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'Potential To Undo The Whole Case': Steven Avery Wins Appeal, Could Mean New Trial

Avery's lawyer Kathleen Zellner says the Wisconsin Appellate Court ruling opens the door for testing of bones believed to be Teresa Halbach's, which she says will prove they were planted on her client's property.

By Gina Tron

"Making a Murderer" subject Steven Avery's legal team says they've won a court victory that could result in a new trial for their client. 

Late last year, attorney Kathleen Zellner filed a motion asking Wisconsin's Appellate Court to remand the case back to a state circuit court in order for bones, believed to be murder victim Teresa Halbach’s, to be tested for DNA. Zellner believes that testing will prove the bones were planted behind Avery's trailer, thus exonerating him.

Earlier this year, the court denied that motion but Zellner filed another one in February. On Monday, Zellner announced the second motion was successful. 

"The appellate court granted our motion to supplement the record with the evidence the bones were destroyed," Zellner told Newsweek. "The case is being remanded back to the circuit court to conduct proceedings, which can include a hearing. The circuit court can grant a new trial, or if not, back to appellate court who can reverse the conviction and/or grant a new trial.”

She added that the bones have the "potential to undo the whole case, so it is a big win."

Zellner said in a tweet last year that testing the bones “will prove the murder and mutilation occurred in the Manitowoc County Gravel Pit and the bones were planted in Mr. Avery's burn pit to frame him.” She said she believes it was the real killer, and not the cops, who planted the bones.

She was even more jubilant about the Appellate Court ruling on Twitter. 

“We Won!!!!!! Back to the circuit court,” Zellner tweeted. In another tweet, she wrote, “The DREAM LIVES ON for Steven Avery to be FREE AGAIN.”

Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, were both sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for the murder of Halbach, a photographer, two years earlier. The first season of the Netflix documentary examined the case and raised the possibility that they were wrongfully convicted, suggesting police mishandled the case, including taking advantage of Dassey's limited intellect in order to get him to confess. 

The second season, released late last year, focused on Zellner’s efforts to get Avery exonerated. If that were to happen, it would be his second exoneration. He had been convicted in 1985 of sexual assault and attempted murder, a conviction that was later overturned.

Now, the bone evidence can be submitted, which could possibly result in a second trial and the opportunity to present evidence not previously brought up in the first trial.