We get it. You are bingeing on other shows, or -- the more popular excuse of
many who miss out on pop culture phenomena -- you're busy "reading books."
Whatever the reason you haven't gotten hooked on the addictive true crime
series a decade in the making, don't worry; we are here for you. Here are
five things to know about "Making a Murderer" so you can join in on the
Avery, a native of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, was convicted of rape in 1985 and
imprisoned for 18 years.
He maintained his innocence, and family members gave him an alibi for
the time of the crime. The victim, Penny Beerntsen, identified him from
a photo lineup (with some assistance from authorities, the series says),
and a forensic examiner testified at the trial that a hair recovered
from her shirt was consistent with Avery's.
Years later, Avery was exonerated after DNA evidence linked a hair found
on the victim to Gregory Allen, a convicted felon who bore a resemblance
The Netflix series investigates how Avery's arrest came after other
run-ins with local authorities, which included his threatening a female
cousin who was married to an law enforcement officer.
told The Marshall Project
she offered Avery an apology, to which he responded, "It's OK, Penny.
"One of the things that really troubled me is that I was one of the only
people who apologized to Steve," she said. "It would have been nice if
the prosecutor and sheriff had said, 'Actually, we all got it wrong.' I
felt like I was the only one taking any responsibility."
Avery filed a
$36 million civil suit for wrongful incarceration; he was later arrested
and charged with murdering Teresa Halbach.
Avery was released in 2003 and filed suit against Manitowoc County for
wrongful conviction and imprisonment.
Two years later, he was arrested for the death of car photographer
Teresa Halbach, who had visited his family's auto salvage yard.
The prosecutors laid out their case: Halbach's Toyota RAV4 (which had
blood in it, including Avery's) was found on the Avery family's lot.
Tissue and bone fragments that matched Halbach's DNA profile were
found outside Avery's mobile home.
addition, Avery's then-16-year-old nephew, Brendan Dassey, confessed to
authorities that he had assisted his uncle in raping and killing her.
He settled the lawsuit for $400,000. Both men were sentenced to life in
prison and remain incarcerated.
believe that Avery and his nephew were railroaded.
Dassey recanted his confession, and Avery has insisted that he was
framed for the murder by authorities angry over his lawsuit. "Making a
Murderer" documents many of the elements of the case that have bothered
For example, Dassey, who has a low IQ, was questioned without his mother
present and appeared to be eager to tell sheriff's officers what they
wanted to hear. Some viewers believe that the sheriff's office planted
evidence to frame Avery for the crime.