Tag Archives: making a murderer

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.

‘Black Mirror,’ ‘This Is Us,’ ‘Westworld’ among year’s best TV

In this era of so-called Peak TV, the tally of scripted series aired in 2016 is closing in on 500. No wonder it’s so hard to pick the best 2 percent of the crop. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t pleased to salute our 10 particular favorites.

Here’s our honor roll:

“The A Word” (Sundance).

Loving parents Alison and Paul tell themselves (and everyone else) that there’s nothing wrong with Joe, their 5-year-old son. But evidence mounts. And then the unavoidable truth: Joe is on the autism spectrum. This bittersweet six-episode drama (with a second season announced) deals with a child growing up in rural England whose striking differences from other kids ignite the question: What constitutes “normal” and what becomes of those who don’t meet that standard? A beautiful story, a terrific cast and a spectacular performance by young Max Vento, who plays Joe, makes “The A Word” a unique exploration of a family as loyal as it is in turmoil.

“Atlanta” (FX).

It takes a sure hand to craft a series that blends a pair of young musical strivers from a downtrodden urban neighborhood — while keeping the series touching, relatable and funny. In an age of TV comedy that takes refuge in either irony, absurdity, outrageousness or mawkishness, creator-star-writer Donald Glover has pulled off a minor miracle with this gritty little show that blazes its own path, strewn with setbacks yet powered by hope. A fresh take on the hip-hop world, “Atlanta” never strikes a false note.

“Billions” (Showtime).

Chuck Rhoades, the powerful and perverse U.S. Attorney, is in a cage match with hedge-fund titan Bobby Axelrod. The result is a delicious drama of two Alpha Males butting heads: Rhoades (played by Paul Giamatti) wants to prosecute Axelrod for financial fraud, while the smooth, ever-calculating Axelrod (Damian Lewis) dares him to try. Adding to the spice is a third corner of this triangle: Rhoades’ wife and Axe’s trusted adviser (played by Maggie Siff) who, in confronting her divided loyalties, is as tough as either man. The result is a wealth of intrigue.

“Black Mirror” (Netflix).

Six new episodes on the Netflix site have supplemented seven hours of this nervous-making anthology previously aired by British television. The brainchild of British writer-producer-mischief-maker Charlie Brooker, this series defies clear definition other than to say (a) it deals with technology’s sly cultural inroads, (b) it packs the mind-expanding punch of a latter-day “Twilight Zone,” and (c) it reflects a certain, um, Brooker-esque brand of mordant humor. Every hour is different from the others while each, in its own way, is likely to leave you startled and disturbed. It should come with a warning: “Not To Be Missed, But Proceed with Caution.”

“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS).

With her show teeing up for a second season in early 2017, the time is past to celebrate “Full Frontal” as an issues-and-comedy series hosted by (go figure!) a woman. So let’s just celebrate Samantha Bee, who, now even more than during her dozen years as a “Daily Show” correspondent, stays true to her name: nimble and armed with a satirical sting for her deserving targets. She’s a bold champion of women’s interests, which are largely overlooked in political humor. But guys are welcome, too. They might learn something and have a laugh, along with getting stung now and then.

“Making a Murderer” (Netflix).

To be technical, this 10-part docuseries landed on the Netflix site in mid-December 2015. But early buzz spiked into a roar in the new year. Filmed over a decade, it tells the riveting, true-life story of Steven Avery, who is first seen in 2003 returning home to Wisconsin’s rural Manitowoc County after 18 years’ imprisonment for sexual assault. After his exoneration, Avery was a free man for just two years. He was then arrested for another crime — this time, a grisly rape and murder. So was his teenage nephew. Are they guilty or being railroaded? It’s an arresting thriller of mini-victories and major setbacks in a halting but dogged pursuit of justice.

“The Night Of” (HBO).

This dark and irresistible murder mystery stars John Turturro as near-bottom-feeding lawyer John Stone who stumbles on a righteous case: Naz, a Pakistani-American college student implicated as the killer of an alluring young woman who, after a chance encounter with him one Friday night, brought him to her bedroom. Never mind if Naz did the crime (viewers don’t find out until the end) — the legal system is stacked against him at every turn, and through the lengthy, often dismaying process, Stone fights on his behalf. Though a scripted drama, “The Night Of” is part of a new breed of law-and-order storytelling that also spawned “Making a Murderer” as well as “O.J.: Made in America.”

“O.J.: Made in America” (ESPN).

Arriving two decades after O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murder charges for the death of his ex-wife and her friend, this five-part documentary series covers those ghastly slayings and the so-called Trial of the Century in you-ain’t-seen-nothing-yet detail. But it goes even further, framing Simpson’s life and career against the racial turmoil and Civil Rights struggle from which he was largely insulated by the warm embrace of celebrity and the white mainstream. Packed with never-before-seen footage, unreported details and never-heard insights, it’s a project that might have been dismissed as a true-crime rehash. Instead, it’s not only illuminating but often jaw-dropping.

“This Is Us” (NBC).

It isn’t often that a scripted TV series can be credited with being “humanistic” ‘ at least, not a show you can sit through without grinding your teeth. And yet this gentle ensemble drama is pulling it off, and viewers are loving it. Here is that rare series that is neither aspirational nor derisive in how its characters are portrayed, but instead reflects its viewers at their most goodwilled and, well, humanistic. The intersecting sets of everyday characters are depicted by a cast including Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown in a display of middle-class diversity that serves as a welcome rebuttal to this polarized age. Come to think of it, maybe “This Is Us” shows us what to aspire to, after all.

“Westworld” (HBO).

This odyssey is simultaneously set in an imagined sci-fi future and the reimagined Old West in the form of an epic theme park where lifelike robots indulge every appetite of paying guests. What measure of depravity does this unleash in the humans who treat themselves to this dude ranch gone wild? And what measure of upheaval is triggered when the robots rebel? The series’ visuals — both its western splendor and its futuristic labs _ are spellbinding and seemingly as boundless as its thematic sprawl. Its ensemble (which includes Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright) populates an anything-goes getaway with aplomb and shock value: Who — or what — are the heroes here?

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.

‘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.

Prosecutor in Steven Avery case to write a book

The man who prosecuted one of the cases featured in the Netflix show “Making a Murderer'” says he’s writing a book.

Ken Kratz tells WBAY-TV that he’s writing about the case because the voice of slaying victim Teresa Halbach has been forgotten. Kratz said he’s grateful to tell the “whole story.”

Steven Avery served 18 years in prison following a wrongful conviction of rape and two years after his release was charged in Halbach’s death. He was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide. 

The “Making a Murderer” series questions whether Avery was treated fairly and suggests the possibility that Manitowoc County sheriff’s deputies planted evidence. 

Authorities have denied that.

Kratz has defended the prosecution and says evidence was left out of the series. 

The filmmakers have stood by their work.