The second season of “Making a Murderer” has taken a second look at the convictions of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey and nearly everyone invovled in the case deserves another look — at least in the eyes of Avery’s post-conviction lawyer Kathleen Zellner.
The first season of the show, released in 2015, raised questions about the convictions of Avery and Dassey, who were both sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for the death of photographer Teresa Halbach two years earlier. The documentary suggested that police might have planted evidence on Avery’s property, and that investigators took advantage of Brendan Dassey’s limited intellect in order to coax him into confessing.
The second season has taken an even deeper dive into the murder and the subsequent convictions. And, more than that, Steven Avery’s post-conviction lawyer Zellner is highlighting all the people that she believes weren’t looked at and questioned enough back in 2007. There are others who may have been less than honest about what they know about the case.
Here are some of those people:
Bobby Dassey, brother of Brendan Dassey, was a star witness for the prosecution in Avery's trial, but Zellner is now claiming he lied during the testimony he made at that time.
“Bobby Dassey was lying,” Zellner said in the series.
She said she obtained an affidavit from another Dassey brother, Bryan Dassey, which claims Bobby told him that he saw Halbach leave Avery’s property.
That contradicts Bobby's original testimony, in which he claims he saw her walking towards his uncle’s home.
“Perhaps he was pressured into that with threats of prosecution,” Zellner tweeted.
Zellner also claimed there is evidence that shows Bobby downloaded violent porn, some of which included decapitated women.
“We have found thousands and thousands of images that could only have been accessed by Bobby Dassey,” she said. She showed a document from her investigation team that showed he made internet searches like “11 year old sex,” “rotten girl,” “gun to head,” and “f--- preteen girl.”
“Torture, bondage, pedophilia, nightmare stuff,” she said. “Fascination with death … decapitated girls, things like that. I mean, this is astounding.”
Zellner has come up with the hypothesis that Bobby Dassey and the Dassey brothers’ step-dad Scott Tadych (pictured) may have attacked Halbach together after Halbach left the property. Zellner put forth a motion in 2017 that claims to have evidence that supposedly puts Tadych and Bobby at the same location as Teresa Halbach during the last phone call she received before her death.
Tadych, who has adamantly denied having anything to do with Halbach’s death, has reacted to these allegations with rage.
In a phone call between Avery and Barb Tadych, the Dassey brothers’ mom, shown in Episode 10, "Trust No One," Scott Tadych can be heard in the background and he has quite a temper. He denies having anything to do with the photographer’s death and says, “F___ Steven Avery. He is a piece of s___. He’s been all his f___ing life. … I wasn’t even on that f___ing property that day, you goddamn idiot.”
He has a history of violence, including being convicted of a misdemeanor battery charge in 1997, according to online court records. Child abuse charges were originally filed against him regarding that case, but were later dismissed. Tadych is also an avid deer hunter, as made evident both by the series and by the photos on his Facebook. According to Zellner’s theory, a deer hunter would make sense as a culprit behind Halbach’s murder because deer hunters know how to dismember a body, as Halbach’s was.
While not being fingered as someone suspcious by Zellner in Halbach’s death, the aforementioned phone call between her and Avery appears to reveal that she had knowledge that Halbach left the Avery property, despite the fact that her son Bobby Dassey testified otherwise. The theory that prosecutors put forth during Avery’s trial was that Halbach never left, and that she was killed by Avery while at the location.
She also appeared defensive over Zellner’s theory that her husband and one of her songs could have something to do with it.
“So she’s going to take down my f____ing family again?” she asks on the phone call.
Barb Tadych also claims on that phone call that she didn’t even have internet at the time of Halbach’s murder, despite the finding of porn on her son’s hard drive.
Through her motion, Zellner has also pointed the finger at Ryan Hilligas, Halbach’s boyfriend at the time of her death, as a possible suspect. Hilligas was heavily involved in the search efforts for Halbach but Zellner claims that the prosecution and authorities didn’t question him enough after Halbach’s murder.
Before Halbach’s body was found, her loved ones began to get worried after she didn’t show up for work. Her phone was called and her voicemail was full. In Zellner’s motion she claims that Hilligas “knew the password to her voice mailbox, deleted several of Ms. Halbach’s voice messages to buy himself time before Teresa’s family and friends realized that she was missing and began searching for her.”
Zellner referred to Hilligas as the “killer” in her motion and claimed he could have planted Halbach’s vehicle on Avery’s property.
Some of Halbach’s family, however, have said that they think that the right people have been convicted.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Get all your true crime news from Oxygen. Coverage of the latest true crime stories and famous cases explained, as well as the best TV shows, movies and podcasts in the genre. And don't miss our own podcast, Martinis & Murder!