Steven Avery files appeal, asking judge to throw out his murder conviction

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MANITOWOC COUNTY — Steven Avery has filed an appeal — asking a judge to throw out his conviction for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach.  Avery wants to be released from prison while the Wisconsin Court of Appeals considers his latest challenge to his 2007 murder conviction.

The appeal was signed by Avery on January 7th. It was received by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals on Monday, January 11th.

Avery has filed two motions alleging violations of due process rights in his prosecution for the rape and murder of Halbach.  One of the motions claims a search warrant executed on the property was invalid, meaning evidence from the search should have been inadmissible. The second motion claims a juror pressured others into voting guilty. The motion seeks a stay of enforcement of the judgment and release on bond.

According to the court documents, Avery says the jurors were tainted, because one juror made repeated comments that he was “(expletive) guilty.”

Avery says the juror in question also told the other jurors, “If you can’t handle it, why don’t you tell them [the judge] and just leave.”

Steven Avery and Teresa Halbach

Steven Avery and Teresa Halbach

The new legal documents show Avery claims the search that ultimately produced incriminating evidence against him — including his blood in Halbach’s vehicle, and the key to Halbach’s vehicle which was located in Avery’s bedroom was illegal.

The documents indicate Avery feels the scope of the search exceeded the limits set by the search warrant itself.

The documents show Avery is claiming Halbach’s vehicle wasn’t property sealed with tamper-proof tape — allowing officers to open and close the doors and plant evidence inside that vehicle.

Avery filed the documents himself. The documents indicate Avery feels his lawyer incompetently represented him in this case.

Avery is asking the Wisconsin Court of Appeals to declare a mistrial. If the court decides to vacate Avery’s conviction based on his claims, prosecutors would have to decide whether to retry him without the impermissible evidence.

Prosecutors laid out their case during Avery’s trial: Halbach’s Toyota RAV4 (which had blood in it, including Avery’s) was found on the Avery family’s lot. Tissue and bone fragments that matched Halbach’s DNA profile were found outside Avery’s mobile home. Avery’s then-16-year-old nephew, Brendan Dassey, confessed to authorities that he had assisted his uncle in raping and killing Halbach.

Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey

Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey

READ IT: Appeal motion filed by Steven Avery with Wisconsin Court of Appeals. NOTE: There is some strong language included in these documents.

Avery and Dassey are each serving life sentences for the murder.

There is currently a federal habeas petition alleging that Dassey’s constitutional rights were violated and it requests that his conviction be vacated.

Avery wrote and filed his appeal before noted defense attorney Kathleen Zellner took on his case.

On Monday, January 11th, FOX6 News obtained a statement from Zellner, who indicated she feels confident her client’s conviction will be vacated.

Zellner said on Friday she is teaming up with the Midwest Innocence Project. The Law Firm of Kathleen T. Zellner and Associates has assumed representation of Avery in all of his pending criminal matters.

Zellner said in a statement to FOX6 News on Monday she is not doing interviews about this case right now — and that they are examining Avery’s legal options.

Zellner said they will present new evidence to “the appropriate court.”

READ IT: Statement from Kathleen Zellner on Avery case.

Steven Avery released from prison in 2003

Steven Avery released from prison in 2003

Ken Kratz, who was the Calumet County district attorney and the lead prosecutor in the case, shared his thoughts with WBAY.

“I’m disappointed that Mr. Avery’s appellate lawyers are allowing him to continue to file pleadings with the court on his own — that’s what lawyers are hired to do,” he said. “And this appears to be an example of Mr. Avery doing exactly what he wants to and when he wants to do it.”

Avery was convicted in 1985 in the rape of jogger Penny Beerntsen on a beach near her home in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. After serving 18 years in prison he was exonerated based on DNA evidence connecting the attack to another man.

Avery was released in 2003 and filed a lawsuit against Manitowoc County for wrongful conviction and imprisonment. Two years later, he was arrested in the death of Halbach, whose charred remains were found on his family’s auto salvage yard.

Avery is the subject of a popular new docuseries on Netflix called “Making A Murderer.”

Netflix "Making A Murderer"

Netflix “Making A Murderer”

The docuseries shows how Avery’s defense makes the case that officers investigating Avery had a conflict of interest and stayed involved after they were ordered to hand over the investigation to a neighboring county.

Avery’s defense also implied key pieces of evidence in this case could have been planted, and that Avery was framed.

Wisconsin prosecutors and law enforcement have accused the documentary directors of cherry-picking the evidence to cast it in a light favorable to Avery.

The Netflix docuseries was released on December 18th — and since its release, there have been calls for Avery and Dassey’s release.

The only person who could issue a pardon in this case is Governor Scott Walker. Walker has said he will not do so.


    • Brandie Alexander

      Just so you know-I rebutted that guy and he said NOTHING because he knew I was right on every point I made. I’ve tried to get him to answer me again and he won’t because he CANT. And other people applauded me for it.

  • zodiac

    Ted is correct – Steven Avery is a rapist/sexual sadist, murderer, and an animal abuser. Anyone who thinks Steven Avery should be released from prison should invite him to move into their home and make sure he is around your wife, daughter(s), granddaughter(s), niece(s), sister(s), etc. Oh yes, don’t forget to have him around your family pet(s) as well – and good luck with that, let me know how it works out for you. Steven Avery should be on death row, too bad Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.

    • Brandie Alexander

      Says who? Nancy grace and her lies? The man has NEVER sexually assaulted ANYONE in his entire life-There was 0 DNA, 0 Blood, 0 evidence of ANYTHING in your claims. Its people like you that listen to nancy grace and her lies and say he is a rapist, murderer, etc. You are so part of the problem with the system.

    • Shaz Gaknar

      Do you live in manitowoc co? I wouldn’t worry about Steven Avery getting out if you do. I’m sure by now he knows the first thing he needs to do is get the hell out of that corrupt backwater

  • Kim Neises

    It is beyond belief that Steve Avery is still in prison for the horrible crimes against him he did not commit. The justice system has failed him and his family to an absolute nauseating extent.What an outrage among the people who are supposed to serve the needs of the people! !! It’s way past time to free this man that has been convicted unfairly.

    • Shaz Gaknar

      The problem is that even when LE, evidence experts, da’s etc are found guilty of misconduct, most of them never get any punishment at all. Even after avery’s rape exoneration, the state found there was no case to answer for all involved. Cops found to have led false confessions, even repeatedly, just resign and get their benefits. It’s a joke that no one is holding those in power to be accountable for their misconduct, even when it is exposed.

  • Kenneth W. Bohn

    Lesilie Falle’s father was convicted of murder in 1995 by Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office with Chief Kousca being the lead officer “again”; however, since then DNA evidence has proven that her father is not the person, and they have developed evidence that the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office paid off a witness to falsely testify that her dad confessed to the crime. She has come forward with the information after years of trying to get her father out of prison for his wrongful conviction; and now the Chicago lawyers and the Innocent Project are taking on both her father’s and Steve Avery’s cases. This matches the pattern of what they did in the 1985 case against Steve Avery. Now, think about this possibility:

    “I did not write this. I am just reposting this because this is one of the best theories I’ve heard so far, though I don’t think the original poster is completely right I think they are definitely on the right track makes more sense than almost anything else have heard so far :”

    The police didn’t kill Theresa Halbach. Andrew Coborn located that RAV4 with the assistance of Mike Halbach and Ryan Hillegas’s illegal trespass onto the Avery Salvage Yard on the night of November 3rd 2005.

    Mike Halbach and Ryan Hillegas suspected something was up since the Avery Salvage Yard was the last place they knew Theresa visited on Oct.31st Halloween day. They went snooping on the property and found the car. They checked the car and found the key in the ignition and blood in the cargo area. Mike or Ryan removed the key from the ignition to ensure that no one could easily move the car off of the Avery property… freaked out about this huge discovery they call the Manitowoc Sheriffs Department. Andrew Coborn fielded the call that night and went out and met Ryan and Mike at the Salvage Yard so he could view the car for himself.

    Ryan and Mike show him the car and to be certain its Halbachs he “calls” in the plate number to dispatch. Coborn has to “call” in… instead of “radio” in… the plate number to Manitowoc dispatch because he wasn’t in his police cruiser at the moment, but rather on foot and in the “field’ on the Avery Salvage property. This mistake places Coborn at the scene and in contact with Halbachs RAV4… 2 days before it is officially located on November 5th, 2005, by Pam Sturm….

    This is problematic for Coborn because all call and radio transmissions to dispatch are recorded and logged onto the Manitowoc Police server. Andrew Coborn is now operating outside of police protocol at a potential crime scene that he has no official directive to be at. He tells Mike Halbach and Ryan Hillegas to basically STFU about what they found and not mention to anyone that they were ever on the Avery Salvage property that night. Ryan or Mike turns the RAV4 key over to Andrew Coborn. Mike and Ryan are told to go home.

    Andrew Coborn then immediately calls Lt. James Lenk and briefs him about the discovery of the Halbach car and breaches of protocol he committed on the Avery property, also about Ryan Hillegas and Mike Halbach being there. Lt James Lenk realizing that Coborn’s calling in Halbachs plate is a serious mistake with potential consequences orders Andrew Coborn to remove the license plate from Halbach’s car and then report to him immediately.

    What James Lenk and Andrew Coborn, or the others for that matter, don’t realize at this point and are completely unaware of is that Bobby Dassey and Scott Tadych have kidnapped, raped, shot and then burned Theresa Halbach in the privacy of the gravel quarry off of Jambo Rd on Halloween evening. They choose to burn her body to dispose of their DNA evidence of the crimes. They hid Halbach’s car in the rear of Avery Salvage and wiped it clean of their prints.

    I believe it is Scott Tadych’s idea to secretly transport the cremains of Halbach from the gravel quarry and dispose them into Steven Avery’s burn pit. Scott Tadych transports Halbach’s cremains in secret by using one of Barb Jandas burn barrels from her yard. Scott Tadych fails to collect all of Halbach’s cremains from the original burn site in the gravel quarry, thus leaving some behind that FBI investigators later find… but he also fails in making certain all of Halbach’s cremains are out of Barb Jandas burn barrel after dumping them into Steven Avery’s burn pit. This is why investigators found small bits of Halbach in Barb Jandas burn barrel. Thus making a total of three sites where Halbach’s cremains are found.

    Scott Tadych and Bobby Dassey are unaware that Ryan Hillegas and Mike Halbach have found Theresas car on the property and that Lenk and Coborn are now involved and in play with their scheme. ………

    By shear colossal luck, two completely independent frame jobs targeting one man, Steven Avery were shaping up into the perfect storm. On one front, from Lenk and Coborn regarding the RAV4, ….and on the other unconnected front by Scott Tadych and Bobby Dassey regarding the cremains of Theresa Halbach. One party wasn’t aware of the other’s involvements at any point during the days leading up to the official discovery of Halbach’s RAV4 at the Avery Salvage Yard hence why the investigation and murder trial made zero sense to anyone especially the Jury.

    None of the evidence could be connected because it was all unrelated… everybody was guessing. But Buting and Strang had zeroed in on a part of it but couldn’t fully form a solid defense to prove it. The Jury couldn’t conceive that Manitowoc officers could have conspired to kill Theresa Halbach to frame Steven Avery as Ken Kratz insisted they had to if they wanted to follow the theory the defense presented of the frame up of Steven Avery by Manitowoc officials.

    And Ken Kratz was right… Imagine Scott Tadych’s confused and utter relief when Steve Avery’s blood was found in the Halbach car and the RAV4 key found in Steve Avery’s bedroom….. he must have been like…. WTF?! A quote from Scott Tadych after Steven Avery is convicted of Theresa Halbach’s murder…. “THIS IS THE GREATEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN” ….. We will see Scott, we will see


    • Opinion8d

      Sounds to me like they had a better chance of winning powerball than having these two groups of people with the ‘perfect storm’ of framing someone for murder.

    • Michael

      Interesting theory….you must have been picking my brain. After viewing “making of a murderer” I had the the same hypothesis about the case. There was def. Something fishy about Scott Tadych’s comments and stance throughout the case. Its hard to be certain of anything with Mantowoc county’s illicit involvement in the case. I have never seen such a *#@! show . I thought for sure that that Avery’s attorneys had raised enough doubt, and proof of police corruption to get a not guilty verdict. With all that said, it is a horrible thought to think that Teresa Halbach’s killer could still be out there. Maybe a decade late, but my condolences to the Habach family. Such a tradegy to lose what seemed to me as a lovely young woman.

    • Brandie Alexander

      I am not going to read through the post because once I got to the second paragraph of this “theory”, I knew it was bogus. The 2 “real murderers” in my opinion (the brother and the x) are lying. Here’s why-That theory you posted that makes 0 sense because if NO ONE had spoken to Teresa AFTER she supposedly left Avery’s house, then please explain to me how they knew it was the last person she saw-or the last person she was with? THEY CANT!Not unless they are the killers. Secondly, the theory states that Corrupt cop #1 was led to the car on Avery property and that is how he called it in. Well that’s kind of funny considering when it was on Averys property, there WERE NO PLATES ON IT. i WONT EVEN READ THE rest of that ridiculous post.

    • Shaz Gaknar

      See I don’t even think Kadych and Bobby were trying to frame him. They probably put the remains in the burn pit because they thought they wouldn’t be noticed there. I think it was pure dumb luck that manitowoc saw this as an opportunity to pin this on Avery for multiple reasons, reputation, money, pure hatred of avery for daring to be meeting with senators etc and being paraded as the poster boy for innocence, that really got stuck in their craw imo.

  • Kenneth W. Bohn

    I firmly believe that Steve Avery should get a new trial, very far away from Manitowoc County; and I firmly believe that all of his reasons for wanting a new trial “except” for one are very valid. I believe that his legal team was excellent and thought of things that many lawyers would not have; and those two guys still care to this day.

    However, they were up against a ruthless piece of garbage Ken Kratz {who has since been removed from office, sued, and proven to be an abuser of his authority and power and a sexual pervert}, and desperate, unethical Sheriff’s Department Staff who should have “NEVER” been permitted to be on those crime scenes, and who were the “only” ones who located the “questionable” evidence that was “illegally” obtained even if it “wasn’t planted”, which I firmly believe it was.

    Remember this folks, for 18 years in Steve Avery’s last case the Wisconsin Courts denied him his freedom and new trials, because this “same corrupt law enforcement agency” knowingly arrested and convicted the “wrong man” for raping a woman, “even though their local Police Department contacted them” with information about the actual and real rapist; and then ten years later, wrongfully permitted Steve Avery remain in prison for that crime after receiving information from another law enforcement agency that the same actual and real rapist was in custody confessing to the rape; and it was not until 2003 when Steve Avery was released that they made any notation of that information.

    There has “NEVER” been “ANY” DNA or any other evidence placing Teresa Halbach in Steve Avery’s home or garage; there has “NEVER” been “ANY” evidence of “ANY” of the crimes the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Office or Ken Kratz has accused Steve Avery of located in Steve Avery’s house or garage other than the “items that Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Lenk seemed to always find after days and days of searching, and then “none of it traces is DNA to Teresa Halbach.

    I firmly believe the actual and real killer is still living free, laughing at the system and thanking Steve Avery for being hated by the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office so badly. I firmly and strongly believe that Steve Avery deserves a new trial well away from Manitowoc County where nobody from that County can influence the judge or the jury. I also firmly believe that the United States Department of Justice needs to bring in a huge team of Federal Investigators to do a complete and thorough investigation of “ALL” major cases investigated by the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office for as far back as they can legally investigate, looking into these wrongful prosecutions. Perhaps it is time “NOT” just for some lawsuit settlements such as the small out of court settlement Steve Avery had to settle for to get some legal fees to defend himself; but maybe, just maybe, it is time to be looking into some Federal Prison Time for some people acting beyond their authority and capacities under the color of their offices.

  • Food For Thought

    Well I mean since Steven Avery is such a saint and has been treated so poorly by the justice system and most of you think he needs to be free, let’s just keep the crazy train going and appeal to our dear president that we should free khalid sheikh mohammed I mean he was tortured by the CIA and the US needed to blame someone for 9/11. So I mean since the US was mean to him he must be innocent like Steven Avery.

    • Michael

      This is not about whether people think Avery is a good person. It’s about the injustice and corruption of our legal system….

  • Thommy Kane

    1.) The only thing Avery was ever guilty of, was a few counts of burglary as a minor, when Avery stole things like beer and cheese sandwiches. After serving 18 years for a crime that science proved him innocent of any wrong doing, why would he just decide to go rape, murder and mutilate this woman?
    2.) How do they know the woman was raped? Just because Avery’s mentally unstable nephew told a fabricated story to the police (that he later recanted and said he was forced to by the cops to say) is not sufficient evidence enough that she was raped. If the body was burned, and only bones were found, how do they know she was raped?
    3.) The Avery’s have a crusher on their property. Steve had 4 days before the police arrived to crush her car and get rid of evidence. Why did he let it sit in plain site for the cops to find?
    4.) After the FBI made exhausted searches of the Avery property, they found nothing. After a visit from two local police (who were currently under indictment for Avery’s first arrest) suddenly appears evidence? And considering that Avery had a lawsuit going against the Manitowoc County police department, they were not allowed to even be present on the property. So how is that any evidence they discovered was even admissible?

    This guy was framed. The county owed him $36 million and had their [prestigious reputations on the line. give this man his life back.

    • Nichole

      I have been wondering about the whole rape part as well. Outside of Brenden’s coerced inconsistent mess of a “confession” that he took back, there is no proof she was raped or anything because there are only bone fragments left. No one can prove or dis prove the story now. If I was her family I would choose to take his story for what it is…a story to get attention. he had no idea what they were getting him into, he just wanted to be a part of it all and they made him feel important

    • DK is a moron

      DK, you are an idiot

      Avery was framed, the cops were in on it, the jury was tainted.

      He will get a new trial and will be exonerated AGAIN

  • Brett Elmer

    I know first hand the dirty people these people are… They don’t let their own go down – They should be ashamed to think everyone’s life does not matter and to pick the lifeless girl up and frame someone because you screwed up!

  • Shelby

    I firmly believe Steve Avery is an innocent man despite all the horrible things that has been said about him- dragging his name through the mud. After watching Making a Murderer, there is so many things that do not add up. For one, if he had her tied up to the bed and slit her throat there would be blood everywhere or if he shot her in the head, there would be blood everywhere. The only blood was in the car and there was very little at that. They didn’t even examine the mattresses. I have no idea why they didn’t.. if he raped her why didnt they use a black light on the mattress? There is no sign of struggle. I’m sorry, but if someone is trying to rape me, I’m going to try to fight them off. Not only that, but he apparently tied her to the bed? There would be markings on the bed posts. The key to Teresa’s car only had Steve Avery’s fingerprints on it. Steve Avery’s blood was in her car, but his fingerprints weren’t? Not to mention he owned a salvage yard with a crusher.. why would he hide her car with little tree branches instead of crushing it? Then it only took the search team 10 or 15 minutes to find her car? That salvage yard was huge.. I find it very hard to convince me that it only took them 10 minutes to find the right vehicle UNLESS THEY KNEW WHERE IT WAS. The thing that really set me off were the police officers searching his house and them reading the letter he had gotten and laughing saying he wasn’t going to make it and then talking about taking some of his shoes in case they had burglaries. I could go on and on about their “evidence”. I feel so bad for this man getting wrongfully convicted the first time spending 18 years in prison then becoming a free man, only to be framed again and have to spend the rest of life in prison. Why would he murder someone when he was suing for all that money it just does not make sense to me. As soon as he got out, he wanted to sue so the stuff that happened to him didn’t happen to someone else. I don’t see him as a murderer, a sexual predator, an animal abuser or anything else that has been said about this man. You find evidence to prove your case and so far the evidence disproves Steve Avery being a murderer. The point is Steve Avery was suing the police for being wrongfully convicted and their insurance wouldn’t have covered it, they would’ve had to pay him out of pocket. What better way to make sure that doesn’t happen? Frame him for murder and make sure you threaten the jury so they all unanimously convict him for life in prison without parole. Free Steve Avery!

  • Elizabeth

    Ken Kratz who was fired as a prosecutor for SEXTING women. Anybody who believes him is a moron!! I do not believe Steven Avery’s new attorney would have taken on such a loaded case if they did not believe in his innocence and it’s more than obvious his rights were violated. I hope they succeed.!!

  • Matthew Welch

    Whether Steven Avery is guilty or not, the prosecution and judge grossly mishandled his case. Moreover, seems quite plausible that the Manitowoc County Sherif’s Department deliberately fabricated evidence to implicate Mr. Avery. At the very least, multiple parties involved in this case were grossly negligent. Far more likely, the actions of several of these individuals were criminal. As such, those parties should absolutely be investigated and, pending those findings, tried in court.

  • Judy

    Sad that Strang and Buting took 240K to defend Steven Avery considering the massive 2 trials of Jodi Arias that lasted over 2 years with enormous amount of Professionals, Clinicians, Forensics and the kitchen sink were all at her disposal for absolutely FREE. Really how do they justify 240,000 in fees? Especially stating they were not in it for the money. I have less respect for them now.

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