The teen at the center of the Netflix series "Making a Murderer" wants the Supreme Court to take his case.
The Supreme Court’s justices will determine in a closed-door meeting Thursday whether to hear Brendan Dassey’s case. The justices could announce as early as Monday if they will weigh in on Dassey's controversial confession and conviction.
Dassey was 16 when he confessed in 2006 to helping his uncle Steven Avery rape and kill photographer Teresa Halbach one year prior. "Making a Murderer" focuses on the Halbach murder, and questioned if Dassey was pressured into a false confession.
His lawyers said this confession, which was taped and aired in portions of the series, shouldn’t have been used to convict him, according to The Associated Press. Court filings revealed that Dassey’s IQ is about 80. “Making a Murderer” pointed out that he is a slow learner.
Dassey and Avery are both serving life sentences in Wisconsin for the 2005 murder. "Making A Murderer" raised questions about the conviction, leading many to believe Avery and Dassey are innocent. The documentary suggested that police might have planted evidence on Avery’s Manitowoc County property and that investigators took advantage of Dassey’s limited intellect to coax him into confessing.
“Did you, huh?” Dassey’s mom asked him on the phone in one episode after his confession, referring to Halbach's death.
“Not really,” he replied.
“What do you mean ‘not really?’”
“They got to my head,” he said.
If the Supreme Court decides to take the case, it is expected to be heard in autumn.
“This case is emblematic of this larger problem of false confessions and coerced confessions,” Laura Nirider, one of Dassey’s lawyers, told the Associated Press. “I think there’s widespread interest in the problem and widespread recognition that something needs to be done.”
Avery previously served 18 years in prison for the wrongful conviction of sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beerntsen, before being fully exonerated in 2003 through DNA evidence. He filed a suit against the county two years before he was arrested as a suspect in the Halbach murder.
Many authorities and prosecutors in Wisconsin have called the Netflix documentary biased in favor of Avery and Dassey, as reported by the New York Times. They claim the series leaves out crucial facts in the case. Avery is pursuing his own appeal to get out of prison.
[Photo: Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office]