The Murder of Teresa Halbach
Avery Found Guilty
On Sunday, March 18, 2007, a jury found Steven Avery guilty of first-degree intentional homicide and illegal possession of a firearm. They found him not guilty of the third charge leveled against him, mutilation of a corpse. Despite his attorney's contention that the police had planted the evidence against him, the jury was unconvinced.
Brendan Dassey had confessed to participating in the crime with his uncle but later recanted his confession and refused to testify against Avery, thereby forfeiting a plea deal with the state.
The defense attempted to cast doubt on the prosecution's case by presenting an alternate explanation for the evidence found on Avery's property. Manitowoc County law-enforcement officers had access to a vial of Avery's blood taken during a review of his 1985 conviction. Avery's attorneys suggested that the police had planted the blood at the crime scene along with the bullet and Teresa Halbach's car key. Their motive: revenge. Avery's monetary settlement in his wrongful-conviction suit against Manitowoc County had angered several county deputies, the defense claimed.
When asked how she felt about Avery's conviction, Karen Halbach, Teresa's mother, told a reporter from WISC-ABC television, "I'm happy, but I'm not really that happy. Teresa's not here."
One of Avery's attorneys, Jerome Buting, said that his client was "obviously disappointed but not despondent. He's not giving up."
Since Wisconsin does not have the death penalty, he faces a mandatory life sentence.