The docuseries Making a Murderer brought Steven Avery’s longtime battle with the Manitowoc Police Department and the judicial system to the forefront and Netflix another hit. The 10-part series highlights the mistakes, twists, and turns that resulted in Avery’s rape conviction being overturned after 18 years.
The saga turned into a murder mystery when just as Avery was due to receive monetary compensation from Manitowoc County for his wrongful conviction, photographer Teresa Halbach was murdered. The evidence quickly pointed to Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey who were both convicted. They claim they were framed and have filed multiple appeals.
But while the series highlights genuine concerns about corruption and conflicts of interests, damning details were left out by filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos that puts their motives and Avery and Dassey’s innocence in doubt.
Downplayed Animal Cruelty Details
In the pilot episode, goofing off leads to the family cat landing in a fire pit resulting in Avery spending some time in jail for animal cruelty. The fact that the cat was doused with gasoline then set on fire was completely left out.
Phone records indicate that Avery called Halbach’s employer, Auto Trader Magazine, and requested Halbach’s presence using a fake name on the same day she was killed, but that fact didn’t make it through the editing process. Halbach had photographed cars at the Avery salvage yard before and she wasn’t comfortable going back because Avery answered the door wearing only a towel.
Avery and his lawyers insist that he never touched Halbach’s the car yet his DNA was found under the hood and in the car. Ricciardi and Demos also failed to reveal that a rivet from Halbach’s jeans, one of her teeth, and her bones were found in separate fire pits on Avery land.
These revelations, however, are not slam dunks for the prosecution. In fact, it was ultimately DNA evidence that exonerated Avery.
Victim’s Belongings on Avery Property
Halbach’s camera, phone, and handheld device were found in Avery’s burn barrel but the Netflix series did not reveal this fact to viewers.
There are more truths intentionally absent from Making a Murderer (Avery’s history of violence towards women, ballistics, recently purchased restraints) but Ricciardi and Demos defended their choice to focus on how Avery was failed by the system, and once he tried to make Manitowoc accountable, he was back in the system charged with a more serious crime.