Around 31 October, 2005, photographer Teresa Halbach disappeared. On 5 November, 2005, Halbach's RAV was discovered by a volunteer searcher in the Avery Auto Salvage yard. Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were convicted of her murder in separate trials. The trials were based upon different murder locations and different means of death. Steven Avery was portrayed as the only murderer during the Avery trial. The prosecution stated that Brendan Dassey and Steven Avery were both murderers during the Dassey trial.
Prosecutors and investigators basked in a limelight after the trials. They expected the story to be over. It was not.
A documentary appeared on Netflix covering events of the investigation and trials. Making a Murderer revealed a sloppy and incomplete investigation. The documentary showed a desire to convict Steven Avery and ignore other suspects. The documentary showed a coercive interrogation of a young male special education student. Brendan Dassey's confession was not proven by evidence, but he was convicted anyway.
After Making a Murderer was released, former Special Prosecutor Ken Kratz and others realized that documentary was causing a public relation issue. People were seeing the behaviors of law enforcement and prosecution without the filtering of the local news reporters.
Soon, the one of the local news outlets proclaimed they were providing clips from their archives. Local television channel 5 (WFRV), showed a video clip on 6 Jan, 2016. The clip showed Bobby Dassey testifying that Steven Avery asked for help in burying a body. The news presenter commented that this was an Avery confession.
Before and during the trials of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, news presenters would lead a broadcast with statements of "disturbing" or "shocking" developments or testimony. Usually, we heard explanations of events that were biased since the reporting was only from prosecution and law enforcement sources.
On 27 February, 2006, Brendan Dassey was interrogated by investigators at his school. The interview was tape recorded. The recording was full of static and gaps. That evening, investigators placed Brendan, his mother, and his brother at the Fox Hills Resort in Mishicot. The interrogation continued but with no recording. Investigators claimed their recording equipment was faulty.
The news people reported that police were plagued with equipment malfunctions. They relieved the seasoned investigators of the responsibility to ensure they had working equipment. They did not question what was covered up by the poor or lacking recordings.
Toward the end of the Brendan Dassey trial, dueling doctors was a common phrase used to describe two witnesses.
The defense witness was trained in suggestibility, and while not the best choice for false confessions or trial testimony, was at least cognizant of issues.
The prosecution witness, a contract doctor for Calumet County, admitted he had to search the internet for false confession and suggestibility. Then, his testimony was "so what" if the problem occurred. Reporters thought his professed ignorance was worthy of the term dueling.
A WGBA (NBC26) Green Bay segment called "Truth About Lying" featured Marinette County Sheriffâ€™s Department Detective Anthony Oâ€™Neill on 4 February, 2008. O'Neill had testified during the Dassey trial that Brendan Dassey was guilty of Teresa Halbach's murder because he did not make eye contact while admitting he did not take notes of Dassey's demeanor in a November, 2006 interview.
O'Niell went on to claim that Steven Avery was guilty in the Halbach murder because Avery gave a reason for why he didn't do the crime. O'Neill claimed innocent people do not protest the accusations.
This was a one-sided series of claims that the WFRV passed off as news.
A recent series by WFRV is titled Avery Uncut. Their edited clips are partial toward Ken Kratz. In their clips from one of the interrogations, for example, they did not show that Brendan Dassey did not know that the victim was shot until Calumet County Investigator Mark Wiegert told him. Nor, did the station show that Brendan did not state that Steven Avery opened the hood of the victim's RAV4. The footage of that portion of the interrogation shows Brendan repeating what Wisconsin Special Investigator Tom Fassbender told him without stating the hood was opened..
The series shows Ken Kratz claiming that Brendan Dassey's low IQ means that Brendan is a liar. Kratz was the main commentator for the footage. It was his show. The series is better titled Pimping for Ken Kratz.
The Post~Crescent on scene reporter, John Lee, was enamored with the Special Prosecutors. He noted in his blog that during closing arguments, Special Prosecutor Tom Fallon was captivating. Lee missed the fact that Fallon was using parts of the suppressed 13 May, 2006 confession. Judge Fox did not allow the defense to use that interrogation to show how Dassey denied a factually true statement after badgering by Fassbender and Wiegert.
And, the closing was full of hyperbole and drama. John Lee was an easy mark for such talk and gestures. He later claimed that Ken Kratz would be a judge someday.
I noticed in the documentary that one of the WFRV reporters, Angenette Levy, reflected the local news bias in two filmed sequences.
The first was her verbal assault on defense attorney Dean Strang for his cross examination of Manitowoc County Deputy Andrew Colburn. Strang was aggressive since Colburn's behavior was odd. Colburn did not submit a report of an early interview with Steven Avery until six months had elapsed. And, there was a mysterious telephone call made by Colburn to a dispatcher that needed explanation. Colburn was never clear on the phone call.
Levy lambasted Strang because Colburn's seven-year-old son would suffer repercussions at school due to the cross examination. How she determined that the grade school students were aware of courtroom events was not explained. But, Strang was guilty in her eyes of causing child trauma. The need for a vigorous defense to defend the accused was not part of her vision of how criminal trials should work.
Another notable Levy response was when Ken Kratz introduced a witness who had not been listed in discovery documents. That was Bobby Dassey as mentioned in the above mentioned WFRV archive clip.
What happened was that Bobby Dassey was present when Dassey's friend and Steven Avery casually discussed the disappearance of Teresa Halbach. There was some macabre humor where Bobby's friend asked Steven whether he had a body his closet. Steven replied asking if the friend would help him bury a body.
It was clear that Kratz had engineered this to look like a confession. This possibly meant manipulating discovery documents. Trial Judge Willis refused a mistrial request, and the matter was handled with clarifying questions.
Levy asked the defense attorneys at their press conference, "Can Ken do this?"
Levy also had a blog during the Avery trial. After the end of the trial, she wrote that she wanted to visit the crime scene to see "that back patio door, where the cops believe the end of Teresa Halbachâ€™s life began "
Levy was sympathetic to the hurt in the Avery family, and she talked with family members.
But, she believed that bad things happened in the trailer, although the prosecution claimed the murder took place in the garage. The idea that bloody rape, torture, and murder took place in the Avery home was only produced in Ken Kratz's press conference of 1 March, 2006. It was not part of the Avery trial.
But, Angenette Levy believed it was. This demonstrates how Kratz's theatrics had biased many members of the community. Levy's blog also showed that news people could not objectively evaluate claims from the prosecution team.
Television stations that produce clips from the archives will only show their mostly biased opinions. The news media did stream both trials. Plus, they took video during hearings. If they want to provide a complete and unbiased archive of the events, they could release the unedited and uncommented videos.
in category Brendan Dassey,Steven Avery