People convinced Making a Murderer’s Steven Avery was framed in the death of Teresa Halbach are touting a new piece of evidence online.
A group headed by Reddit contributor Skip Topp, funded by crowdsourcing, has published Halbach’s death certificate.
The document was obtained through a Freedom of Information request and can be viewed, along with 360 other documents from the case, at stevenaverycase.org.
Global News has confirmed the authenticity of the document with the Manitowoc County Register of Deeds.
“It is a record that was issued from our office,” said Preston Jones, whose signature appears on the certificate.
He said Halbach’s death certificate has been amended twice and the online version does not reflect all changes. It is illegal to publish the death certificate online, Jones added.
In a section indicating whether the body in question has been found, “no” is checked off. But another section indicates an autopsy has been completed.
Under “Cause of death” the word “undetermined” has been written, and crossed out and elsewhere is says “homicide”.
The certificate is dated Nov. 10, 2005 – more than two months before an FBI lab confirmed the human remains in question belonged to Halbach.
Avery, arrested on a gun charge Nov. 9, 2005, was charged in the 25-year-old’s death a week later, on Nov. 15.
Making a Murderer is a 10-part documentary series that follows the case of 53-year-old Wisconsin native Avery. He is currently serving a life sentence (without the possibility for parole) for Halbach’s murder and for illegally possessing a firearm.
Avery had previously been jailed for 18 years for a 1985 sexual assault and was exonerated in that case by newly discovered DNA evidence in 2003.
After his release from jail Avery sued Manitowoc County for $36 million for wrongful conviction. Before the lawsuit was settled he was charged in the death of Halbach.
Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were convicted in the death of Halbach in 2007. Both maintain their innocence.
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More than 400,000 people have signed online petitions to see Avery freed or pardoned.
In early February, Manitowoc County asked for more time to gather documents related to Avery’s case, as he seeks a new trial. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals has granted the request, and the county has until Mar. 11, 2016 to comply.
With files from Chris Jancelewicz