Lawyer confident Steve Avery would be freed without trial
Defense attorney Kathleen Zellner, who took on Steven Avery’s case in late-January, has said that her goal is not to secure her client a new trial — she wants to see him exonerated and his conviction vacated. “I told [Avery], ‘I’m a sprinter. I’m not a long-distance runner,'” Zellner recently told Newsweek. She took on Avery’s case shortly after he filed his appeal in January. There’s no guarantee that a judge will agree to hear it, but introducing evidence that clearly absolves Avery of the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach would make a retrial unnecessary. Zellner has been involved in the exoneration and release of 17 falsely convicted men, and has recently been making confident suggestions on Twitter that she can prove Avery was falsely convicted.
But what evidence can she and her team uncover to exonerate him outright?
Steven Avery served 18 years in prison for a 1985 wrongful sexual assault conviction. Aided by the Wisconsin Innocence Project, he was exonerated when improved DNA testing of evidence indicated that another man had committed the sexual assault.
After his release from prison in 2003, Avery filed a civil lawsuit for $36 million in damages against Manitowoc County, its sheriff, and its district attorney, but in 2005, while his suit was pending, Avery was arrested for the murder of Wisconsin photographer Teresa Halbach. He was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. The case is under appeal as of January 2016, and a new team of defense attorneys was announced, with Kathleen Zellner taking on his case in conjunction with the Midwest Innocence Project.
Avery’s legal trials, particularly the murder case and its related issues, are the focus of the Netflix original documentary Making a Murderer