Dassey attorneys ask for his immediate release

The young prisoner featured in Netflix's controversial documentary "Making a Murderer" was coerced into confessing to a 2005 killing, and his conviction should be overturned, according to a federal appeals court decision that could set up the case to go to the Supreme Court.

The case drew national attention after the premiere of Netflix's docuseries, which cast a critical light on the investigation and the convictions of both Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery in Halbach's murder. During that questioning, Dassey told investigators he had helped his uncle kill Halbach, saying that they shot her in the head and burned her body at a bonfire on the Avery property later that evening.

The three judge panel ordered he be released unless prosecutors decide within 90 days to re-try him for the crime. Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 in photographer Teresa Halbach's death two years earlier.

Zellner has filed a post-conviction motion arguing Avery should be granted a new trial based on five arguments, including ineffective defense counsel, ethical violations by the prosecutor and new evidence. It has indicated that it wants to appeal the panel's decision.

Dassey's attorneys said the ruling took their client one step closer to freedom.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice tells WBAY, "We are evaluating the 2-1 decision from the court".

"Dassey, however, had trouble maintaining a consistent story except when he was being led step-by-step through the facts, thus confirming that his confession emerged not from his own free will, but from the will of investigators".

Laywers acting for Dassey, who is serving life imprisonment along with Avery, will now fight for his release after judges upheld a previous court decision to throw out the convict's confession.

Last August, Duffin overturned his guilty verdict, which Brad Schimel, the attorney general in Wisconsin, appealed the next month.

October 31, 2005: Teresa Halbach, 25, of St. John in Calumet County, a photographer for Auto Trader Magazine, goes to Avery's Auto Salvage near Mishicot to photograph a minivan for sale by Steven Avery's sister. Yesterday the appeal court agreed that he was coerced.

Nirider stressed that the court's ruling sent a strong message that the majority of the panel believed in Dassey's innocence.

"We are overjoyed for Brendan and his family, and we look forward to working to secure his release from prison as soon as possible".

In the dissent, Judge David F. Hamilton said, "We also should not lose sight of the most damning physical evidence: the bones of Teresa Halbach, broken and charred, buried in the ashes of Avery's burn pit". Dassey was 16 then and suffered from cognitive problems.

  • Larry Hoffman