidavit that police also told him to exaggerate the size of a bonfire on his uncle’s property.
“I remember, on October 31, 2005, seeing a bonfire behind my Uncle Steven's garage that was about 3-feet high,” Blaine stated. “The police tried to pressure me into saying that the flames of the bonfire were much higher, so at trial I testified that the flames of the bonfire were 4–5 feet high, but that testimony was not true. The police put the height of the flames in my head and I agreed to it.”
Prosecutors claimed that Avery and Brendan burned Halbach’s remains in the barrel that day and Blaine's testimony bolstered that claim in both his brother's and uncle’s separate trials.
In the recently filed affidavit, Brendan also states that on Halloween 2005, he spotted his brother Bobby driving a “bluish or greenish vehicle.” Halbach had a blue RAV4 car, which was found on Avery’s property days later.
Last month, the nation's highest court announced it will not take up Brendan’s case. Lawyers for the state of Wisconsin said that police used standard interviewing techniques when the teenager, now 28, confessed.
“Making a Murderer: Season 2” is currently in production.
[Photo: Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office]