Steven Avery of Making a Murderer might be closer to getting out of prison, if his lawyer Kathleen Zellner’s latest approach proves fruitful.
Zellner’s plan is to use advanced luminol testing to exonerate Avery, who’s currently in jail for the 2005 murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach. Zellner plans to bring a fresh appeal to court in less than 30 days.
According to Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, luminol testing is used to detect blood in large areas that can’t be seen during the visual examination. (Think of the black light used in hotel rooms to detect body fluids.)
The forensic site says that “scientists can take advantage of the luminol reaction to locate potential blood evidence that would be undetectable through visual examination. The light, or luminescence, emitted in the luminol reaction is thought to result when an oxidizing agent, such as blood, catalyzes the oxidation of luminol by hydrogen peroxide in a basic solution.”
According to multiple sources, by using this method, it can retroactively prove the absence of Halbach’s blood from areas of Avery’s property, illustrating that she wasn’t killed in his garage or in his trailer, as the prosecution insisted she was.
Zellner has also reportedly bought a Toyota RAV 4 (the exact same make and model of Halbach’s car, which was discovered on Avery’s property conspicuously covered up), with the intention of studying the vehicle to see what role it plays in the murder investigation.
“We are continuing to examine every aspect of Mr. Avery’s case and all of his legal options,” Zellner said in a statement. “We are confident Mr. Avery’s conviction will be vacated when we present the new evidence and results of our work to the appropriate court.”
In recent reports related to the Avery case, ex-FBI cold-case expert John Cameron asserted that the Halbach murder has all the earmarks of infamous serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards, and Avery is being framed.
Over 400,000 people have signed online petitions to see Avery freed or pardoned.
Netflix’s Making a Murderer is a 10-part documentary series that follows the case of 53-year-old Wisconsin native Avery. He is serving a life sentence (without the possibility for parole) for the murder of Halbach and illegally possessing a firearm. Avery, who had previously been jailed for 18 years for a sexual assault in 1985, was exonerated in that case by newly discovered DNA evidence in 2003.
Two years later, Avery brought a US$36-million lawsuit against Manitowoc County, Wis., for the wrongful conviction. Making a Murderer calls into question the investigation and trial that put Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, behind bars, and alleges that the investigators and police in the case planted evidence and otherwise manipulated the outcome of the trial.