The star of Making a Murderer, Steven Avery, had his request for a new trial denied – despite his lawyers’ claims they have damning new evidence and testimonies which could cast doubt on his conviction.
Wisconsin judge, Angela Sutkiewicz, ruled Tuesday that Avery had failed ‘to establish any grounds that would trigger the right to a new trial’.
Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were convicted of murdering a young photographer, Teresa Halbach, in 2005, but Dassey’s conviction was later overturned because the court found his confession, made aged 16, was coerced.
The case gained national attention in 2015 after Netflix aired its multi-part documentary, Making a Murderer, which suggested that Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were innocent but had been railroaded by local officials.
Avery’s lawyer Kathleen Zellner argued his conviction was based on planted evidence and false testimony, and requested a retrial on the grounds that they had new evidence to present to the court.
Making a Murderer’s Steven Avery’s (pictured) lawyer’s request for a new trial for her client was rejected on Tuesday
His supporters have urged him and his legal team to keep fighting for justice on social media
Sutkiewicz dismissed the request, Tuesday, saying ‘no further consideration will be given to this issue’.
But Avery’s defense team does not believe the matter is closed.
‘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.’
They argued that new scientific tests cast doubt on evidence submitted at his trial, presented alternate theories about the killing and questioned motives of police.
His supporters have urged him and his legal team to keep fighting for justice on social media.
Avery, 54, was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in the 2005 death of Teresa Halbach, pictured
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel praised the decision, saying it ‘brings us one step closer to providing justice to Teresa Halbach’s family’.
He said the Department of Justice would continue to vigorously defend Avery’s conviction.
Avery’s lawyer Kathleen Zellner had submitted a 1,272-page document last June, arguing that Avery deserved a new trial ‘in the interests of justice’ and because ‘the real controversy was never tried’.
She had argued that Avery’s trial attorneys failed to prove that evidence had been planted because they lacked experts and they did not conduct a thorough investigation, according to USA Today Network-Wisconsin.
She also maintains that a spare key for Halbach’s sport utility vehicle found in Avery’s bedroom was planted by sheriff’s deputies.
Officials involved in the case have denied any misconduct.
‘Because the State did not need to establish motive, it did not spend any time trying to figure out why Ms. Halbach was murdered,’ Zellner wrote.
Attorney Kathleen Zellner, left, claims that Avery’s conviction was based on planted evidence and false testimony. She argues that Avery deserves a new trial ‘in the interests of justice’
She added: ‘Both Mr. Avery and Ms. Halbach are victims of a justice system whose success depends upon the integrity, competence and devotion of judges, law enforcement, prosecutors, and defense attorneys.
‘Both Ms. Halbach and Mr. Avery have yet to receive justice.’
Dean Strang, one of Avery’s trial lawyers, said he and Avery’s other trial attorney, Jerry Buting, are glad that Zellner filed the motion and its supporting documents.
‘All that really matters here, to us and we hope to everyone, is that we get closer to the truth in this case and to justice for everyone,’ Strang said in an email to the AP.
In November, Zellner announced that an agreement had been signed to begin independent scientific testing on several critical pieces of evidence.
Avery and Dassey contend they were framed by law enforcement angry with Avery for filing a lawsuit against Manitowoc County over his wrongful imprisonment for a sexual assault he didn’t commit.
Steven Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey had his conviction overturned because the court found his confession, made aged 16, was coerced
Avery (pictured in an early mug shot) gained national attention in 2015 after Netflix aired ‘Making a Murderer’, a multi-part documentary examining Halbach’s death
Dassey had confessed to detectives he helped his uncle rape and kill Halbach at the Avery family’s salvage yard.
A judge overturned Dassey’s conviction last year, ruling that investigators took advantage of the then 16-year-old Dassey’s cognitive disabilities and tricked him into confessing.
The state is fighting that ruling and a federal appeals court heard arguments in the case last week. Dassey remains in custody while the appeal is pending.
The case was the focus of Netflix’s 2015 documentary which spawned conjecture about the pair’s innocence.
Those who worked on the cases accused the filmmakers of leaving out key pieces of evidence and presenting a biased view of what happened.
The filmmakers defended their work and supported calls to set both Avery and Dassey free.