Lawyers for Brendan Dassey, one of the two men convicted in the murder featured in the Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer, announced Wednesday that they will seek clemency from the Wisconsin governor for their client.
“We’re filing a petition for executive clemency with Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin,” Dassey’s attorney Laura Nirider told CBS News. “This is his best shot, and the moment is now. The moment is now for Brendan to come home.” If the governor grants clemency, Dassey will be released.
In December 2017, an appeals court upheld Dassey’s conviction following a long legal battle that began in August 2016, when a judge ruled that the then-16-year-old “intellectually limited” Dassey was coerced into confessing his role in the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach; Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery were both sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of Halbach’s murder.
In June 2017, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago affirmed that August 2016 ruling by a 2-to-1 count, but the state of Wisconsin requested that seven members of that court hear the appeal, with the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately ruling that Dassey’s confession was not coerced.
The Supreme Court later declined to hear Dassey’s appeal, exhausting his legal options; as part of his sentence, Dassey is not up for parole for another 30 years. However, Dassey’s lawyers and the Center on Wrongful Convictions will ask Evers, Wisconsin’s new Democratic governor, to consider an executive clemency; Evers also served on the Wisconsin Board of Education, perhaps making him sympathetic to Dassey’s situation, CBS News notes.
The request for clemency coincides with Dassey’s appearance on the Wrongful Conviction podcast, his first interview since his imprisonment 13 years ago. Speaking about his confession to the Dalbach murder in 2005 following a four-hour interrogation, Dassey said, “I just wanted it all over with, so I said whatever they wanted to hear, you know?”