The Wisconsin Court of Appeals unanimously rejected a request by convicted killer Steven Avery for a hearing on new evidence in his case. Avery's case was the subject of the 2015 Netflix documentary Making a Murderer.
Avery was appealing a lower court's ruling that denied him a new trial without holding a hearing to examine the evidence. The Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court did not have to hold a hearing and upheld their decision.
"We express no opinion about who committed this crime: the jury has decided this question, and our review is confined to whether the claims before us entitle Avery to an evidentiary hearing," the appeals court wrote. "We conclude that the circuit court did not erroneously exercise its discretion."
Avery's case made headlines when Making a Murderer was released. The documentary raised a series of questions about the conviction of Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey for the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. Both men were sentenced to life in prison but have maintained their innocence.
The documentary suggested that investigators coerced Dassey, who was 16 at the time, into confessing to helping his uncle kill Halbach and destroy her body. A year after the show aired, a judge tossed out Dassey's conviction, ruling that detectives used deceptive tactics to coerce him to confess. A federal judge overturned the ruling, and Dassey remains in jail.
Avery has been trying to request a new trial based on new evidence and theories about Halbach's murder. Season two of Making a Murderer focused on the efforts of his attorney, Kathleen Zellner, to free Avery from prison.
While many people believe Avery is innocent, local authorities and reporters believe that he is guilty. Dan O'Donnell, who hosts a morning show on iHeartRadio station WISN, covered Avery's trial as it happened and provides all the details left out by Netflix in his podcast Rebutting a Murderer.