Steven Allan Avery is an American convict whose rollercoaster story featured in Netflix’s Making a Murderer. In 1985, a court convicted Avery of sexual assault and attempted murder. Eighteen years into his 32-year sentence, DNA testing helped exonerate Avery. Following his release, Avery filed a $36 million lawsuit against the authorities that wrongfully convicted him.
Steven Avery is in prison in 2021, as four years after his release, he was sentenced to life for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Making a Murderer supports Avery’s insistence that he is innocent. The series introduces new evidence and exposes instances of evidence tampering and witness coercion. Avery believes authorities in Manitowoc County conspired to send him back to prison.
Steven suffered another setback as the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to review his case
In November 2021, the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear Steven’s request to review his case. The request for review was a long shot from Steven’s team as the Supreme Court accepts about 1-2% of review requests.
The Supreme Court usually reviews cases presenting legal questions, declining review requests that focus on factual issues. Avery’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, told USA Today that she expected the rejection.
“We are not surprised since the Wisconsin Supreme Court only grants 1-2% of petitions for review. Mr. Avery has many options including proceeding to the U.S Supreme Court, and then federal district.”
In early January 2022, Zellner tweeted that the fight to secure Steven’s freedom continues:
“Just in case any of you are wondering we are working as hard as ever on Steven Avery’s case. We will be filing a new petition with a huge amount of new evidence. We will never give up pounding on the doors of justice for him.”
Steven and his attorney Kathleen Zellner await the Court of Appeal decision on the admissibility of new evidence
In mid-April 2021, Kathleen Zellner filed papers claiming that a new witness had emerged with crucial testimony. The witness, delivery driver Thomas Sowinski, claims that he saw Bobby Dassey – an essential prosecution witness – and an older man pushing a Toyota RAV-4, the car model driven by Theresa, in the early morning hours of 5th November 2005.
Thomas claims that he delivered the newspapers and had to swerve to avoid hitting Bobby, who had tried to stop Thomas from leaving the property. “Bobby Dassey looked me in the eye, and I could tell with the look in his eyes that he was not happy to see me there,” Thomas’ affidavit reads.
Sowinski adds that he reported the matter, but a ‘female officer’ dismissed him, saying, “We already know who did it.” Kathleen opines that Thomas’ revelation is so crucial that the court should stay the appeal and order a new trial in the circuit court. Alternatively, the court should allow the admission of new evidence, which usually doesn’t happen in the Appeals court.
Kathleen claims that the value of Sowinski’s testimony is that “it would have destroyed entirely the credibility of Bobby as the state’s primary witness; established that Bobby was directly involved in the murder of (Halbach); and established that Bobby planted evidence to frame his uncle.”
Bobby Dassey testified that he saw Theresa walk towards Avery’s trailer, after which he never saw her again. Michael O’Hear, a law professor speaking to the Post Crescent, stated that it is surprising that new evidence has appeared at the appeals stage. He added that, generally, courts dispute that the new evidence could have changed the outcome of a trial.
However, he described the case as unusual and added that ‘we can’t be surprised by any new twists and turns.’ “Avery Update: Still waiting for Court of Appeals decision,” Kathleen Zellner tweeted on 4th July.
Following his mother’s death, Steven fears that his dad will pass away while Steven is still in prison
On 8th July 2021, Kathleen tweeted that Steven Avery’s mother, Dolores Avery, had passed away. She died a day before Steven’s 59th birthday, which was on 9th July 2021.
“Steven Avery had his 59th birthday today without the presence of his mother,” Kathleen tweeted on 10th July. “Her unwavering love, courage & belief in him are the gifts she left behind. To honor her legacy, we must fight on until there is real justice for him.”
Steven Avery’s dad, Allan Avery, is still alive, but Steven fears that Allan will pass away before Steven potentially leaves prison. “I worry my Dad will not live to see me as a free man,” Steven told TMZ following his mom’s death. Steven added:
“Losing my parents before I got out has always been my worst nightmare. Now it has happened. Today I lost the person I most wanted to take care of and give a better life when I am freed. I cannot put in words the pain of losing my mom.”