Steven Avery, the focus of hit Netflix true-crime series Making A Murderer, has been denied a request for a new trial.
Avery was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in the 2005 death of photographer Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. Avery has maintained his innocence and claims that his conviction was based on planted evidence and false testimony.
Late last year, following the show’s hit success, a judge ordered that evidence in the Avery case be retested. Avery’s lawyer Kathleen Zellner said an agreement to start independent scientific testing on critical pieces of evidence had been signed by Wisconsin judge Angela Sutkiewicz. Among the evidence tested included Avery’s blood sample in the documentary.
However, Zellner now says that a state circuit judge has rejected her plans to present fresh evidence to the court. “We have additional test results and witness affidavits,” Zellner said in a statement. “The scientific testing is not completed, we remain optimistic that Mr Avery’s conviction will be vacated.”
Sheboygan county circuit judge Angela Sutkiewicz ruled on Tuesday (October 3) that Avery has failed to establish grounds for new trial based on the evidence provided so far.
The Wisconsin attorney general Brad Schimel said that the decision “brings us one step closer to providing justice to Teresa Halbach’s family”.
Meanwhile, Brendan Dassey, who was convicted alongside his uncle Avery, recently had his murder conviction overturned, with a federal judge ruling that his confession was obtained by investigators after he had been given “false promises”.
The state has gone to the federal appeals court to appeal the overturned conviction, with arguments in the case being heard last week. Dassey remains in custody.