Monday 24 June 2019

Making a Murderer's Brendan Dassey's case has taken another shocking u-turn

Brendan Dassey being escorted out of a Manitowoc County Circuit courtroom in Wisconsin (AP)
Brendan Dassey being escorted out of a Manitowoc County Circuit courtroom in Wisconsin (AP)
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

A US appeals court has upheld the conviction of Brendan Dassey one year after his conviction was overturned.

Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery (who had already served 18 years for a crime he did not commit) were convicted of murdering photographer Teresa Halbach at Avery's premises in 2005.

Their cases were covered in Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer and Dassey's interviews with police in Wisconsin featured in the 10-part series which questioned their arrests and later convictions.

Dassey was just 16 at the time he was interviewed and has a lower than average IQ of 69-73.  He was interviewed without a supportive adult present.

Teresa Halbach was murdered in 2005, with Brendan Dassey sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after he told detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill her. (Tom Pearce via AP)
Teresa Halbach was murdered in 2005, with Brendan Dassey sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after he told detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill her. (Tom Pearce via AP)

Dassey's conviction for the crime was overturned last year on the basis that his confession was coerced.

Judge WIlliam Duffin ordered that he should be freed after concluding that investigators in the trial in 2007 had made "repeated false promises" to Dassey by telling him that he had "nothing to worry about".

However, the state requested a review and on Friday judges voted that Dassey's confession was voluntary.

The vote was divided 4-3 and one of the judges at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals who reviewed the case, Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner wrote, “His confession was not voluntary and his conviction should not stand, and yet an impaired teenager has been sentenced to life in prison. I view this as a profound miscarriage of justice.”

Brendan Dassey's confession was a crucial part of the case against his uncle (YouTube)
Brendan Dassey's confession was a crucial part of the case against his uncle (YouTube)

Dassey, who is now 27, will remain in prison pending any more appeals.

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