Meet the Major Players of Netflix's New Hit Making a Murderer
Avery spent 18 years in prison for a sexual assault conviction before he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2003. Two years later, he was arrested for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. His story is the topic of a new Netflix docuseries, Making a Murderer; click through to meet more of the case's major players.
Young automobile photographer Halbach went missing around Oct. 31, 2005. She was in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, taking pictures of cars – including one owned by Avery, an acquaintance – for AutoTrader magazine. Avery was supposedly one of the last people who saw her.
Dassey, Avery's learning disabled nephew, was also arrested for the murder of Halbach after he confessed to kidnapping and killing to the prosecution's investigators. Later, he recanted his confession because he said it wasn't true, but a judge ruled that it was admissible.
JEROME BUTING & DEAN STRANG
Buting (right) and Strang were Avery's defense attorneys during the murder trial. They argued Avery was innocent of Halbach's murder and that two cops from the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department were setting him up because of his $36 million lawsuit against the county related to his old sexual assault conviction.
During Avery's civil lawsuit, Manitowoc County Sheriff's Lieutenant Lenk (pictured) and Sergeant Andrew Colborn were questioned about whether or not they received evidence in the 1990s that could've cleared Avery's name earlier than 2003. Despite the decision to keep Manitowoc County away from the Halbach investigation, they participated in searches of Avery's home, and in one of the later ones, Lenk found the keys to Halbach's car, which was also found on the Avery compound. In the documentary, Avery's defense team suspects these two are responsible for planting evidence to incriminate their client.
To avoid a conflict of interest because of Avery's pending lawsuit against Manitowoc County, Calumet County District Attorney Kratz was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case of Halbach's murder. Throughout the case, he maintained that the County wasn't trying to frame Avery.
Department of Criminal Investigation Special Agent Tom Fassbender and Calumet County Seargeant Wiegert (pictured) were investigators for the prosecution. They were primarily responsible for securing Dassey's confession after interrogating him without the presence of his mother, who claims they wouldn't let her come with him. Fassbender and Wiegert have maintained that Dassey's mother declined to accompany him for questioning.
Kachinsky was Dassey's original appointed attorney who, in an attempt to secure his client a plea deal, arranged for his investigator to secure a written confession from Dassey. Dassey thought Kachinsky didn't believe he was innocent and requested a change in council, but the judge denied his request. However, Kachinsky was eventually dismissed from the case when the judge found out he allowed Dassey to be interrogated alone.