MANITOWOC COUNTY — Law enforcement officials in Manitowoc County are preparing for protesters on Friday, January 29th, who will gather to support Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.
WBAY has spoken with organizers of three separate protest groups on Tuesday — all planning to gather in Manitowoc on Friday at 10:00 a.m.
Manitowoc police said they were making preparations for the protest.
“Obviously there are a lot of people that feel very passionately about what they’ve seen on Netflix and if they want to come and exercise their rights they certainly can do that. We’re trying to be as accommodating as possible, as we can be. We realize and we respect their First Amendment constitutional right to do what they are doing. There are a lot of people in Manitowoc County that think Steven Avery is right where he needs to be. We’ve planned for that, so if we do get anti-activists showing up, we are prepared to deal with that.” Captain Larry Zimney with the Manitowoc Police Department told WLUK.
Katie Stamoularas told WBAY she helped organize one of the protests.
“We are here to send a message. We want the criminal justice system to be cleared up,” Stamoularas said.
Stamoularas co-organized the protest for the Facebook group Justice for Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.
Stamoularas, who lives in the Milwaukee area, told WBAY hotel rooms are already sold out in Manitowoc County and people are flying in from as far away as Oregon and Florida for the event.
Stamoularas told the television station Manitowoc County officials have been extremely cooperative and said a permit wasn’t necessary for the demonstration.
Megan McGuiness is organizing another protest at the exact same time and location. She is part of the Facebook group The Steven Avery Project.
McGuiness, who is from Minnesota, told WLUK her group essentially wants the same thing as Stamoularas’ group.
“Between 100 and 200 people are going out to Manitowoc County courthouse to basically, peacefully protest at 10 a.m. to show our support for Steven and Brendan. ‘Making A Murderer’ opened up our eyes. Whatever your opinion is of Steven Avery, he deserves a fair trial,” McGuiness said.
Steven Avery is serving a life sentence, along with his nephew, Brendan Dassey, for the murder of young photographer Teresa Halbach.
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, a young photographer whose charred remains were found on his family’s auto salvage yard.
This case gained national attention following the release of the Netflix docuseries on December 18th.
Avery has obtained new legal counsel, and has filed an appeal of his murder conviction.
Avery on January 7th signed and filed an appeal in the case on his own behalf, and that appeal was received by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals on January 11th.
Avery said he wants to be released from prison while the Wisconsin Court of Appeals considers his latest challenge to his 2007 murder conviction.
The state has opposed Avery’s motion for release. Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Thomas Fallon has issued a letter to Sheboygan County Circuit Judge Angela Sutkiewicz that says in part, “substantial reasons exist for this court to deny Avery’s motion.”
Chicago lawyer Kathleen Zellner on January 8th announced 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.
She has been posting about the case on Twitter.
Avery has not seen the Netflix docuseries. There is no Netflix in prison, and Avery’s request to view the series was denied.
Avery late last week sent a letter to FOX6’s Ted Perry. CLICK HERE for more on Avery’s letter to Ted Perry.
As for Brendan Dassey, late last week it was announced he was quietly moved from Green Bay Correctional facility to Columbia County Correctional.
Can’t get enough of the Steven Avery story? Check out the Avery Archive at FOX6Now.com.