Not all the Making a Murder evidence in the Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey cases makes sense. Reddit has the answers why.
If you’ve seen the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer (or heard very much of anything about it), you may know that quite a bit of the evidence presented in the Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey cases is suspect. A lot of it the documentary puts together for you, like why wasn’t any of Theresa Halbach’s DNA found on her car key?
But some questions want for a little more explanation, and reddit has perfectly answered three of the biggest questions surrounding the series and the murder trials.
3. Was Brendan Dassey’s Confession Coerced?
One of the most infuriating parts of Making a Murderer for most viewers was watching how Brendan Dassey was treated by police when they were trying to elicit a confession out of him. To most who saw the video in the show, it seemed clear that Brendan had little, if any, idea about his rights or the consequence of what he was saying to police. Particularly telling was when, after his supposed confession, he asked about being late to his next period of school.
And while it’s clear that Brendan’s mental capacities were below what’s normal, reddit found a clip from a law professor that pointed out just how easy it can be for anyone – not just someone who’s mentally challenged – to accidentally “confirm” or “reveal” details about a case even if they’re completely innocent.
So was Brendan Dassey’s confession coerced? Maybe, or (legally) maybe not, but even before he started recanting pieces of it, it was probably pretty unreliable. In fact, another reddit thread talks about how exonerated former convicts have even confessed to the crimes they didn’t commit.
2. Why Wasn’t Any of Theresa Halbach’s Blood Found in Steven Avery’s Home or Garage?
This was a big one for a lot of viewers. If Steven Avery really killed Theresa Halbach in any way similar to how the prosecution said he did, there would have been a lot of blood to clean up. Claims from the prosecution in the series said that, because of the delay until Theresa was reported missing and because of the time until Steven’s garage was finally searched, there was plenty of time to clean everything.
There are a couple immediate arguments against the idea that either location had been cleaned.
- It would have been REALLY HARD to completely clean either space to the degree that not even a little bit of blood spatter and none of Theresa Halbach’s DNA would still exist. Both locations were messy and had lots of surfaces difficult to clean completely.
- There WAS still other DNA in both places, suggesting that they hadn’t been cleaned.
But even so, it was suggested that a lot of bleach could be used to wipe away any sign of blood or Theresa’s DNA, and that people, plants, and animals re-entering both the house and the garage could have brought back DNA into both places. Thankfully, reddit gave us a little primer on bleach.
Basically, the investigators would have still been able to find traces of blood unless Steven Avery knew which kind of bleach to use, and then if he’d used the correct one, the shell casings found by the investigators would have shown evidence of oxidation.
1. Why Were the Lab Techs Taken At Their Word?
There were two lab techs that the prosecution called in Steven Avery’s case who approached their tests with, shall we say, questionable moral character.
First, there was Sherry Culhane, who did the DNA testing for the case.
Then there was Marc LeBeau, who performed the highly controversial EDTA blood test on Steven Avery’s blood found inside Theresa Halbach’s car.
Both specialists expressed utter confidence in their results, but the problem was that the defense blew holes in the reliability of either test. Culhane contaminated the test of the ONLY DNA sample on the bloody bullet found in Steven Avery’s garage, which typically completely invalidates a test. And the defense produced an expert witness (Janine Arvizu, a lab quality auditor) who testified about just how unreliable negative EDTA blood tests are.
It’s not evidence that either Mrs. Culhane or Dr. LeBeau is lying, but it sure does look like bias from someone who’s supposed to be completely impartial. And guess what? As reddit pointed out, there ARE other cases of lab techs intentionally falsifying results for personal or professional gain.