"Before we make a determination as to which option we'll pursue, we are going to want to give Teresa Halbach's family an opportunity to have some input," he said

By Chris Harris
August 23, 2016 01:45 PM

Even though his office still has 80 days to appeal a federal judge’s decision to reverse Making a Murderer subject Brendan Dassey‘s 2006 conviction, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schmiel said at a Monday press conference he will make a decision soon.

Schmiel told reporters his office will consult with Teresa Halbach‘s relatives before deciding what to do. The AG’s office can move to appeal the judge’s decision, retry Dassey, or release the 26-year-old from prison.

“There are a number of directions this case can go and before we make a determination as to which option we’ll pursue, we are going to want to give Teresa Halbach’s family an opportunity to have some input,” Schmiel told reporters. “We’ve been in communication with them. We’ll continue to outline all the different options, what the likelihood of best success are for each one.”

At the age of 16, Dassey confessed to investigators he had helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and murder photographer Teresa Halbach on Oct. 31, 2005.

He later recanted, saying the confession had been coerced.

Dassey’s conviction for Halbach’s murder was overturned by a federal judge on August 12.

The judge’s order states the detectives who were investigating Halbach’s murder promised Dassey prosecutorial leniency in exchange for his cooperation during his interrogation. The day of the confession, lead investigators Tom Fassbender and Mark Wiegert pulled Dassey out of school and questioned him alone for hours.

“The investigators repeatedly claimed to already know what happened on Oct. 31 and assured Dassey that he had nothing to worry about,” the decision reads. “These repeated false promises, when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey’s confession involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.”

Teresa Halbach
AP

The judge said he had “significant doubts” concerning the reliability of Dassey’s confession.

“Crucial details evolved through repeated leading and suggestive questioning and generally stopped changing only after the investigators, in some manner, indicated to Dassey that he finally gave the answer they were looking for,” the ruling reads. “Purportedly corroborative details could have been the product of contamination from other sources, including the investigators’ own statements and questioning, or simply logical guesses, rather than actual knowledge of the crime.”

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

After watching portions of the confession on Netflix, many viewers came to believe Dassey was coerced by Fassbender and Wiegert, who repeatedly question him until the teen gave them a confession.

In a recorded exchange with his mother, Barb Janda, following the confession, Dassey says, “They got in my head.” The teen later denied that he ever saw Halbach and said he had nothing to do with her murder.

On Tuesday, Dassey’s lawyer, Laura Nirider, declined to comment on Monday’s development.

Schmiel’s office did not respond to PEOPLE’s requests seeking an interview with the attorney general.

Legal experts who spoke to PEOPLE following the judge’s ruling expect the state will appeal that decision.

Filming for Making a Murderer‘s second season began in Manitowac, Wisconsin, the weekend after Dassey’s conviction was overturned. It has not been announced when the second season of the Netflix show will start airing.

Advertisement