Making a Murderer: Prosecutor Appeals Judge's Overturning of Brendan Dassey's Conviction
As expected, Wisconsin’s Attorney General Brad Schimel filed an appeal on Friday, opposing a federal judge’s decision to overturn Dassey’s conviction for the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach.
At the age of 16, Dassey confessed to investigators that he had helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and murder Halbach on Oct. 31, 2005. His confession is documented in the Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer.
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.
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“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.”
Because of the appeal, last month’s order to rescind the conviction is now stayed.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Schmiel said, “We believe the magistrate judge’s decision that Brendan Dassey’s confession was coerced by investigators, and that no reasonable court could have concluded otherwise, is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law.”
“Two state courts carefully examined the evidence and properly concluded that Brendan Dassey’s confession to sexually assaulting and murdering Teresa Halbach with his uncle, Steven Avery, was voluntary, and the investigators did not use constitutionally impermissible tactics,” the statement continued.
“The Halbach family has been notified of the appeal and fully supports the state’s decision to seek justice on behalf of their daughter,” it continued.
After watching portions of the confession on the Netflix series, many viewers came to believe Dassey was coerced by Fassbender and Wiegert, who repeatedly questioned 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.
Filming for Making a Murderer‘s second season has begun in Manitowac, Wisconsin. It has not been announced when the second season of the Netflix show will start airing.