New Avery documents: phone calls and Facebook posts contradict key witness

Published: Nov. 1, 2017 at 2:02 PM CDT
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Steven Avery and his attorneys say they have uncovered additional new evidence that shows two other men are connected to the murder of Teresa Halbach.

Documents were filed in Manitowoc County on Nov. 1, 12 years after the disappearance of Halbach. These documents are intended to supplement the defense's Oct. 23 motion for reconsideration that asks a judge to grant Avery an evidenciary hearing.

In 2007, Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, were convicted of killing Halbach, a freelance photographer who had visited the Avery property on Oct. 31, 2005. Both men were sentenced to life in prison.

New interest in the case was sparked by the Netflix docu-series "Making A Murderer."

Recently, a judge denied Avery's request for a new trial based on new scientific testing on some evidence found at the scene. Avery's team, led by attorney Kathleen Zellner, says the judge should reconsider because they were not finished submitting evidence.

Zellner claims Avery should get a new hearing because his trial attorneys failed to investigate another family member for the murder of Teresa Halbach.

The motion claims Brendan Dassey's brother, Bobby, and stepfather, Scott Tadych, gave false testimony at trial. The documents claim Bobby Dassey, considered a star witness for the defense, lied when he said he never saw Halbach's vehicle leave the Avery Salvage Yard after she took photos of a vehicle for a magazine.

In a supplement filed on Nov. 1, Zellner introduces a conversation between Avery, Scott Tadych, and Scott's wife, Barb. Barb is Steven Avery's sister and the mother of Bobby and Brendan Dassey.

The call, made on Oct. 24, 2017, was recorded by the Waupun Correctional Center where Steven Avery is serving his life sentence.

Avery and Barb Tadych discuss the new evidence pointing a finger at Scott Tadych and Bobby Dassey and questioning Bobby's testimony that he did not see Halbach leave the Avery property prior to her murder.

This transcript is included in the document filed by Avery:

STEVEN AVERY: Bobby's home.

BARB TADYCH: He wasn't always home.

STEVEN AVERY: Well, you -- well, most of the time he was home.


SCOTT TADYCH:He doesn't know f--ing s--t.

STEVEN AVERY: And he said [sic] left. She left.

SCOTT TADYCH: That's right.

BARB TADYCH: Yeah. She left.



STEVEN AVERY: Well, he didn't testify for [sic] that.

Zellner also says Barb Tadych's statements on Facebook contradict Bobby Dassey's testimony.

In another point, Zellner accuses Barb Tadych of trying to remove evidence from her computer before it was seized by police in 2006.

Brad Dassey, Barb Tadych's stepson, said in an affidavit that Barb Tadych talked about having her computer reformatted before it was seized by authorities.

Avery is asking for an evidenciary hearing based on the claims made within the supplement and the original motion filed on Oct. 23.

In that document, Zellner says a new witness has come forward to say 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.

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 killers."

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.


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."


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 Halbach.

"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'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.