Making A Murderer: State gets extension to file response in Avery appeal

Courtesy: Wisconsin Department of Corrections

MANITOWOC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - The State of Wisconsin has been granted more time to file their response in the appeal of Making A Murderer subject Steven Avery.

Court records show Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General Lisa Kumfer was granted an extension on Feb. 5.

The brief was initially due Feb. 11. The extension gives the state until March 27 to file.

This is the second time the District 2 Court of Appeals has granted more time to the state for their response to Avery.

Avery is appealing his 2007 conviction of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide for the murder of freelance photographer Teresa Halbach.

Halbach disappeared Oct. 31, 2005, after being called to the Avery Salvage Yard to photograph vehicles for a magazine. Investigators say Halbach's remains were found in a burn pit on the Avery property in Manitowoc County.

Wisconsin residents followed the case for years. In 2015, it became an international story with the release of Emmy Award-winning Netflix docu-series "Making A Murderer."

Last October, Avery attorney Kathleen Zellner filed a brief asking the appeals court to grant Avery a new trial or evidentiary hearing.

Zellner presented 10 "complex legal issues" that she asks the Appeals court to consider. CLICK HERE for full coverage of the 10 legal issues.

In one of those points, Zellner says the circuit court was mistaken in denying Avery's supplemental motion regarding human bones in the nearby Manitowoc County Gravel Pit.

Avery filed a motion for a new trial based on alleged violations of Arizona v. Youngblood. Zellner says violations occurred when bone fragments found in the gravel pit were handed over to the Halbach family without informing Avery. Zellner says evidence was likely destroyed.

"Based on the foregoing, Mr. Avery set forth sufficient material facts pertaining to the destruction of apparently exculpatory or potentially exculpatory human bone fragments to warrant an evidentiary hearing. Despite the circuit court’s erroneous ruling to the contrary, Mr. Avery is entitled to such a hearing on his claims because the material facts he alleged in his supplemental motion, (i.e., who, what, when, where, why, and how) are sufficient to show that he is entitled to relief," says Zellner.

CLICK HERE to read Zellner's brief.

Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, was also convicted of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide in the case. He appealed his case up to the United States Supreme Court. The justices declined to hear arguments.

Dassey asked Gov. Tony Evers to grant him a pardon or clemency. The governor's office and pardon advisory board stated Dassey does not meet the eligibility conditions for a pardon or commutation of sentence.

CLICK HERE for more coverage of the Dassey case.

No physical evidence tied Dassey to the murder. Dassey's attorneys believe he falsely confessed to being part of the crime.

Dassey was 16 at the time of the killing of Teresa Halbach. His attorneys argue investigators used improper techniques while interrogating a juvenile with a low IQ. They say investigators made false promises to Dassey that he'd be released if he told them about the killing.

"Now 30 years old, Brendan Dassey has been imprisoned for thirteen years based only on a false confession that is inconsistent with the known facts of the case, has been disproven by DNA and forensic evidence, and was immediately recanted. That false confession was the result of a deeply flawed interrogation of a 16-year-old special education student with profound learning disabilities," reads a statement from Dassey's attorneys.

Action 2 News will continue to follow this developing story.