Saturday 3 December 2016

Making a Murderer defence lawyer praises 'key' evidence unearthed by internet sleuths

Published 21/01/2016 | 12:39

Making a Murderer: Teresa Halbach photographed beside her car.
Making a Murderer: Teresa Halbach photographed beside her car.

One of Steven Avery's defence lawyers has praised the work of amateur sleuths in investigating the death of Teresa Halbach.

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Avery, the subject of hit Netflix true-crime series Making a Murderer, is currently serving time having been convicted of the murder of photographer Halbach.

The series has exposed alleged failings in the criminal justice system and many viewers believe that Avery, who had previously been wrongly convicted of another crime, is innocence of the murder.

Jerry Buring, who along with Dean Strang worked on Avery's defence, feels that the public have something to offer in terms of unearthing evidence.

Trial: Lawyer Jerome Buting and murder accused Avery, right, listen to closing arguments in court in 2007
Trial: Lawyer Jerome Buting and murder accused Avery, right, listen to closing arguments in court in 2007

"We were only two minds," he told Rolling Stone.

"What I'm discovering is that a million minds are better than two. Some of these people online have found things with a screen shot of a picture that we missed."

Buring is referring to a photograph of Halbach, taken before she died.  It shows her standing beside her car, which was found on Avery's property, and in her hands she's holding a bunch of keys.

During the investigation the police found a key for Halbach's car in Avery's home, a key which was not found until several searches had been conducted on the property and which was found to have Avery's DNA on it.  It was a single key and none of the other keys were ever recovered.

Mugshots: Steven Avery, the subject of the Netflix show 'Making a Murderer', pictured in police photos in the 1980s
Mugshots: Steven Avery, the subject of the Netflix show 'Making a Murderer', pictured in police photos in the 1980s

"I've looked at that picture a thousand times," Buting told Rolling Stone.

"Those other keys were never recovered. Instead we found this single key. Now we did challenge that, how unusual it was for her to be walking around with one key, but I don't think I caught the fact that there was a photograph showing that what she really carried around was a bunch of keys, and none of those keys were ever found."

Many are calling for a retrial for Avery, and his nephew Brendan Dassey, who was also convicted of the murder. 

"These kinds of new facts that a million minds have collectively come up with might be addressed and presented to a new jury," said Buring.

However, Making a Murderer writers and directors Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos believe it is not up to the public to investigate the crime.

Speaking about the surfacing of a document outlining other possibly suspects in the crime recently Laura said it was "unfortunate".

"I think it's just driving what Moira and I consider to be a distraction now in terms of a response," said Laura.

"It's still driving a quest for answers and the truth about who might have killed Teresa Halback and really that was the job of law enforcement.  They were the ones trying to investigate this case and they had an opportunity to investigate it fairly and thoroughly and in our opinion that did not happen.

"So it has fallen on amateur sleuths and average citizens to of course care about these things but they're really not in a position I would think to do the job the investigators should have done back in 2005."

Read more: Making a Murderer directors say 'arguing Steven Avery's innocence was never what this series was about'

‘A key would not be missed’ - a British detective answers Making a Murderer questions

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