Making a Murderer viewers know Aaron Keller as the handsome reporter asking tough questions. (You might even call his “the face that launched a thousand thirsty tweets.”) Keller began covering the case for NBC26 in Green Bay the day Teresa Halbach was reported missing in 2005.
He went on to get his law degree — inspired, he says, by Steven Avery’s defense attorneys, Dean Strang and Jerry Buting — and become a university professor.
Keller hasn’t watched the entire series yet, but years after the trial, he tells Rolling Stone he still has questions about the evidence used to convict Avery, and the cozy relationship between the police and other Wisconsin news outlets.
What are your thoughts on the series? I understand a lot of people who were there at the time didn’t come to the same conclusions many viewers did after watching the documentary.
I haven’t watched the whole film yet, and that’s partially because I work two jobs in New Hampshire and I’m incredibly busy. I know that I’m the last human being in the United States at this point who both has Internet access and has not watched at least the majority of this. But what I’ve been told by those who have watched it is that it doesn’t paint the definitive media history of the case. And that’s OK, because I don’t think that, from what the filmmakers have said, that was their intent.
Having been there at the time of the trial — you sat through all of the arguments — are there questions that still nag at you?
At one point we had to pull out of a live shot because we couldn’t have the mast for the live truck up in the sky when there’s lightning. I’m trying to remember when that was, because one of the big questions has been whether Avery’s fingerprints could have, in theory, survived on the Halbach vehicle — assuming that he had touched it — and I’m trying to remember whether there was a really bad thunderstorm within those first couple of days when she was reported missing, and when they were looking for her, because my memory seems to indicate that there might have been. Because if there was a deluge, would it have wiped away some potential evidence? But it might have been when they were searching like a year later, because there were a couple of searches in there.
[Ed: According to Weather Underground’s records, there was a thunderstorm in Manitowoc, Wisconsin on November 5, 2005 — two days after Teresa was reported missing and six days before Steven Avery was arrested — and another on November 12, 2005, the day after Avery was arrested.]
Do you remember first hearing about Teresa’s disappearance?
I remember being there [in the NBC26 newsroom] with the fax came in. I remember holding it in my hand, looking at it and discussing it. And we had the resources to cover the story, so we were the first ones on the air with it.
What happened after the news of her disappearance broke?
The next major element in the story was actually broken by a competitor and, to this day, I’m not quite sure where the information came from. The next element of [the story] was that Steven Avery was the last person to have seen her, and that story was broken by WBAY-TV in Green Bay. And I remember we immediately called and confirmed it and had it on the air within a couple of minutes of when they had it on the air, but I want to know how they got that.
Why is the source important?
Because it raises the question of whether Steven Avery called them and told them he was the last one to see her, or did law enforcement call them and tell them that he was the one who had seen her? And the answer to that question — I don’t know if it’s worth anything. To some conspiracy theorist it might be.
It paints a picture, potentially, of the media environment in Green Bay at the time. Channel 2 in Green Bay was the legacy station that had primarily been number one through most of its existence, and to this day, they are pretty tight with the law-enforcement community. We [employees of the NBC affiliate] were mostly outsiders. They were insiders. We were more apt to ask really tough questions because we weren’t friends with people from elementary school who worked other jobs in that area. So there were some elements of stories that the NBC station was not able to break because we didn’t have entrenched friendships.
See 10 questions we still have about Making a Murderer below. Find out some of the answers and read more here.