Tag Archives: Brendan Dassey

Prosecutors argue that ”Making a Murderer’ inmate’s confession was legal

A Wisconsin inmate featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” has no basis for his claims that his confession wasn’t voluntary and shouldn’t be released from prison as a judge has ordered, state attorneys argued in a court filing.

Brendan Dassey, now 27, was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 in the death of photographer Teresa Halbach two years earlier. He told detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill Halbach in the Avery family’s Manitowoc County salvage yard.

A federal magistrate judge overturned Dassey’s conviction in August, ruling investigators coerced Dassey into confessing. The judge agreed with Dassey’s arguments that detectives promised him leniency and took advantage of his cognitive problems and youth. Dassey was 16 years old at the time of the interrogation.

The state Justice Department has appealed the judge’s ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A team of attorneys from the state Justice Department, including Attorney General Brad Schimel, Solicitor General Misha Tseytlin and Deputy Solicitor General Luke Berg, argued in brief filed Wednesday that Dassey’s claims have no grounds.

The detectives didn’t offer Dassey any specific benefits for his confession, the attorneys wrote, and the investigators exerted far less pressure than in many other juvenile confessions that the appeals court has upheld. As for his cognitive problems, Dassey attended mostly regular-track high school classes and he resisted many of the detectives’ questions, the brief said.

Dassey also gave detectives details they never suggested, including colors and sounds from the scene in the salvage yard, including Halbrach’s screams, conversations, timing of events and his motivations, the filing said. Taken together, those details suggest the confession was probably voluntary and true, the attorneys wrote.

Dassey’s attorneys didn’t immediately respond to an email Thursday seeking comment on the filing.

Avery was sentenced to life in prison in a separate trial. He’s pursuing his own appeal.

Both men claim police framed them because they were angry with Avery after he filed a lawsuit against Manitowoc County over his wrongful imprisonment for a sexual assault he didn’t commit.

Their claims gained attention last year after Netflix aired “Making a Murderer,” a multi-part series examining Halbach’s death and the Avery family.

“Making a Murderer” prompted widespread conjecture about the pair’s innocence and sparked a torrent of angry online postings demanding prosecutors set them free. Authorities who worked on the cases say the series was biased.

Wisconsin AG moves to block Brendan Dassey’s release

Wisconsin’s attorney general plans to file an emergency motion to block the conditional release of Steven Avery’s nephew, Brendan Dassey, convicted of homicide in a case made famous by the Netflix series Making a Murderer.

Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement on Nov. 14 that he was filing the motion with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A federal judge ordered Dassey released while prosecutors appeal a ruling that overturned Dassey’s conviction in the 2005 slaying of photographer Teresa Halbach.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin had ruled in August that investigators tricked Dassey into confessing he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape, kill and mutilate Halbach in 2005.

The state has appealed that ruling.

The order to release the 27-year-old Dassey from prison, which also came from Duffin, was contingent on him meeting numerous conditions. He had until noon Tuesday to provide the federal probation and parole office with the address of where he planned to live.

Dassey was 16 when Halbach died. He’s now 27.

Prosecutors want Brendan Dassey to stay in prison

Prosecutors want a federal judge to keep a man convicted in a case profiled in the popular Making a Murderer Netflix series behind bars while they appeal his release.

A federal magistrate judge ruled in August that investigators tricked Brendan Dassey into confessing that he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, kill photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005.

The judge ordered Dassey freed from prison unless prosecutors appealed.

Attorneys for the Wisconsin Justice Department filed a brief this week arguing Dassey should stay in prison because he’s a serious threat to public safety.

Dassey’s attorneys have asked the magistrate to release him while the state’s appeal is pending.

The brief from the state attorneys notes that the magistrate clearly said his ruling would be stayed if it was appealed.

 

‘Making a Murderer’ attorney asks state for evidence to exonerate Avery

The attorney for a Wisconsin inmate featured in the hit Netflix series Making a Murderer filed a motion Friday seeking permission to perform extensive testing on evidence she believes will show that Steven Avery is innocent.

Steven Avery was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to life in prison in the death of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach, who disappeared after a visit to the Avery family’s Manitowoc County salvage yard in 2005. Avery has argued he was framed.

His attorney, Kathleen Zellner, told reporters awaiting her filing outside the Manitowoc County courthouse that she wants to date blood and DNA found at the scene to see if it was planted. She promised the results will show that Avery isn’t guilty and that someone else killed Halbach.

Her motion notes that forensic science has advanced dramatically since Avery was convicted. It asks for testing and re-testing on an extensive list of evidence, including Halbach’s vehicle key, which was found in Avery’s room with his DNA on it; Avery’s blood found in the vehicle; and a pair of women’s underwear found in the yard to see if they belonged to Halbach and contain male DNA.

“The most reassuring thing is that we are going to get to the bottom of who killed Teresa Halbach,” Zellner said. “And we firmly believe that we will establish it was not Steven Avery.”

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is handling post-conviction activity in Avery’s case on behalf of county prosecutors.

Avery, now 54, was charged in November 2005 with sexually assaulting and killing Halbach, who disappeared that Halloween after traveling to the salvage yard to shoot photos for a car magazine. Investigators found her charred remains in a burn pit in the yard.

Avery and his then 16-year-old nephew, Brendan Dassey, lived on the property. A jury in 2007 convicted Avery of being a party to first-degree intentional homicide and a judge sentenced him to life in prison.

Later that year, a separate jury convicted Dassey of being party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse and sexual assault. He, too, was sentenced to life.

The case fascinated the public. Two years before Halbach’s death, Avery had been released from prison after spending 18 years behind bars for rape that a DNA test later showed he didn’t commit.

Avery contended police framed him for Halbach’s death because the rape exoneration embarrassed them and he had a $36 million wrongful conviction lawsuit pending against Manitowoc County. That lawsuit collapsed when he was arrested in Halbach’s death.

He has alleged that investigators planted blood taken from him during the rape case and planted Halbach’s DNA at the scene.

He argued in an appeal that he should have been allowed to blame others for Halbach’s death, that police illegally searched his trailer and that a judge improperly replaced a juror during deliberations. A state appeals court rejected those arguments in 2011.

Avery and Dassey burst back into the public consciousness late last year after Netflix aired Making a Murderer. The series raised questions about investigators’ integrity in the Halbach case. Prosecutors insisted the show was one-sided but it still created a national groundswell of support for Avery and Dassey.

A federal magistrate judge overturned Dassey’s conviction this month, ruling investigators coerced him into confessing. The state Justice Department has 90 days to appeal or decide whether to retry him. If the agency chooses to do nothing, he will go free.

See also Netflix series shines spotlight on Steve Avery murder case

Judge tosses out nephew’s conviction in ‘Making a Murderer’ case

A timeline of events in the Brendan Dassey case

A judge has overturned the 2007 homicide conviction of Brendan Dassey in a case profiled in the Netflix series Making a Murderer.

At the center of the judge’s decision was a confession Dassey made saying he helped his uncle Steven Avery kill Teresa Halbach in Wisconsin.

The judge determined the confession was coerced using deceptive tactics.

Here are some key events in the case:

Oct. 31, 2005: Teresa Halbach, 25, of St. John in Calumet County, a photographer for Auto Trader Magazine, goes to Avery’s Auto Salvage near Mishicot to photograph a minivan for sale by Steven Avery’s sister.

Evidence later shows Avery called asking for her to come, using his sister’s name.

Nov. 3, 2005: Halbach’s family reports her missing.

Nov. 5, 2005: Halbach’s cousins find her vehicle under brush and auto parts in the Avery salvage yard. Charred bone fragments found in a burn pit later are determined to be her remains.

Nov. 8, 2005: Avery tells reporters he fears authorities are trying to frame him for Halbach’s slaying because he sued Manitowoc County officials for $36 million for wrongful conviction. Avery spent 18 years in prison for rape before DNA evidence cleared him of the crime and he was freed in 2003.

Nov. 9, 2005: Avery is arrested and, based on past convictions for burglary and other crimes, charged with possessing firearms as a felon. Authorities say two guns were in his trailer home.

Nov. 15, 2005: Avery is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and mutilating a corpse.

Feb. 14, 2006: Authorities announce Avery has settled his lawsuit against Manitowoc County officials for $400,000.

March 2, 2006: Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey, then 16, is charged in adult court with being a party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and first-degree sexual assault. Prosecutors base the charges on a videotaped statement in which Dassey detailed the killing, saying he and Avery raped and killed Halbach and burned her body. He later recants the statement.

Jan. 29, 2007: A judge dismisses sexual assault and kidnapping charges against Avery because Dassey may not testify at his trial.

Jan. 30, 2007: A judge says defense attorneys can tell jurors that Avery was wrongfully convicted of rape and may use as evidence a vial of his blood found unsecured in the Manitowoc County courthouse. Defense attorneys say discovery of the vial supports their claim that blood was planted to frame Avery.

Feb. 12, 2007: Avery’s trial begins.

March 12, 2007: After the prosecution and defense rest, the judge dismisses the false-imprisonment charge, saying he doesn’t think the jury has enough evidence to find Avery guilty. Avery has not taken the witness stand. Dassey also does not testify in Avery’s trial.

March 18, 2007: After deliberating for nearly 22 hours over three days, jurors convict Avery, now 44, of first-degree intentional homicide and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Avery is acquitted of the charge of mutilating a corpse.

April 16, 2007: Dassey, now 17, goes on trial before a jury selected in Dane County.

April 20, 2007: Prosecutors play Dassey’s videotaped confession for the jury.

April 23, 2007: Dassey testifies in his own defense, saying he lied when he gave the statement but doesn’t know why. Avery does not testify.

April 25, 2007: After 4 1/2 hours of deliberation, the jury convicts Dassey of being party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and second-degree sexual assault. Sentencing is scheduled Aug. 2.

June 1, 2007: Avery is sentenced to life in prison with no possible parole.

Aug. 2, 2007: Dassey is sentenced to mandatory life in prison with a possibility of parole set for Nov. 1, 2048.

December 2015: Netflix releases the series Making a Murderer, in which the filmmakers cast doubt on the legal process used to convict Dassey and Avery. Authorities involved in the case have called the 10-hour series biased, while the filmmakers have stood by their work.

Aug. 12, 2016: A judge throws out Dassey’s conviction, ruling that investigators coerced a confession using deceptive tactics. He gives prosecutors 90 days to decide whether to retry Dassey.

Judge tosses out nephew’s conviction in ‘Making a Murderer’ case

A judge overturned the conviction of a Wisconsin man found guilty of helping his uncle kill a woman in a case profiled in the Netflix series Making a Murderer, ruling that investigators coerced a confession using deceptive tactics.

In his ruling, U.S. Magistrate William Duffin in Milwaukee ordered Brendan Dassey freed within 90 days unless prosecutors decide to retry him. The state Department of Justice, which handled the case, declined to comment. The state could also appeal Duffin’s ruling.

Dassey’s case burst into the public’s consciousness with the popularity of the Making a Murderer series that debuted in December. The filmmakers cast doubt on the legal process used to convict Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery in the death of Teresa Halbach.

The film sparked national interest and conjecture. Authorities involved in the case have called the 10-hour series biased, while the filmmakers have stood by their work.

Dassey confessed to helping Avery carry out the rape and killing of Halbach, but his attorneys argued that his constitutional rights were violated throughout the investigation. Dassey didn’t testify at his uncle’s trial and his confession wasn’t presented as evidence there. Both men are serving life sentences.

Duffin said in his ruling that investigators made false promises to Dassey by assuring him “he had nothing to worry about.”

“These repeated false promises, when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey’s confession involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (of the U.S. Constitution),” Duffin wrote.

Dassey, who is now 26, was 16 when Halbach, a photographer, was killed in 2005 after she went to the Avery family auto salvage yard to take pictures of some vehicles. Court papers describe Dassey as a slow learner with poor grades, as well as difficulty understanding some aspects of language and expressing himself verbally. He was also described as extremely introverted and poor at picking up on communications signals such as body language and tone.

Dassey was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault, and mutilation of a corpse in Halbach’s killing. Avery was tried and convicted separately in the homicide.

Avery made headlines in 2003 when he was released from prison after spending 18 years behind bars for a rape he didn’t commit. After being freed, he had a $36 million lawsuit pending against public officials when Halbach disappeared on Halloween 2005.

The Aug. 12 ruling came after Dassey’s appeal was rejected by state courts. The judge said that Dassey’s confession to police in 2006 was “so clearly involuntary” that a state appeals court ruling to the contrary was an unreasonable application of established federal law.

“The court does not reach this conclusion lightly,” Duffin wrote.

The investigators did not have any ill motive, the judge wrote, but rather “an intentional and concerted effort to trick Dassey into confessing.”

The error was not harmless because Dassey’s confession was the entirety of the case against him, the judge said.

Laura Nirider, one of Dassey’s attorneys, said he thought that if he told investigators what they wanted to hear, he’d get to go back to school.

“This is justice for that 16-year-old kid … who we all saw being bullied into giving a statement that was completely untrue,” she said.

Dassey, who has been incarcerated for 10 years, is in shock and wants to go home, she said. If prosecutors decide to bring a new trial, the confession would not be usable, she said.

A brother who has acted as a Halbach family spokesman did not immediately respond to phone messages and an email.

Kathleen Zellner, an attorney for Avery, said in a statement that Avery was thrilled for his nephew. Avery is pursuing his own appeal.

“We know when an unbiased court reviews all of the new evidence we have, Steven will have his conviction overturned as well,” Zellner said.

Joe Friedberg, a defense attorney in Minnesota who was not involved in the case but is familiar with it and participated in a forum on it with Avery’s first defense attorney, said he doesn’t believe the decision will have any bearing on Avery’s case.

“The kid’s confession was not entered into evidence against Avery, and I don’t think it impacted Avery’s trial at all,” Friedberg said.

Netflix last month announced that new episodes of Making a Murderer are in production to follow appeals by both Avery and Dassey.

“As we have done for the past 10 years, we will continue to document the story as it unfolds, and follow it wherever it may lead,” filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos said in a written statement following last week’s ruling.

A timeline of events in the Brendan Dassey case

Oct. 31, 2005: Teresa Halbach, 25, of St. John in Calumet County, a photographer for Auto Trader Magazine, goes to Avery’s Auto Salvage near Mishicot to photograph a minivan for sale by Steven Avery’s sister. Evidence later shows Avery called asking for her to come, using his sister’s name.

Nov. 3, 2005: Halbach’s family reports her missing.

Nov. 5, 2005: Halbach’s cousins find her vehicle under brush and auto parts in the Avery salvage yard. Charred bone fragments found in a burn pit later are determined to be her remains.

Nov. 8, 2005: Avery tells reporters he fears authorities are trying to frame him for Halbach’s slaying because he sued Manitowoc County officials for $36 million for wrongful conviction. Avery spent 18 years in prison for rape before DNA evidence cleared him of the crime and he was freed in 2003.

Nov. 9, 2005: Avery is arrested and, based on past convictions for burglary and other crimes, charged with possessing firearms as a felon. Authorities say two guns were in his trailer home.

Nov. 15, 2005: Avery is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and mutilating a corpse.

Feb. 14, 2006: Authorities announce Avery has settled his lawsuit against Manitowoc County officials for $400,000.

March 2, 2006: Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey, then 16, is charged in adult court with being a party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and first-degree sexual assault. Prosecutors base the charges on a videotaped statement in which Dassey detailed the killing, saying he and Avery raped and killed Halbach and burned her body. He later recants the statement.

Jan. 29, 2007: A judge dismisses sexual assault and kidnapping charges against Avery because Dassey may not testify at his trial.

Jan. 30, 2007: A judge says defense attorneys can tell jurors that Avery was wrongfully convicted of rape and may use as evidence a vial of his blood found unsecured in the Manitowoc County courthouse. Defense attorneys say discovery of the vial supports their claim that blood was planted to frame Avery.

Feb. 12, 2007: Avery’s trial begins.

March 12, 2007: After the prosecution and defense rest, the judge dismisses the false-imprisonment charge, saying he doesn’t think the jury has enough evidence to find Avery guilty. Avery has not taken the witness stand. Dassey also does not testify in Avery’s trial.

March 18, 2007: After deliberating for nearly 22 hours over three days, jurors convict Avery, now 44, of first-degree intentional homicide and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Avery is acquitted of the charge of mutilating a corpse.

April 16, 2007: Dassey, now 17, goes on trial before a jury selected in Dane County.

April 20, 2007: Prosecutors play Dassey’s videotaped confession for the jury.

April 23, 2007: Dassey testifies in his own defense, saying he lied when he gave the statement but doesn’t know why. Avery does not testify.

April 25, 2007: After 4 ½ hours of deliberation, the jury convicts Dassey of being party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and second-degree sexual assault. Sentencing is scheduled Aug. 2.

June 1, 2007: Avery is sentenced to life in prison with no possible parole.

Aug. 2, 2007: Dassey is sentenced to mandatory life in prison with a possibility of parole set for Nov. 1, 2048.

December 2015: Netflix releases the series Making a Murderer, in which the filmmakers cast doubt on the legal process used to convict Dassey and Avery. Authorities involved in the case have called the 10-hour series biased, while the filmmakers have stood by their work.

Aug. 12, 2016: A judge throws out Dassey’s conviction, ruling that investigators coerced a confession using deceptive tactics. He gives prosecutors 90 days to decide whether to retry Dassey.

Associated Press writers Amy Forliti and Doug Glass contributed from Minneapolis.

 

 

Bomb threat at sheriff’s office over ‘getting justice for Steven’ Avery

A caller who phoned in a bomb threat to a Wisconsin county sheriff’s office made an apparent reference to “getting justice” for the man at the center of the Making a Murderer documentary, authorities said Wednesday.

The Manitowoc Police Department said in a statement a male caller made the threat around 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, warning of bombs inside the Manitowoc County sheriff’s office building and a vehicle in the parking lot “packed with explosives.”

The caller also mentioned “getting justice for Steven,” something the statement described as an apparent reference to Steven Avery, the Wisconsin man whose prosecution in a 2005 killing was the centerpiece of the 10-part Netflix series issued in December.

The series questions whether Avery, who was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of photographer Teresa Halbach a decade ago, was treated fairly. It suggests the possibility that Manitowoc County sheriff’s deputies planted evidence in the case, a claim authorities have denied.

Avery had been wrongfully convicted years earlier in a rape case and served 18 years in prison. He sued Manitowoc County for tens of millions before he and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, were arrested in Halbach’s death.

Authorities deemed the area around the sheriff’s office all clear around 9 p.m. Wednesday, and the courthouse was checked as a precaution. No suspicious devices were found.

A second “very similar” threat was received about 20 minutes later, the statement said. Manitowoc police responded to provide security for dispatch and sheriff’s office employees who were about to go through a shift change. Again, no suspicious activity or items were discovered.

Manitowoc police and the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation are working to determine the origin of the call and identity of the caller.

‘Making a Murderer’ subject Steven Avery files appeal of murder conviction

A convicted killer who is the subject of the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” filed a wide-ranging appeal claiming authorities used an improper warrant and that a juror was out to get him, among other things.

Steven Avery, who’s seeking to be released on bond, was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in the death of photographer Teresa Halbach a decade ago. Avery had been wrongfully convicted years earlier in a rape case and served 18 years in prison. He had sued Manitowoc County for tens of millions before he and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, were arrested in Halbach’s death.

The appeal, filed on Jan. 11 in an appeals court in Madison, bears Avery’s signature and contains numerous spelling and grammar errors. His new attorney’s name doesn’t appear on it.

Manitowoc County Sheriff Robert Hermann said on Jan. 12 he hasn’t seen the appeal, but he has said in the past that the investigation was proper.

The filmmakers behind “Making a Murder” cast doubt on the legal process used to convict Avery and Dassey, and their work has sparked national interest and conjecture. Armchair investigators have flooded Twitter and message boards, and key players in the case have appeared on national news and talk shows.

Authorities involved in the case have called the 10-hour series biased. Filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, meanwhile, have stood by their work.

Avery’s new attorney, Kathleen Zellner, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

In the filing, Avery takes issue with a search conducted during the murder investigation, saying it improperly included multiple properties and therefore any evidence that was uncovered “is clearly ‘FRUIT OF THE POISONOUS TREE.'” The appeal also says that a juror tainted other jurors “THROUGH DIRECT OR INDIRECT IN FLUENCE,” stating numerous times that Avery “IS F—— GUILTY.”

He also said Judge Angela W. Sutkiewicz made misleading statements and that his lawyers were ineffective.

Netflix’s hit documentary ‘Making a Murderer’ raises questions about — and wrath toward — Wisconsin prosecutors

The 10-part Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, which casts doubt on the legal process in the case of convicted killers Steven Avery and his then-teenage nephew Brendan Dassey, has prompted celebrities to armchair sleuths to flood online message boards and Twitter feeds.

Authorities involved with the Wisconsin case are saying the series is slanted and omits crucial facts that led to Avery and Dassey being found guilty in the death of photographer Teresa Halbach.

The filmmakers, meanwhile, are standing by their work that spans nearly a decade and largely concentrates on the defense and perspective of Avery and Dassey’s relatives.

The rush of attention has left many wondering: How did we get here? And what’s next?

Q: SO WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?

A: Avery made national headlines in 2003 when he was released after spending nearly two decades behind bars after being wrongfully convicted of rape. Two years later, Avery and Dassey were charged with killing Halbach, who visited the Avery family salvage yard to take photos of a minivan on Halloween. Her bones and belongings were found burned near Avery’s trailer. Both were convicted and sentenced to life terms, but only Dassey is eligible for parole — in 2048.

Q: WHY HAS THE DOCUMENTARY BEEN SO POPULAR?

A: Its release was impeccably timed. It was released before Christmas, while much of the nation was on holiday break and had time to delve into a 10-hour series. Also, it comes on the heels of the popular podcast Serial, which lays out a complex legal case and has generated intense social media participation.

Q: WHAT EXACTLY IS IN THE DOCUMENTARY?

A: The documentary strongly suggests the possibility that Manitowoc County sheriff’s deputies planted evidence against Avery, including a key found in his bedroom and blood found in the victim’s vehicle. But Sheriff Robert Hermann denied that Tuesday. “They did not plant evidence,” Hermann said. “I trust them 100 percent. Quite frankly, I think justice was served in this case.” He said he watched the series, and added: “I call it a film. It’s missing a lot of important pieces of evidence.”

Q: WHY DO AUTHORITES SAY IT’S BIASED?

A: The series spends much of its time detailing the perspective of Avery and Dassey family members. The case’s special prosecutor, Ken Kratz, refused to comment to The Associated Press, but he has told other media outlets that the documentary ignores the majority of the physical evidence. The omissions include the fact that Avery’s DNA was found on the hood latch on Halbach’s SUV, which was hidden on the salvage lot. Kratz has also said a bullet fired from Avery’s gun was found in his garage with Halbach’s DNA on it.

Q: WHAT DO THE FILMMAKERS SAY?

A: Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos have stood by their work. They said in an email to the AP through Netflix representatives that critics who might say they intentionally omitted or underplayed key evidence to make the series more entertaining or tragic are wrong. “Those accusations are untrue and unfounded,” the statement said.

Q: THERE’S AN ONLINE PETITION SEEKING A PARDON — COULD IT WORK?

A: It seems unlikely for a lot of reasons. For one thing, the request posted on Change.org started by petitioning President Barack Obama, who has no such authority in this type of case, since it’s not a federal matter. The petition recently was rewritten to include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and remove the word “presidential” from the text of the appeal. Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said Tuesday in an email to the AP that the governor hasn’t watched the series and that “early in his administration, Gov. Walker made the decision not to issue pardons. Those who feel they have been wrongly convicted can seek to have their convictions overturned by a higher court.”

Q: WHAT ABOUT THE VICTIMS?

A: Halbach’s brother Mike Halbach has declined comment since releasing a statement from the family before the documentary became public. “Having just passed the 10-year anniversary of the death of our daughter and sister, Teresa, we are saddened to learn that individuals and corporations continue to create entertainment and to seek profit from our loss,” the statement read. “We continue to hope that the story of Teresa’s life brings goodness to the world.”

The victim from the 1985 rape case has declined comment.

Q: WHAT HAS THE REACTION BEEN LIKE?

A: It’s been all over the map. Celebrities have tweeted about how into the series they are, late night talk show host Seth Meyers spoofed it and fake Twitter accounts have been set up for some of the main players in the case. However, Sheriff Hermann said some of his officers have received threats in emails and voicemails. He said one was from a convicted felon who said an officer should “take his own life, or else he’d come up there and take it for him.” Hermann said Tuesday that threat was passed along to Florida authorities to investigate.

See also: Wisconsin-set ‘Making a Murderer,’ from Netflix, tops winter streaming recommendations