Prosecutors say they'll seek to reverse an appeals court decision that the Brendan Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 in photographer Teresa Halbach's death on Halloween two years earlier.
A federal magistrate judge ruled last August that investigators coerced Dassey, who was 16 years old at the time and suffered from cognitive problems, into confessing and overturned his conviction. As USA Today reported, this is a big victory for Dassey, and may lead to Steven Avery's nephew being released from prison.
But a lower court concluded past year that investigators improperly obtained the confession from Dassey, who was 16 at the time.
They were on trial separately but were convicted of life for the crime.
Dassey confessed to helping Avery carry out the rape and murder of Halbach, but his lawyers argued that the confession was coerced. He plans to ask the full Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision.
Dassey remains in prison.
"Halbach was killed at the Avery Salvage Yard, where she had been hired to photograph vehicles for a magazine, according to court documents".
Because that confession was "essentially the only evidence the State presented against Dassey at trial", the appeals court also concluded that wrongly admitting the confession at trial could not have been "harmless error" that would allow the conviction to stand. Instead, the state appealed the judge's decision, keeping Dassey in prison and leaving a federal appeals court to decide if his conviction should be overturned or not.
Making a Murderer investigated the killing of Ms Halbach, whose charred remains were found at Avery's auto salvage yard a week after she went there to photograph a minivan for sale, and the subsequent court cases.
The state appealed the ruling, sending the case to the federal appeals court and blocking Dassey's release.
"But it's clearly the correct decision as the court pointed out the Wisconsin state courts didn't look at the specific qualities of Brendan Dassey: his intellectual limitations, and the specifics about him and they totally missed that analysis". They also could elect to re-try Dassey.
Nirider stressed that the court's ruling sent a strong message that the majority of the panel believed in Dassey's innocence.
"The majority's decision breaks new ground and poses troubling questions for police and prosecutors", Hamilton wrote. The next appointment, Zellner says, was with Steven Avery, who claims Halbach arrived at 2:31 p.m., and left a few minutes after photographing his sister's van.
Brendan Dassey's brother, Brad, is applauding the news that his brother could be set free.