'Making a Murderer' Directors Say Juror Told Them Steven Avery Was Framed
Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, the directors behind the true crime series Making a Murderer, said that one of the jurors in Steven Avery’s murder trial contacted them to say they believe Avery was framed.
Avery, a Wisconsin man currently serving a life sentence for killing Teresa Halbach in 2005, is the subject of Making a Murderer. Since Netflix released the 10-part series, which argues that the Manitowoc County law enforcement framed Avery for murder, innumerable questions have risen surrounding his case.
“[The juror] told us that they believe Steven Avery was not proven guilty,” Ricciardi said on the Today show on Tuesday. “They believe Steven was framed by law enforcement and that he deserves a new trial, and if he receives a new trial, in their opinion, it should take place far away from Wisconsin.”
According to the juror, the jury was sceptical of the evidence presented against Avery during the trial, but said they voted to convict Avery because “they feared for their personal safety”, Demos said.
In 2003, Avery was exonerated by DNA evidence in an unrelated rape case for which he served 18 years in prison. He was suing Manitowoc County for $36m when he was charged with murder in 2005.
The series, made over the course of a decade, has become an instant hit since coming out in mid-December, forging amateur detectives out of binge-watchers. Viewers are clamoring for Avery’s release, and more than 200,000 people have signed petitions calling for Avery to be pardoned and set free.
Despite the juror’s corroboration of the film-makers’ claims, those involved in sending Avery to prison are sticking to their original convictions.
Ken Kratz, the prosecutor in the murder care, said the series omits important evidence that led the jury to convict Avery and withholds facts that would lead viewers to believe he was guilty.
Kratz told the New York Times that the series “really presents misinformation”.
According to Kratz, evidence the documentary left out includes DNA from Avery’s sweat discovered on a latch under the hood of Halbach’s car, a bullet with Halbach’s DNA found in Avery’s garage that matched a rifle that hung over his bed.
Manitowoc County sheriff Robert Herrmann echoed Kratz in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Monday, saying that the information presented in the series is skewed.
“People are passing judgment on a documentary, if you can call it that, that shows fours hours of courtroom testimony when the jury and judge heard weeks of courtroom testimony,” Hermann said. “Obviously when you watch it, you can see the defense and family of Steve Avery are embedded with the filmmakers and [the audience is] drawing the wrong conclusion. I feel strongly that justice has been served.”
Both Ricciardi and Demos said they are not working on Avery’s behalf and decided to make the documentary because they were inspired by the oddity of his case. Ricciardi said on Monday that the documentary could not have included every part of the case.
“Our opinion is that we included the state’s most compelling evidence,” she told the New York Times.
Dean Strang, one of Avery’s defense attorneys, agreed and said: “No one’s going to watch a 600-hour movie of gavel-to-gavel, unedited coverage of a trial.”