Steven Avery is engaged to blonde Las Vegas legal secretary Lynn Hartman, after dating for eight months

By Dave Quinn
Updated September 24, 2016 01:10 PM
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He’s behind bars for the 2005 murder of 25-year-old Wisconsin photographer Teresa Halbach. But that hasn’t stopped Steven from finding love.

The 53-year-old Making a Murderer star is engaged to Las Vegas legal secretary Lynn Hartman, 53.

“Steven deserves every bit of happiness that comes his way,” Avery’s attorney Kathleen Zellner tells PEOPLE. “He is very much in love and happy with Lynn so we are happy for them.”

The pair have been dating for eight months though have only met in person once – last week, when she visited her fiancé in Wisconsin’s Waupun Correctional Institute where Avery has lived for the past 11 years, according to DailyMail.com.

According to the website, the couple’s relationship began with letters before transitioning into phone calls – though their romance has been kept secret after Hartman was threatened online from people who claim she’s marrying Avery for his fame and potential fortune.

“I’m happy,” Avery told DailyMail.com. “She treats me decent, she loves me – she’s kind of spoiling me right now.”

“I just want to be happy and enjoy my life,’ he continued. “I think I did enough time.”

Dan Powers/Post-Cresent/AP

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“Despite all obstacles, and Steven’s wrongful conviction and incarceration, we plan to be married shortly after he is released,” Hartman told the Mail.

Avery has been engaged twice before and married once – to Lori Mathiesen. They divorced in 1988 and had four children together.

His 2007 trial and subsequent conviction for Halbach’s murder made headlines following the December release of the hit Netflix docu-series, Making a Murderer.

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Filmed over a decade, it casted doubt on Avery’s conviction – advancing the theory that he might have been framed by authorities in retaliation for filing a $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County and authorities after a wrongful conviction for rape that sent him to prison for 18 years before being overturned.

Avery’s nephew, Brendan Dassey, was also convicted in the murder. But his conviction was overturned in August. He’s slated to be released in prison within the next two months.

Avery, meanwhile, has consistently maintained his innocence in the Halbach murder. Zellner, who specializes in wrongful convictions, announced in January that her firm would assume Avery’s representation – along with Tricia Bushnell, the legal director of the Midwest Innocence Project.

Reporting by CAITLIN KEATING