The Netflix true crime documentary series Making A Murderer has been making huge waves in the news and in social media recently. If you're unfamiliar with the show, the 10-episode series explores the murder trial of a man named Steven Avery. He was accused of killing Teresa Halbach, a young photographer from Wisconsin who went missing October 31, 2005. Avery's defense claimed that he was framed by the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department. It sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud but the more you watch of Making A Murderer, the less ridiculous it begins to sound. When you consider Avery's pending $36 million civil suit against the county for wrongful conviction of a previous crime and the suspicious evidence, conflicting testimony, tampered-with blood samples and contaminated DNA tests, things start looking more than a little fishy.
The producers have recently come under fire for leaving out some of the evidence against Avery and former prosecutor Kenneth Kratz is crying foul. Kratz told People Magazine that "key evidence" was omitted because, "You don't want to muddy up a perfectly good conspiracy movie."
However, as much as Kratz would like us to believe Making A Murderer is wholly slanted towards the defense, the series also left out a rather significant fact that could have made the conspiracy theory even more believable. In an article published by the Milwaukee Sentinal Journal on February 10, 2007, it was reported that there were actually two jurors selected with close family that worked for Manitowoc County. One of the jurors had a son who worked for the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department and another had a wife who worked for the Manitowoc County Clerk's Office.
One would think having jurors with family members whose livelihood depended upon the very county Avery was suing for $36 million might be considered a conflict of interest. And having the father of a Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department employee on the jury (a department the defense claimed was behind tampered blood samples and planted evidence) would be like a conspiracy theorist's smoking gun in a bad movie.
The presence of these two jurors definitely raises more questions about this trial than have been answered. Does it add to the theory that Avery was framed by the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department? Why were these jurors even allowed to serve on this trial? Does it call into question the final verdict?
Steven Avery has exhausted all appeals in the state of Wisconsin. According to Avery's defense team from the trial, Jerome Buting and Dean Strang, Avery's only real hope at this point is that new evidence comes to light that might get him a new trial. In the mean time, amateur sleuths are hard at work across the internet, combing footage, evidence logs and testimonies for the slightest clue that might support Avery's defense. The hacktivist group Anonymous has even decided to help out but have so far been unsuccessful in turning up any new information.
Did you binge the entire series already? Do you think Steven Avery is guilty or innocent? Leave a comment below and we can chat!