Brendan Dassey, one of “Making a Murderer’s” subjects, just received some major news today. Currently incarcerated at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, the nephew of Steven Avery may be leaving prison after his conviction was overturned by a federal judge in the Teresa Halbach murder case.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, his attorneys argued that his constitutional rights were violated during the investigation and that “investigators made false promises to Dassey during multiple interrogations.”
In 2007, he was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault and mutilation of a corpse. At the time of the 2005 murder, he was 16 years old, and two years later, just shy of turning 18, was tried and sentenced as an adult.
“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,” stated federal U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin. “The Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.”
The Netflix documentary followed Dassey’s and Avery’s trails following the murder of photographer Halbach. “Making a Murder” followed several theories, including one in which police planted evidence to bring in Avery and coerced a confession out of Dassey. The 10-part series was an instant hit, but the case’s outcome also caused controversy and outrage from many viewers. In July, the streaming service’s programming chief announced that a second season is in the works, which will cover the post-conviction process.
At this moment, prosecutors will have 90 days to decide whether to retry Dassey or he will be set free.