Analysis of Evidence in the Teresa Halbach Investigation (Making a Murderer Documentary)

Making a Murderer exposes the systemic corruption that occurred throughout a thirty year span in the Steven Avery case in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Viewers get a rare look at what goes on behind the scenes of an investigation in which police and prosecutors disregard the rights of the accused to ensure a conviction. I am particularly interested in this case after watching the documentary because I’ve been documenting misconduct for the past five years in a separate case — the Nancy Cooper murder investigation. I have researched it in great depth and have written dozens of articles to expose the official misconduct that contributed to the wrongful conviction of Brad Cooper. You can read more about the case in my recently published book, Framed or in the many articles posted on this blog site. The Avery and Cooper cases are similar in that immediate tunnel vision and framing occurred and no alternate suspects were ever investigated.

Background: In 1985 Steven Avery was wrongfully convicted of rape and served eighteen years before being exonerated with DNA evidence in 2003 — evidence that pointed toward the perpetrator, Gregory Allen who went on to attack other women. The case was particularly egregious because the police influenced the victim with suggestive comments as she was describing the man who attacked her. The officer said “Oh, that sounds like Steven Avery,” then Avery’s mug shot was obtained and a sketch of the photo was drawn despite the fact that the perpetrator’s features described by the victim were inconsistent with Avery’s appearance in eye color, height and build. The victim told police the sketch looked like the attacker and she went on to identify Steven’s mugshot from a photo line-up. After that she identified Steven Avery from an actual line-up and then at trial testified that she was 100% certain it was him.That was all it took to obtain a conviction.

It was later determined that at the time of the attach, police had Allen under surveillance due to his many attacks on women. He was not being watched the day the victim was attacked but police never pursued him as a suspect. Also, eight years prior to Avery’s exoneration, Sargent Colborn of the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Office received information from another department that a person had confessed to a rape that occurred in Manitowoc County and that someone else was serving time for the crime. Colborn ignored information that would have exonerated Avery at that time. Little did he know, that information would become public after Avery’s exoneration.

Teresa Halbach’s disappearance: In October, 2005 Avery had good reason to feel optimistic about his future. The legislators had just approved compensation for his wrongful conviction in the amount of  $450,000 — $25,000 for each year Avery spent in prison for a crime he did not commit. As well, his attorneys filed a $36 million federal lawsuit against Manitowoc County. The lawsuit would finally expose the corruption in the case.  The officials responsible for their role in the miscarriage of justice would have to answer for it. Each of them were deposed by Avery’s attorneys.  The county would not be bailing them out either. They would be financially responsible for the damages themselves. They had much to fear.

On October 31, 2005 — just weeks after the depositions, twenty-five year old Teresa Halbach disappeared. She was a photographer for Autotrader and her last appointment for the day was at Steven Avery’s residence where his family owned and operated a salvage yard. Her car was found on the Avery property four days later. Due to a conflict of interest with the impending civil law suit, the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department was not to be involved in the investigation. A special prosecutor (Ken Kratz) from Calumet County was assigned to the case. In a shocking move, the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department ignored the instruction to stay out of the case and instead volunteered to participate in the search without disclosing the conflict of interest to those in charge of the missing person investigation. The same officers who had just been deposed due to their role in Avery’s wrongful conviction – Lenk and Colborn  were there – searching again and again!  Imagine the implications. If Avery is convicted, Lenk and Colborn’s problems disappear! The county is also off the hook for the $36 million!

CXVJSUnUMAA8Go-.png large

Lieutenant Lenk and Sergeant Colborn

Days after the vehicle was found, it was reported that human bones and teeth consistent with a young adult female were found in a burn pit near Steven Avery’s trailer. Avery’s blood was found in her vehicle and her car key was found on the floor in his trailer, but there are problems with all of the evidence. Keep in mind that police took over the entire Avery complex for an entire week and had clear opportunity and motive to frame him.

Evidence:

1. Key: After six searches of Avery’s trailer, a key to Teresa Halbach’s RAV 4 was miraculously found –  by none other than Lieutenant Lenk. An officer testified that the key was not present in six prior searches. The key contained Avery’s DNA and oddly no DNA from the victim was identified even though she touched the key every day.  It was obviously planted. It’s actually not difficult to plant mitochondrial (“touch”) DNA.

“Touch DNA usually refers to DNA that’s deposited by the skin onto an object if you touch it,” says Dr. Krista Latham, associate professor of biology and anthropology and the University of Indianapolis.

“However, our study is suggesting that term might be misleading, because what we found is that DNA can be transferred to an object that a person did not have direct contact with.”

In other words, your DNA can actually be found on objects you’ve never seen – and never, ever touched. link

side by side key

2. Steven Avery’s blood in victim’s car: Avery’s blood in the victim’s car is suspicious and very possibly planted. The defense team found a styrofoam container in the evidence box from the 1985 arrest. Both the outer and inside containers had been taped shut but the seal was broken and resealed with scotch tape. In addition to that, a hole was found at the top of the vial – as if someone inserted a hypodermic needed to extract some of the contents.  Detective Lenk’s name was listed on the 2002 transmittal form when the evidence was obtained by the Innocence Project.

blood 2blood - hole in vial

blood

3. Bone fragments: The state alleged that DNA from a bone fragment conclusively matched Teresa Halbach’s DNA profile; however it is misleading because crime lab analyst Sherry Culhane testified that she could not state conclusively that the bones were Teresa’s (update: DNA report). She cited a statistic that the odds of the DNA belonging to someone other than Teresa were one in a billion, but recent literature suggests that statistics have been misstated in many cases.

DNA testing has long been regarded as a highly reliable forensic tool that has proven invaluable in countless criminal investigation cases – but just how easy is it for a mistake to be made ? Officials at the Texas Forensic Science Commission recently discovered that labs had been producing inaccurate results by using outdated protocols when analyzing DNA samples.

In one case for example DNA recovered from a crime scene was deemed to have a million to one certainty of matching the suspect. When the same DNA test was conducted again with the new protocols however this changed to a probability of thirty to one – a very different result. link

She further testified that only 7 of 15 locations matched the known profile. Since it is not a complete match, perhaps the bones do not even belong to Teresa and were placed there to frame Avery. Whether they are hers or not, it is still very likely they were planted. It would take hours to burn a body and have the bones broken down into tiny pieces; yet Brendan arrived at the bonfire at approximately 7 p.m., and Avery’s girlfriend, Jodie called him at approximately 9:00 p.m., so he was already inside by then. That means everything was burned down after two hours? When were the bones broken up into tiny pieces?  It just isn’t logical. There does not appear to be remnants of a burned corpse in any of these photos. Please read more about the bone evidence here.

Burn pit

  Burn pit

The state alleged that steel belted tires were used to accelerate the fire, and further that bone shards were found “intertwined in the wires.” Does it look like a tire was completely burned, leaving the steel belts behind . . . or does it look like someone placed the wires there?

steel belts

  steel belts alleged to have accelerated fire

bone fragments alleged to have been found in the burn pit

  bone fragments alleged to have been found in the burn pit

Bone fragments were found in three locations — the burn pit right outside Avery’s house, a burn barrel outside Brendan Dassey’s house and the quarry. This is evidence that bones were moved, but I am not convinced that the bones even belonged to the victim.

burn barrel #2 b

Blausen_0863_ToothAnatomy_024. Teeth: Police allegedly obtained several tooth fragments from the fire pit. Forensic dentist, Dr. Simley testified that no crowns were found – there was nothing but root fragments attached to the bone. Since teeth are harder than bones and would typically survive a fire, it is very unusual that no complete teeth were found.  In most fire deaths, they are able to use dental records to identify the victims – many times they can find fillings or dental work. It is bizarre that the crowns were completely absent leaving little behind to identify who they belonged to. It takes very high heat to disintegrate teeth. Here is a good link to read more about that.

Dr. Simley’s testimony, Brendan Dassey trial

Q: Would you tell us or describe for us the condition of – – uh, these — the 24 tooth fragments and the three bone fragments that you examined?

A. They were all burned. They were all charred. Uh, they were very brittle. Um, again, they didn’t look like normal tooth like we would normally see, and essentially, the crowns were all gone. (emphasis is mine). What we were looking at was just the root structure, which was, um, part of the tooth that’s buried in the bone. There was one portion of a crown, um, but that portion was from a — cuspid or an eyetooth and was not able to be identified.

However, he testified that two root fragments were pieced together and seemed to match one of Teresa’s teeth from the x-rays. Although he could not say for certain that it was her tooth, he said it was “very close” so the jury likely believed that the tooth fragments belonged to Teresa. I am not convinced.

Dr. Don Simley, a forensic dentist from Madison, testified earlier Wednesday that one of the tooth fragments recovered on the Avery property burn pit was “very consistent” with dental records of Teresa Halbach. He said he had to glue two fragments together to match x-rays on file with Halbach’s dental records. Simley, who helped with body identification at Ground Zero in New York and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, said he stopped short of making a positive identification because he had only a fragment to work with. He noted that the pieces he did analyze were “very close” to a positive identification match. link

5. The manipulation of Brendan Dassey – Brendan Dassey, the nephew of Steven Avery was sixteen at the time of the Teresa Halbach investigation. He would have been part of Avery’s alibi, since he was with him that evening at the bonfire, but beginning in February, 2006 investigators coerced him using the Reid technique over several interviews to provide a wild story with numerous inconsistencies about witnessing Teresa’s murder. The story didn’t even work because it included a bloody scene inside Avery’s trailer and no evidence placing the victim inside the trailer was ever found. Nonetheless, Brendan was convicted based on the baseless but clearly coerced statements. He did not have a parent or attorney present during any of the interviews. It was clear that he was willing to tell them anything so he could just go home but they got what they needed to finish the case against Steven Avery and did not care that they sacrificed a boy’s freedom to “win.”

Probably the worst part of it was the fact that Dassey’s own attorney, Len Kachinsky never properly represented him. He arranged for his investigator, Michael O’Kelly to interview Brendan and at that time he was pressured to draw pictures of the murder event, even though Brendan told him repeatedly that nothing happened. They wanted to push him into a plea deal and hand him over to the state as quickly as possible. Kachinsky was later released when the judge learned that he had not been present during Brendan’s interview with investigators. It’s a very sad situation for Brendan who is still in prison ten years later.

Brendan interview with O'Kelly

   Brendan interview with O’Kelly

6. Teresa Halbach’s blood: The state had two separate theories about the victim’s manner of death — death by a gun shot wound to the head or violent stabbing (according to Brendan’s created and unfounded story). The problem the state had was that there was no evidence of either – no blood inside Avery’s home or garage, but there will be more about that later.

In the back of Teresa’s vehicle there was a small amount of blood found up against the side of the rear interior. One would expect to find considerably more blood from a person recently shot and/or stabbed but that was it.

TH blood in car2

7.The magic bullet: Police thoroughly searched the Avery garage on November 6, a day after the RAV 4 was found. They found several shell casings and labeled the location of each as seen in this photo. No bullets were found.

garageAfter Dassey’s “confession”, investigators went back to search again and amazingly they found a bullet fragment.

bulletAgent Fassbender told crime lab analyst Sherry Culhane that she needed to “place Teresa Halbach in the house or garage.”  She ran a DNA test on the bullet fragment and the control was contaminated which means the results are to be reported as “inconclusive.” Instead, she reported that Teresa Halbach’s DNA was found on the bullet. Of course, it is impossible to trust this evidence.

Despite the absence of evidence to support the state’s theories, both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey were convicted of Teresa’s murder. After reviewing the evidence, it appears there was a great deal of staging and it’s unclear what really happened to Teresa — how she died or even if she died. She is not listed in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). It is very difficult to believe that a body was burned at the alleged location, especially since no full teeth were even found. The amount of Teresa’s blood in the RAV 4 was minimal.

Some (including prosecutor Ken Kratz) are critical of the documentary suggesting that it was one-sided. I believe anyone who feels that way is missing the point. While many are weighing Avery’s guilt versus innocence, it’s clear the objective of the film was to expose the corruption that existed at every level in this case and they achieved that. Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey lost their right to a fair trial when the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department became involved in the case. Nothing about the investigation can be trusted, especially in light of the misconduct that occurred during the 1985 case – misconduct that no one has ever been held accountable for. The same players were involved here with so much to lose. It is absolutely outrageous that they were involved, but no one stepped in. The prosecutor could have said “Hey, wait a minute . . . this is concerning, this is inappropriate.” The judges did nothing to stop the unfairness. The judge allowed Dassey’s “confession” even though his attorney was released for failure to represent his client during the interrogations. The judges accepted the evidence obtained by the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department, even though the officers had no business ever stepping foot on the Avery property.

There are numerous articles criticizing the documentary about evidence that was excluded. I would counter that by adding that there is a considerable amount of misconduct that was also excluded from the series. For example, the Manitowoc coroner learned about the human remains found on the property and immediately began organizing a local team to investigate the death, but officials informed her that her assistance would not be needed. This was very unusual and suspicious, especially considering the fact that there are no photos or footage documenting the discovery of the bones alleged to have been found in the three locations.

Avery’s lead attorney, Dean Strang, also tried to elicit testimony that he said would show “investigative bias” on the part of authorities.

But the judge, Patrick Willis of Manitowoc County Circuit Court, would not allow it, saying he feared it would mislead the jury.

Strang said Manitowoc County Coroner Debra Kakatsch would testify that she was “walled off entirely” from the crime scene by Calumet County authorities.

By state statute, she should have been allowed to investigate early reports of possible human bones being found outside of Avery’s trailer, he said.

Strang said the coroner had also received calls from the Manitowoc County executive and the county’s top attorney not to investigate the case. He said they had emphasized that Calumet County authorities had taken control of the case to avoid any conflict of interest, given that Avery was suing Manitowoc County for $36 million at the time.

The Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department, however, concluded it was not a conflict for its deputies to assist in the investigation — even though Avery’s suit said the department violated his civil rights when he was wrongly convicted of a 1985 sexual assault.

“I do think that’s a double standard,” Strang said of the Sheriff’s Department participating in the investigation but not the coroner. “I don’t know the reasons, but that’s what juries are for.”  link

Investigators also neglected to identify fingerprints found on Halbach’s SUV.

Fingerprints obtained from the vehicle were compared only to a small set of prints provided by Wiegert and Fassbender. But, as assistance in a missing person case these prints were ignored.

Wisconsin has Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). The simple thing to do was to use this system to attempt the identify the recovered prints. There are several yet unidentified prints that were recovered from the SUV. link

The misconduct in the case made it impossible for Avery and Dassey to ever receive a fair trial. Picking through minor pieces of evidence that were not covered in the documentary is pointless.

I’m hopeful that new leads will surface as a result of the widespread publicity from the documentary and that we will finally learn the truth about what happened to Teresa Halbach. I also hope that those responsible for the misconduct in the case will some day be held accountable for their actions.

*** Note: I will be blogging more about this case at https://stopwrongfulconvictions.wordpress.com/ ***

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114 thoughts on “Analysis of Evidence in the Teresa Halbach Investigation (Making a Murderer Documentary)

    • You people make me laugh. Of course he is guilty. Just because he was wrongfully accused of a rape, in no way means he could not have been the obviously sexual psycho he was. He did kill her and in fact there is nothing that would indicate otherwise.

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      • WTF,
        Why not consider all the findings ? if this is true

        Investigators also neglected to identify fingerprints found on Halbach’s SUV.

        Fingerprints obtained from the vehicle were compared only to a small set of prints provided by Wiegert and Fassbender. But, as assistance in a missing person case these prints were ignored.

        Wisconsin has Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). The simple thing to do was to use this system to attempt the identify the recovered prints. There are several yet unidentified prints that were recovered from the SUV. link

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      • Actually, he is wrong. How else would you get the blood into the vial? You do not remove the stopper, that would compromise the validity and it would also no longer be sterile. I work at Labcorp and I have collected may a specimen for crime. The lawyer was wrong.

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          • It is so odd that this simple question can not be resolved , if the people who gave the vial to the police said it had no hole, does it matter what all these so called experts say on how it is done?

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            • The nurse who drew the blood and put in the vial was prepared to testify SHE put the hole in it. That is why the Doc made it like it was a big deal and then sort of let it go. It was debunked by Kratz & co. READ THE TRANSCRIPTS. STeven Avery Killed Teresa Halbach.

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        • Ok, so if the hole was there from the blood being drawn, how would someone take blood from this tube to test it? Could a syringe be inserted into that same hole and blood be withdrawn that way? If so, then the blood could still have been removed to plant inside the car to frame Avery.

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        • This is a “CBC container”, also commonly called in health care environments a “purple top”, and not a blood culture, therefore keeping things “sterile” is not a goal, nor necessary for its purpose. I have worked in health care for 30 years. I have seen blood inserted into these “purple top” containers using many techniques, and yes, many times that involves removal of the top of them. Standards and policies exist, and they vary from location to location. The reality is blood handling does in fact vary from place to place as well, and from case to case (as in the level of difficulty obtaining that blood sample from the person).

          Those who work with blood on a daily basis and have seen the controversy over the Avery “purple top” make the same conclusions —- how is the blood visually SO fresh looking / mobile / flowing within the container ? Interview any ICU nurse and ask them how OFTEN a fresh blood sample they themselves collected and IMMEDIATELY sent to the lab within the hospital was reported back as “clotted” and therefor unable to provide test results, and were requested to resubmit ANOTHER “purple top”.

          Blood is collected and handled differently in different locals. Tops on and vacuum sealed, and tops removed, blood scooped into container or collected by a syringe and dripped into container or blood collected in syringe and squirted into container using a blunt needle system. It does in fact occur using all of these methods, but many of the general ” public” simply are not aware of that. It is not always discussed even among health care professionals, but it happens based on individual circumstances of the blood draw itself

          Like all things in life and this case — the more people you discuss such things with — the more opinions and facts you will generate. Knowledge gained and questions remained……………

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    • Hi there, it would be really nice to get this confirmed. I’ve heard it said elsewhere that Lab Corp doesn’t draw their samples from the individual; rather they get their sample from another sample. If that is the case, would the syringe hole still be there?

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      • They definitely draw samples. They have labs all across the country.
        You can check out their website.

        Even if we take away the syringe hole and whether or not it is supposed to be there – it doesn’t negate the fact that the outer and inner packaging of the vial was broken and resealed poorly with scotch tape.

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        • I’m a nurse. I’ve drawn a lot of blood. That aside though. I read that the vial of blood was from a 1985 arrest. The Innocent Project apparently requested samples of evidence in 2002. Mr. Avery was arrested for the Halbach murder in 2005. 2002 to 2005. If there was a blood drop on that tube top, from a 2002 extraction, would it not have dried by 2005? I cannot imagine it would have remained beaded up like it appears in pictures, for three years. Blood on a tube top would dry and degrade.

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        • So, then can the vial itself be tested for contaminants? If the tube was opened then the blood would no longer be sterile, correct? unless, of course it was opened in a sterile environment.

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      • The hole itself is not the question, could blood be extracted from that vile, if that is what the hole is there for, in the first place.answer “yes” , was that sealed lab evidence box broken into “yes” did the police have opprotunity “yes” was there a motive “yes” does that necessarily mean that Lenk planted blood “no” it is circumstantial, only, but if co-oberated by EDTA evidence, found in the rav 4, it would have been a game changer

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    • I’m a medical professional who works in a lab and have collected blood for crimes. To collect the blood into the vial there must be a needle stick in the top of the tube. Whomever they spoke with at LabCorp mislead them. They should have been instructed to look closer at the stopper for a second prick. Also, if memory serves me well there are two tubes of blood in that kit, not only one.

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    • The pinprick is unusal because the stopper should be self-healing. Yes, there should be evidence of a needle prick, but it should also be sealed over once the needle is removed. You would not collect blood in a way that would leave tube exposed to contaimination. That is why the stopper is designed to close the hole after removing a needle. However, I have never handled a vial that old before. It would be worth cecking out to see if a stopper loses its ability to self-heal after a number of years. But I can speak that from the original extraction, there shouldn’t be a visible hole. Just a mark indicating entry.

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      • Thank you! I have been thinking and saying the exact same thing-That is an actual hole-there is no way that blood could sustain like 20 years with a big ole hole in the tube. That would make it contaminated.

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    • this is not correct, you do not put a needle in to draw the blood, a different top is used with the needle attached and then this purple top is put on to STOP contamination or tampering

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      • Have you never had a blood draw at the doctor? the container is called a “vacutainer”. there is a vacuum inside the tube. blood is collected by inserting a needle into the arm. them the blood tube is pushed onto the other end of the needle, puncturing the stopper. the vacuum inside the blood tube causes blood to be sucked into the tube.

        at the laboratory the stopper is generally removed from the top to take a sample out of the tube for testing nad then put back on. in high volume labs it would take way too long and be too expensive to use a needle to draw sample out of each tube (since a clean one would be needed for each sample). the stopper is rmoved, smaple is taken out for testing and tehn the stopper is put back onto the tube.

        i have seen hundreds of blood tubes before and after testing has been performed on them. there is often visible blood on the top of the stopper. this tube does not look unusual at all.

        fast forward to 6 minutes to see the stopper getting punctured during a routine blood draw.

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  1. The case is very puzzling : did these cops commit the murder? I don’t think many believe that.
    But only the murderer could have planted all the evidence – blood, burnt bones, the key, the bullet.
    It has all the hallmarks of an Edward Wayne Edwards manipulation. I believe that is the logical answer.

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    • The killer really only would have needed to plant the car and bones. Knowing Avery’s relationship with the police it’d be easy to assume the already proven to be corrupt police department would take care of the rest. Pretty slick way to get away with murder if something like Avery’s civil suit is going on in your town. Whether Avery’s guilty or not the strange behavior of the investigators/prosecution and Kachinsky really cast a lot of unnecessary doubt on the case.

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    • Edwards was a sickly 70 year old man when the murder happened. No way he could have physically pulled it off as he was reportedly on oxygen around that time.

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  2. In picture #7 showing all the shell casing that were found the day AFTER Teresa’s car was found on the Avery’s property, that floor does not appear to have been recently cleaned. Which the prosecution claimed Steven and Branden did with bleach, the night of her alleged murder.

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    • Agreed. It’s also worth noting that no blood was found on the clothing Brendan was wearing when he allegedly “cleaned the garage floor with bleach.” Presence of blood should be identifiable even if the clothing has been washed.

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      • “What was actually in the show is the following The blood is liquid. And get this. Right in the center of the top of the tube is a little tiny hole. Just about the size of a HYPODERMIC needle. Yes. And I spoke with a LabCorp person already who told me they don’t do that.”
        Read more at: http://transcripts.foreverdreaming.org/viewtopic.php?f=524&t=24357&sid=494dbc7ffc85165b9116e83d014604a

        The lab does not use a hypodermic needle. They still use a needle. It’s a blood vac tube. Buting isn’t stupid. This was very misleading.

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        • I do not believe Buting was intentionally misleading if it’s true that there *should* be a needle mark in the bottle. This does not negate the fact that the outer and inner tape was broken and there is no reason for anyone to have accessed that vial. If there is supposed to be a hole in the top, Labcorp did not mention it.

          I wouldn’t get too hung up on this one minor detail.

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        • Except the nurse who drew Avery’s blood was set to testify that she put the hole there and it was standard procedure. Prosecution didn’t bother as they had a solid case and the hole was a non-issue.

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      • The testimony shows the pants were not just washed and bleached, but washed 7 times at least. The lab tech said they didn’t expect to find any blood.

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  3. After looking at the side by side key, I went back through the shows and noticed that his shoes and dresser/end table kept jumping around, probably due to the search. I was wondering if anyone has done a Photoshop overlay of where the key was found in conjunction with the Nov. 5th, and 8th video. I tried to find the Nov. 5th shot in the episodes and could not find it. Could you provide me with the episode and time marker so i can do this?

    From the way it looks, the key should have showed a little in the november 5th position.

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      • So I took both images. The nov. 5th investigation was a little hard to work with as it was off a projector in the court, and not the actual picture.

        The key..COULD have been hiding under the shoes. There is only one problem. If you look at the shoes the sole, on both sides are clearly resting on the floor. If the key was under the shoes it would have been raised high enough to show a shadow, which I cannot find.

        Secondly where the key is positioned the strap, and key ring would be visible through the “V” between the shoes.

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          • Unfortunately no. Give me a couple days and I’ll make a couple pictures. I used Photoshop and over-layed both pictures. Then to actually see where the key would have been hidden (crappy at that), along with how the shoes are firmly flat on the ground you’d really have to look at the PSD and toggle the layer where the key is found versus where things are still untouched.

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    • A deputy testified that the slippers were moved “NO” key, then magically lenk spots a key were it was not before then colburn testfies rather dramatically how he picked up, shook, twisted and generally manhandled that cabinet, photographed next to the magic key, thus demonstrating how that key must have been in or on, that cabinet, jarirng it lose somehow, never mind that there was about a hundred hours of searches, conducted prior to that, in that bedroom, by a multitude of police, and dogs, but “No” key the chances of that are slim and none, and slim left town, my grandkids could do a better job finding little dinky candy easter eggs without missing one. but lets give them the benifit of doubt. However colburns testimony dos’nt square with the photographic evidence, when you look at before and after pics of the position of that cabinet, the cabinet magically remains in the same place, and there is no customary indent marks in the carpet, unless of course you believe after all of colburns rock and rolling with cabinet he just happened to put it down in the same exact spot he picked it up from! further steavie wonder could see that the items within that cabinet that just went the equivelant of an earthquake, did not seemed to be disturbed. OOOPS

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      • Right. Once they realized there was a video of that area and no key was present they had to concoct a story. Lenk said he picked up the slippers when he entered the room. Colborn shook the book case. It is simply not believable at all!

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  4. They said the key fell out from between some books after they rattled the nightstand, but that makes no sense either. The items in the nightstand don’t look moved and how would the key fall out and to the side? The side is enclosed. The key would have fallen in front. In the videos there were no books on the top of the nightstand, just an envelope.

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    • I doubt that as well, maybe if there was a physics professor or student out there that could corroborate our thoughts.

      But none the less none of this is actually going to help them, there has to be new evidence come up, which is probably the most disheartening out of all of this.

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      • I am not sure but if you can demostrate that a policeman committed purjery, and another policeman planted evidence, I believe the US Supreme court might kick it back. This case has turned into a poster child for what is very very wrong with “some” of our police, judges, juries, and the general concept of jurisprudence in this country today, it has touched a deep nerve in the minds of americans, and if the US supreme court dos’nt recognize that especially given, the hundreds of death row inmates, being released, thanks to the innocense, programs, and those that were executed for crimes they did not commi, then I don’ Know about you but I’m packing up my family, and taken them somewhere safe

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  5. I would have to say that my biggest problem with the evidence as a whole is the painfully obvious inconsistency in the alleged killer’s method of attempting to get rid of the evidence. A man so meticulous as to remove every trace of blood/DNA of the victim from the suspected murder site, would never park the victim’s vehicle (practically on display, heaping with evidence) in their own back yard. The vehicle was so poorly covered and in plain sight along that back row of cars that it was obvouisly set there to be found. My mom hid Easter eggs in that very same way for me so i would have a good chance of finding them when I was five. Then the matter of the bones. The alleged killer takes the time to burn the body, smash the bones, and scatter the remains in two other locations but leaves the majority of the fragments at the murder site? I could go on and on but I just had a few questions if anyone who may know more of the case could enlighten me: 1) Was a splatter analysis done on the Rav4 with regards to Avery’s blood? I can’t really comprehend a scenario where the blood would be where it is, how it is.
    2) How thoroughly was the quarry investigated? As I watched the series I tried to visualize the actual crime. *everything following is mere speculation* And based on everything I have seen, it seems as though the actual killer murdered Teresa, threw her in the back of her own vehicle, and drove her to the quarry where the body was burned. After the real murder scene was discovered by the police, evidence was collected to be disbursed throughout the Avery residence after discovery of the Rav4 which was driven over to the Averys’ and placed for search teams to easily find.
    I would just like to add that I am sure the majority of those who work in law enforcement are honorable men and women who are doing the right thing. But that doesn’t make 100% of them immune to corruption. There are bad seeds in everywhere.

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    • This is exactly what I think happened^^^ Is it possible that the police may have tapped his phone, and knew what time Teresa was going to be leaving. The biggest thing to me, is that there is NO Blood on the mattress Teresa was reportedly stabbed in the abdomen, and her throat was slit on. There would be a massive amount of blood on that mattress, the walls the carpet. The kids testimony was obviously coerced. And it was so ridiculously inconsistent, the judge was so biased, he should be thrown in jail. I also believe most cops are good, but I also have lived in a very small corrupt county in Louisiana before, as an outsider, and I completely see how and why these cops/sheriff/da/county did this. It is so glaringly obvious. Just wait a while. This will be wild, they are all going to go to prison.

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      • Her body could have been in the trunk when the police came on scene. The person who found the Rav4 wasn’t allowed to touch the vehicle, I understand why, but that leaves room for a body to be inside & burned later. I doubt police are murderers. But having a body that could become ashes seems like a good way to rid potential evidence and plant as needed during an 8 day window of opportunity. And the little dots of blood in the Rav4 also suspiciously resemble q-tip smears.

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        • Also there were none of Steven’s prints anywhere on the car. He had a cut on his hand where the blood is supposed to have come from. It would b impossible not to leave prints and yet leave blood all over the place!
          Besides, he has a car crusher! And he lives near lake Michegin.

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    • And remember how a phone conversation showed that Colborn did call somebody to run and check a car’s plate and make…which coincidentally happens to be that of Teresa’s?

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      • Did you notice the rapid blinking of his eyes the moment when he thought “Oh shit, how am I going to get out of trouble here?” Obviously lying…but why didn’t defence go for the jugular when this occurred?

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      • If you read the transcripts, you’d know they played over 30 calls of Colburn and others calling in and doing things like running plates, checking on notes, etc. This was not weird, it was Colburn checking his notes from Weigert’s call. READ THE TRANSCRIPTS MaM lied to you by misleading folks. Steven Avery Killed Teresa Halbach.

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  6. I worked in law enforcement (police) for over a decade and I cannot believe that, given the evidence presented, Avery was convicted. The district court Judge made basic fundamental errors allowing continuance of allowing statements by a child (i.e a person 16 years) under obvious coercion in three separate occasions. There are probably 30 instances that I said to myself “this can’t be right” when watching the program. Given, Avery is no saint, but no person should be treated like this in a court of law…..

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    • Agreed. Unfortunately the system is not as fair as most believe. It is scary to think about all the cases we are not even aware of where this type of thing happens.

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  7. Solid post. Thank you for putting this out there.

    I didn’t know until reading this that unidentified prints were found in the Rav4. What are the chances that they were identified and that is some of the new evidence his new attorney is putting forward?

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    • Thank you.
      I do not believe the new evidence is related to the prints, although that is something they will probably look into. It never hurts to run prints through the database.

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  8. I feel like the 2 people who I believe are Brendons brother and Step father ( Bobby and Scott I think) might have something to do with this. I guess it’s just a feeling I got from watching them testify. I mean they were bow hunting and I am pretty positive when an arrow enters something it make a round hole. Could this be what caused the rounded indentions in the skull bones rather than a bullet? I am not even sure if an arrow would go threw a skull but it was just a thought that came to me

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    • I don’t know what the motive would have been. I will say that it seems like the prosecution got to them. They both lied in their testimony as witnesses for the state.

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      • Maybe it was just random, could have been an accident, or maybe the corrupt cops put them up it to have them do the dirty work. I mean those two were the only two who could verify where each other were. They just seemed very strange to me.

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        • Here’s what I think happened:

          Teresa was murdered after meeting with Steven Avery by someone (maybe whoever was harrassing her by text/phone).
          Her car was dumped somewhere by the murderer and the body buried or dumped.
          When the search was on for Teresa, the police found the car but never found the body of Teresa.
          Two days after finding the Rav4 the police swabbed Steven Avery’s blood on the Rav4 and planted it in the Avery yard. Remember these guys’ jobs were at stake because of the lawsuit against them, and this was the perfect opportunity to protect their jobs and get rid of Steven.
          Some bones were planted by the police in the burn pits in Steven Avery’s yard. These were probably not Teresa’s bones. I don’t believe that the police found Teresa’s body because if they had they would have also used her blood to plant further evidence.
          A few months later, when the forensic evidence from the bones showed that the person whose bones they were may have been shot, a bullet was planted by the police in Steven Avery’s yard.

          – I’m not sure … maybe some of the evidence contradicts this explanation?

          It seems to me that they should retest all the evidence and that this should be done by an independent (not even American) medical lab.

          The treatment of Brendan Dassey shown in this documentary was one of the most disgusting things I have ever witnessed. I hate that I live in a world where this kind of thing happens and that I live in a country that is following in America’s footsteps in its administrative practices, and in its ‘justice system’.

          The Avery family were outside of society and the American justice system not only allowed but encouraged their victimisation.

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  9. so i have read just about every page written on steve avery’s case…

    I just learned that a man filling up at a gas station saw the rav 4 leave…so where did she go? somebody stalking her? remember her friend who said give me his number and I will talk to him. remember?

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  10. I agree because it’s too many if’s and we really can’t prove that she is dead. They said she’s not in the social securtiy death index. So she may still be alive and this is all made up.

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  11. So I just finished the documentary.

    Brendan “confessed” to have seen toes in the fire. What bone fragments were found in the fire? Would it be dismissed if there were no toe bones found in the fire as they were fully consumed?

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    • I’m not really sure about that but none of his story makes any sense and it’s just so obvious they fed it to him. It’s disgusting how they manipulated that kid.

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  12. If everything was documented by video none of this would have happened…think about it, if there was video of the evidence room, video of when they searched the property, fingerprints of license plate and blood vial, prints on vehicle,footprint impressions near vehicle. There was no lie detector test given, even if it wasnt admissable its still a reliable tool that usually isnt wrong. I just dont get it…how did they get away with convicting him with that key, its impossible for her dna to not be on it, nevermind the fact that it magically appeared days later in plain view, anonymous calls for her to take pics? How can that happen if the caller has to send her to that address and its all documented. I could go on and on but i wont…one word Corruption, major bullshit, i hope someone confesses on their deathbed…

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    • Actually lie detectors are junk science, their “results” mean nothing. It’s as scientific as reading tea leaves, or scrying, or using a dowsing rod. Civilised countries can’t believe that the US has a hard on for lie detector tests

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    • Actually if you read Brendan’s interview with Mike O’Kelly (the investigator hired by his first lawyer) he said that he administered a polygraph and Brendan failed it. He got 98% deceptive.

      However knowing what I know about this case I wouldn’t put my faith in the results being 100% genuine. I also don’t know if Brendan has other factors going on that could cause that result (medication). Regardless, lie detectors aren’t admissible in court for a reason and that’s because they’re not reliable.

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  13. Pingback: The Integrity of the Halbach Investigation was Severely Compromised | Stop Wrongful Convictions

  14. If we’re on the jury, you have to be asking these questions…What’s his motive? Where’s the murder weapon? Why no DNA in the trailer or garage? Why is her DNA not on the key? Why do we find his blood in the car but not his fingerprints? Why would he put her in the trunk of her own car if he killed her in the garage (or trailer like the creepy DA breathlessly announced in that press conference) and then burned her in his own fire pit right next to both of those structures? The DA said recently that the TV series didn’t mention that they found his DNA on the hood latch….the hood latch…what?…so he was going to change the oil and put some new plugs in after he raped and killed that poor woman? And, probably most of all….are we really supposed to believe that Steve Avery, who’s already paranoid about the police for good reason, would rape, beat, and kill a woman on his own property, leave the car key in his room, wipe the car clean of prints but not of his VISIBLE blood on the dashboard and her VISIBLE hair and blood in the trunk, burn the body in his own firepit, and leave the victim’s car haphazardly “covered” on his car lot. He’s appears to only be marginally smarter than Brendan but seriously?

    People who believe Avery did it ask…OK, if it wasn’t him who did do it? My answer is that I don’t know but I don’t necessarily need to know to find him not guilty b/c there absolutely is reasonable doubt in my mind.

    Does anyone else find it strange that the ex-boyfriend was leading the charge on the Search party? If you had something to do with her disappearance, wouldn’t that be a good way to deflect suspicion? Then he hacks into her phone inbox AND deletes messages. Huh? Who does that? He’s her ex of 5 years…he has way more motive (scorned lover) than Steve Avery. The Colburn/Lenk behavior and access to the property doesn’ really require add’l comment. The Calumet Sherriff unequivocally said Manitowoc PD was not going to be involved, yet they were all over the grounds. Apologies for the long post, but I just finished and I’m fired up.

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    • Preach it! IMO her brother and her ex are clearly involved, her brother just looks really dodgy. Did you see his face when her sleazebag ex was asked about hacking into her phone, and asked how the messages had been accessed from the phone two days after Steven Avery “murdered” her? Even more disgusting is the fact that the police interviewed ex + bro together! WTF?

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  15. “The county would not be bailing them out either. They would be financially responsible for the damages themselves. They had much to fear.”

    “The county is also off the hook for the $36 million!”

    You seem to contradict yourself in the fourth and fifth paragraphs of your post above. Can you elaborate on why you believe that Lenk and Colborn would have had personal financial responsibility had Avery’s federal lawsuit succeeded? I’d understood the lawsuit to have been filed against Manitowoc County.

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  16. Very good read! I read things I didn’t know about, so thank you. Anyway, I found a video on you tube and it was with the call in of the license plate. After Colburn says “99 Toyota” it sounds like a woman saying “the car is here”. The person who made the video thinks it was Pam Strum, the lady that found the car. I watched a couple more video’s of the same scene but different users to make sure you could hear it in all of them and you can. Have you seen this video yet? Wanted to know your thoughts.

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  17. Being a woman, I know for a fact that women shed hairs EVERYWHERE. If Teresa Halbach were ever inside his house or garage, there would have been hairs somewhere. He would not have been able to clean up so well that he can rid the scenes of ALL trace. There would have been blood drops somewhere. Dassey’s confessions say she was restrained on Avery’s bed. Trust me, there would have been hair somewhere near there. There wasn’t any blood, yet her throat was cut while she was restrained?

    Dassey also said her purse, phone, and wallet were placed in the burn pit. Where is the trace from those? Purses have metal pieces, and unless his fire disintegrated metal, then there would be fragments of her purse, as well as a melted shell of a cell phone. Plastic doesn’t disintegrate so easily.

    Has anyone considered that crooked cops will not always get their own hands dirty, but will find someone who will? “If you scratch my back, I will scratch yours.” It’s generally referred to as murder for hire. Consider the fact that lead prosecutor, Kratz, was sexually harassing women during the trial, then shouldn’t his credibility be questioned? His deviations affect his judgment. If he’s willing to use his authority to sexually harass victims he is supposed to be working for, then he’s willing to use his authority and connections to help a fellow brother of the law cover their tracks.

    Another question I wondered: someone other than Teresa drove that Rav 4 to it’s discovery location. Seats have to be adjusted for height. They can determine approximate height of a person by the seat’s adjustment to the pedals. Was the seat’s adjustment ever looked into?

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    • They did check the seat placement. It was 18 inches from brake to seat and it appears it was not moved. It was consistent with her height. However, Avery was about the same height.

      Honestly after looking at everything, I think the most likely scenario is that it was a staged death. I do not believe the bones were hers. I think they got them from the morgue after a cremation.

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  18. I might have got this wrong.. But did anyone else find it a bit suspect that colborn was the officer transporting Brandon to and from the court room.. He should have had nothing to do with it. I know he was more involved in Steves case but I still think he shouldn’t be working near the trial If he’s involved with the trial. I’m also interested to hear why anyone is so set on the idea that Steve could be guilty.. Is this purely based on the evidence against him presented at the trial? I’m honestly just interest to here both sides from people who aren’t in the ‘making a murderer’ series. I personally don’t think either of them did it but Im still interested to hear theories each way.

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    • As an edit for my previous comment id like to add that he also escorted avery to and from the court room. I can’t get my head around it!!!

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    • I thought it was wrong too. I also hated how Fassbender and Wiegert handled all the court exhibits – took them right up to the witnesses after they coerced them into shaping their statements so they would be consistent with their theory.

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      • This is why I was curious to hear why anyone things he’s guilty.. And do those that think he’s guilty think there was anything wrong with the way the trial was handled.. surely even those who are happy with the outcome would agree it wasn’t done correctly. I’m not sure about anyone else on this thread but I’m from England, U.K. And I’ve never come across a case that I’ve felt this strongly about before, is misjustice as common globally as it seems to be in America or is it pretty equal.. Since learning about the avery dassey cases I’ve looked into more cases similar and the majority seem to be in the states

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  19. I think to find some truth in what happened to Teresa is to crack Colborn. He called the plates in on the 3rd. Why? He can’t explain. He is a police officer. If he can’t explain this then is he suitable for the role considering his struggle with selective amnesia. That phone call has to be explained. Because to me, its sounds very much like he finds the car on the 3rd.

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  20. Great article…I think he’s just a totally innocent nice guy….sure someone else killed her and drug her car over to his place and just pinned it on him….geez….think he is just as innocent as OJ…LOL

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