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Full federal court hears ‘Making a Murderer’ appeal for Brendan Dassey

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Brendan Dassey

CHICAGO — The fate of convicted murderer Brendan Dassey is now in the hands of a federal appeals court.

Justices on Tuesday, September 26th heard arguments in Chicago -- and will decide if investigators coerced Dassey into confessing to helping his uncle, Steven Avery, kill photographer Teresa Halbach 12 years ago.

Cameras are not allowed in federal court. But the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard arguments from the state and from Dassey's lawyer.

The state argued that Dassey was told he could leave any time during questioning and was read his rights. Dassey's lawyer argued investigators implied Dassey could go free if he told them what they wanted -- and Dassey not only was a child, but had a low IQ.

NOTE: Click the audio player below to listen to Tuesday's proceedings

Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after telling detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill photographer Teresa Halbach.

Judge Diane Wood said watching a video showing how investigators questioned Dassey made her "skin crawl." She said they fed him answers.

"It was not what I would call an interrogation. It was, tell me what I want to hear," Judge Wood said.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel

"What makes my skin crawl is knowing the things that happened to Teresa Halbach -- not that this young man is uncomfortable talking about it and reliving it. Teresa's family relives this every day," said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel.

Judges also questioned Dassey's attorney, saying investigators never promised Dassey freedom for his confession.

Jerry Buting

Former attorney for Steven Avery Jerry Buting disagrees.

"What they did to Brendan Dassey is inexcusable. They knew they were dealing with a learning disabled child," Buting said.

The ruling can come at anytime in the next few weeks to months.

The attorney general said if the decision agrees with two prior judicial rulings and comes down in Dassey's favor, he has not decided whether to move ahead with a retrial or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.