'Making a Murderer': Steven Avery Denied New Trial

Wisconsin judge cites insufficient evidence in ruling

'Making a Murderer' subject Steven Avery was denied a new trial for the murder of Teresa Halbach after a judge cited insufficient evidence. Credit: Netflix

Steven Avery, the subject of the Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer, was denied a new trial for the murder of Teresa Halbach due to insufficient evidence, ABC reports. Avery was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in Halbach's 2005 death and is currently serving life in prison.

Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Judge Angela Sutkiewicz ruled Tuesday that, "The defendant has failed to establish any grounds that would trigger the right to a new trial in the interests of justice." She added that "no further consideration will be given to this issue."

However, Avery's lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, vowed to appeal the decision. "We are filing an amended petition because we have additional test results and witness affidavits," she said. "The scientific testing is not completed. We remain optimistic that Mr. Avery's conviction will be vacated."

In June, Zellner filed a 1,272-page motion in which she requested a new trial and accused Halbach's ex-boyfriend, Ryan Hillegas, of commiting the murder. Zellner alleged that Hillegas still had a romantic interest in Halbach after they had broken up and that his motive had been jealousy. Zellner, who began representing Avery in January 2016, has long believed that Avery was wrongfully accused of Halbach's murder.

Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were both convicted of killing Halbach in separate trials in 2007. However, Making a Murderer famously cast doubt on the convictions, suggesting that the two were framed. In June, a federal appeals court in Chicago upheld a lower court's decision to overturn Dassey's murder conviction. In August 2016, the lower court ruled that Dassey had been manipulated into confessing his alleged role in Halbach's murder.