Steven Avery's attorney requests new trial, new judge

Published: Mar. 12, 2019 at 10:12 AM CDT
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Steven Avery's attorney has filed a motion asking the circuit court to reverse his conviction for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach and order a new trial. The motion also requests a new judge to preside over the case.

Kathleen Zellner filed the post-conviction relief motion March 11 in Manitowoc County. The case, which had been in the appeals court, was sent back to circuit court so Zellner could file this motion.

The motion says the State of Wisconsin "spent an enormous amount of time and effort perpetrating a fraud upon Steven Avery's jury" during his 2007 trial for 1st Degree Intentional Homicide. Zellner claims that the state "created a narrative that Teresa Halbach was murdered in Mr. Avery's garage and burned in his burn pit."

Zellner says it is possible that remains found at a Manitowoc County gravel pit belonged to Teresa Halbach, and that would have poked a hole in the prosecution's theory that Halbach never left the Avery property on the day of her murder -- Oct. 31, 2005.

The state handed the gravel pit remains over to the Halbach family in 2011.

"The State, by its actions in returning Manitowoc Gravel Pit bones to the Halbach family in 2011, has implicitly admitted that the bones were not only human but that they belonged to Ms. Halbach," reads the motion.

The motion claims the State of Wisconsin violated Youngblood v. Arizona when it returned the bones to the Halbach family but failed to inform Steven Avery about it.

Zellner also states that Special Prosecutor Ken Kratz concealed that there were gravel pit bone fragments.

"Because of Prosecutor Kratz's misrepresentations to the jury, Mr. Avery's conviction must be reversed," Zellner states.

The motion also calls for Judge Angela Sutkiewicz to remove herself from presiding over the Avery case in circuit court. Zellner says Sutkiewicz lacks the ability to be impartial.

"By virtue of having presided over the prior civil suit filed against Mr. Avery by the Halbach family for the death of Teresa Halbach, Judge Sutkiewicz should recuse herself from the pending post-conviction case, and it should be reassigned to a different judge," Zellner says.

Zellner also notes that Sutkiewicz and Kratz served together on a Crime Victim's Rights Board in 2007-2008. That's during the time frame of the Avery trial.

to read the full motion.

Zellner also filed exhibits to supplement the motion.

to view the exhibits.

Action 2 News reached out to the Wisconsin Department of Justice for statement on the new filing. We have not received a response at the time of the publication.

No future hearings have been scheduled.

Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, are serving life sentences for the Halbach murder. Dassey appealed up to the United States Supreme Court based on claims that his confession was coerced by investigators. The Supreme Court declined to hear Dassey's argument.

The case is the subject of Emmy Award-winning Netflix series Making A Murderer.