A federal appeals court in Chicago upheld a lower court’s decision to overturn the murder conviction of Making a Murderer subject Brendan Dassey, WISN Milwaukee reports. Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery were given life sentences for the 2005 murder and sexual assault of Teresa Halbach. The Netflix docu-series cast doubt on the convictions and suggested the two were framed.
In August 2016, a judge ruled that Dassey had been manipulated into confessing his alleged role in Halbach’s murder. Dassey was 16 at the time and Judge William Duffin said that he lacked the mental acuity to endure four interrogations. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in a two-to-one decision, agreed that Dassey’s confession was involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
“To be sure Dassey’s confession was not a smooth and consistent story,” the ruling said. “There were holes in the narrative. Dassey waffled and backtracked. The sequence of events was not always clear. The majority, reviewing the interview with its defense-friendly ‘key’ in hands, takes these inconsistencies as proof that Dassey was not recounting real memories but only telling the investigators what he believed the wanted to hear.”
The state of Wisconsin will have 90 days to retry Dassey. State attorneys could also appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kathleen Zellner, the attorney for Steven Avery, tweeted, “Brendan Won!!!!! Finally some justice!!” Though the ruling has no direct bearing on Avery’s case – he’s still serving a life sentence – earlier this month Zellner filed a 1,272-page motion to the state of Wisconsin, arguing that her client deserves a new trial.