Making a Murderer shines a light on the criminal justice system

Story by Tom Doetsch, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of YouTube

Making a Murder is a new Netflix documentary that follows the story of Steven Avery, who was allegedly imprisoned for eighteen years and his family.  Avery goes through many trials throughout the course of his incarceration and the freedom then after.

The Avery family lives on the outskirts of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, where they own and operate a salvage yard. They crush cars and scrap metal to sell and re-purpose it. They’re pretty secluded from most of surrounding neighborhoods and urbanized areas.

In 1985,  twenty-three-year old Avery was arrested for sexual assault and attempted first degree murder of Penny Beerntsen. Throughout his entire imprisonment Avery maintains that he is completely innocent.

His post-conviction civil rights lawyer Stephen Glenn says, “There is not one iota of physical evidence in this case that connects Steven to it.”

Throughout the course of his trial and confinement, the Avery family spends nearly all of their resources to bring him back home. While imprisoned. Avery’s wife, Lori Avery, divorces him and takes the kids with her. Avery is deeply hurt by this loss, and is continually hurt by his further imprisonment. Around the year 2002, the Wisconsin Innocence Project took on his case and got him exonerated.

Some years later, Avery is charged and arrested for the murder of community leader Teresa Halbach. Avery is torn away from his new fiancé, Jodi Stachowski.

In a phone call to one of his parents Avery states, “You know a person can only take so much.”

Not too long after his arrest, Manitowoc law enforcement interrogate and arrest his sixteen-year-old nephew, Brendan Dassey. Whether or not Dassey was involved in the crime is a highly controversial and cloudy topic. Dassey recants his story multiple times and gives different accounts to different people.

Unlike some of the most popular shows on Netflix, like Orange is the New Black or House of Cards, Making a Murderer doesn’t have the ability to change the characters or the events that happen in their lives. Even though some may see this as a weakness leaving the producers with little wiggle room, the show is well made, leaving the viewer wanting more and more at the end of each episode. The Avery family is shown as victimized and broken down by law enforcement throughout the entire series. Emotional at every plot twist, Making a Murder is a great show.

About the Writer…tom

Tom Doetsch is a Sophomore at Aquinas with an English Major and a minor in Sociology. A couple of his favorite hobbies are biking and table tennis. He is a staff writer for The Saint and his favorite section to write for is news.


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