MANITOWOC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Steven Avery's attorney has released a 54-page motion that claims three key witnesses gave false testimony during her client's trial
for the 2005 murder of freelance photographer Teresa Halbach.
Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, were convicted in 2007 of
killing Halbach after she visited the Avery Salvage Yard in Manitowoc
County to photograph a vehicle on Oct. 31, 2005.
The case gained an international following from the Netflix docu-series "Making A Murderer."
Prosecutors stated Avery killed Halbach with the help of his nephew. Investigators said they found Halbach's bone fragments in a burn pit on the Avery property. At trial, the prosecution told the court that DNA evidence located in Halbach's vehicle, which was later found on the Avery property, matched Avery. Zellner has challenged this finding.
Avery is represented by Kathleen Zellner. She's asking for a circuit court to grant Avery an evidenciary hearing. She's also asking the court to reconsider Judge Angela Sutkiewicz's Oct. 3 order denying Avery a new trial. Zellner claims Avery should get a hearing based on new evidence described in her motion.
Zellner has released exhibits to along with the motion on her website. Click here to view them.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice says it has no comment on the motion.
Action 2 News has gone through the document. Here are some of the points to which Zellner is arguing for a new hearing:
Zellner's motion claims a new witness has come forward to claim he
saw Halbach's vehicle in the area of of State Highway 147 and the
East Twin River Bridge on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 of 2005. This goes
against the state's theory that Halbach's vehicle never left the
Avery Salvage Yard after she took photos on Oct. 31.
The witness states that on Nov. 4, 2005, he told Manitowoc County Sheriff's Sgt. Andy Colborn about what he saw. Zellner's motion states that Colborn never documented this conversation with the witness.
The motion states that the witness, on Jan. 15 and 16, 2016, sent
text messages to Scott Tadych, Brendan Dassey's now stepfather, after recognizing Sgt. Colborn from "Making A Murderer." Tadych did not respond or report the information to the attorneys for his stepson, Brendan Dassey.
Zellner's motion claims Brendan Dassey's brother, Bobby, gave false
testimony about what he saw and the timing of his whereabouts during the time Halbach was at the Avery Salvage Yard. Zellner says this
testimony was key to the state's case against Avery.
During Steven Avery's trial, Bobby Dassey testified that he saw
Halbach's vehicle pull into the driveway at 2:30 p.m. He said that he
saw her taking photos of a van in front of his trailer, and then
walking to Steven's trailer.
Bobby stated that he had taken a three or four-minute shower and left
his trailer to go hunting. He said Halbach's vehicle was still in the
driveway and that he did not see her. He said he returned to his
trailer around 5 o'clock, but her vehicle was gone.
An older Dassey brother named Bryan told state investigators in 2005
that, Bobby had seen Halbach leave the property.
Bryan Dassey told the DOJ, "I distinctly remember Bobby telling me,
'Steven could not have killed her because I saw her leave the property on Oct. 31, 2005.'"
The motion states, "Bobby Dassey's putative observations on the date
of Ms. Halbach's disappearance formed the crux of the prosecution's
case. Undermining his credibility was therefore imperative.
Furthermore, trial defense and post-conviction counsel attempted to
suggest that Bobby Dassey and Scott Tadych could possibly be the
Zellner claims the state violated Avery's right to due process by knowingly using false testimony to get a conviction.
Zellner's motion claims Halbach's ex-boyfriend, Ryan Hillegas, also
gave false testimony during trial.
The motion claims that Hillegas was not at Halbach's home on the
night of Nov. 3, 2005, as he claimed at trial. Zellner says phone
records show that he was not at the residence, and that
testimony affected the "judgment of the jury."
Zellner also claims that Hillegas had a day planner that was in
Halbach's vehicle when she was killed.
DASSEY AND TADYCH
Zellner's motion claims new evidence puts Bobby Dassey and Scott
Tadych at the same location as Teresa Halbach when she received her
last telephone call.
Avery's team created a timeline that states Halbach left the Avery
property, and Avery saw her turn on to Highway 147. Avery claims he
looked to his right and saw Bobby Dassey's vehicle was gone.
"In the experiment, Ms. Halbach was approaching the intersection of
Highway 147 and County Road Q when Bobby caught up with her," reads the motion.
Zellner states Halbach forwarded a call to her cell phone at 2:41 p.m. The motion states that her phone was turned off at this point,
"leading to the reasonable inference that she was assaulted and
murdered at approximately 2:45 p.m."
The motion continues, "Further evidentiary support for Ms. Halbach
being assaulted and murdered at the cul-de-sac on Kuss Road is that
the scent and cadaver dogs detected a suspected burial site
immediately south of the Kuss Road cul-de-sac."
Tadych placed himself at the intersection of Highway 147 and County
Road Q at 2:41 p.m.
Zellner states that "it is reasonable to conlucde that Bobby Dassey,
Scott Tadych, and Teresa Halbach were all in the same location at the
time of her last known activity, i.e. forwarding a cell phone call
prior to her death."
IMAGES ON DASSEY COMPUTER
Zellner states that new computer testing found improved images of
Teresa Halbach, violent pornography, and photos of mutilated women on a computer in the Dassey household.
The motions claims that many images bear a resemblance to Teresa
"These searches have been isolated to times when only Bobby Dassey
was home," states the motion.
Zellner claims investigators should have inferred that someone viewing
these images would have an "elevated risk of committing a sexually
motivated violent crime."
BRENDAN DASSEY CASE
Brendan Dassey's conviction has been overturned by a federal judge who ruled that Dassey's confession was coerced by investigators. However, the State of Wisconsin has appealed that decision. Arguments were heard in before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The panel of judges will decide if the lower court's ruling should stand.