We all remember back in December 2015 when super-cool and exploratory TV makers Netflix released the documentary ‘Making a Murderer.’ If you didn’t or haven’t watched it yet then where on Earth have you been? The series focused on Dassey who, alongside his Uncle Avery, was convicted of murdering a young woman (Theresa Halbach) in 2005. The series cast a fair amount of speculation over whether or not due process was followed, enough speculation to get Dassey’s conviction overturned. Earlier this week a jury of American Judges reversed the decision and Dassey has been found guilty once again.
Ms. Halbach’s charred remains were found less than a week after she disappeared and upon Avery’s property. Her last known appointment had been scheduled at Avery’s Auto Salvage Yard. The 25-year-old photographer lived locally and was one of five siblings. She had a bright career in front of her and was cherished by her family. Her car and traces of her blood were found at the scene. Regardless of who killed her or how many TV shows were made about it let us first take a moment and pay a special thought to her, because she is the only true victim in all of this.
The case has drawn so much argument because of the many ways in which Dassey ought to have been treated but wasn’t. Now 27 years old, Dassey was only 16 at the time of his confession, and a mixture of concerns over his age, his learning difficulties and the lack of an adult present during most of his interrogation were raised in the series and subsequently in his appeal. A judge had previously ordered Dassey be freed immediately back in 2016 on account of these discrepancies, ruling that the young man had been coerced into admitting the deed. Even with that decision now overturned the new jury were not unanimous, holding at a 4-3 split which seems to reflect the decisions of society. Some think Dassey guilty, others think he is not. If it is reasonable to assume that Dassey was young and naïve enough to be ‘coerced’ by the Police then he may well have been equally as ‘coerced’ by his uncle Avery, into helping him take care of the body. The question remains over whether or not it is right to imprison someone as long as there is reasonable doubt that they did not commit the crime- but that is a different discussion entirely.
So what next for Dassey? While Netflix moves on to produce season two and potentially free another innocent man from jail, Dassey goes back to prison, there to remain pending any further appeals. Let’s hope that when he next arrives in court he is judged by a jury who have never set eyes on ‘Making a Murderer’ and who know little or nothing about the case. Only then will he be tried impartially, and only then will society have no other choice but to accept the outcome, once and for all.