Making A Murderer could prove to be one of the most pivotal true crime documentaries of our time. The ten part series follows Wisconsin man, Steven Avery, who was falsely imprisoned for 18 years for a rape he didn't commit and later exonerated with DNA evidence. But only four years after his release, he was tried and convicted of the murder of Teresa Haibach, a young photographer who went missing in October of 2005. Avery's defense claimed he was framed and much of the public is inclined to agree. Online petitions to free Avery are closing in on 300,000 signatures.
Tuesday morning, the documentarians behind the Netflix series, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, appeared on the Today Show and the information they had to share could be earth shattering for the Avery case. According to Ricciardi, they were contacted by a former juror on the trial:
We were contacted by one of the jurors who sat through Steven Avery’s trial and shared what us their thoughts and they told us that they believe Steven Avery was not proven guilty, they believe that Steven was framed by law enforcement. They believe he deserves a new trial, and if he receives a new trial, in their opinion it should take place far away from Wisconsin.
Demos said that when they asked why Avery was unanimously voted guilty when some believed he was innocent the juror responded that they "feared for their personal safety."
Ricciardi went on to say that the juror explained the verdict had been a compromise. She said the jurors "traded votes" and explicitly discussed, "'if you vote guilty on this count, I’ll vote not guilty on this count.’ “
Demos explained the juror's logic was that if they handed down a split verdict on the different counts Avery had been charged with, the appellate courts would later grant Avery a new trial. Unfortunately for Avery, this hasn't been the case. Steven Avery has now been in prison since 2005 and exhausted all appeals in the state of Wisconsin. He is no longer entitled to the right of a lawyer and is pursuing his case on his own via the prison legal library.
Whether you believe in Avery's guilt or innocence, one thing is clear; this case deserves a second look. When sending a man to prison for life, the prosecution should prove their case beyond a shadow of a doubt. The Steven Avery case and that of his young nephew, Brendan Dassey, is full of shadows. But Making A Murderer is helping to shed some light.
Check out the full interview with Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos below.