A Wisconsin circuit court judge rejected Making a Murderer subject Steven Avery’s bid for a new trial Thursday. The legal team for Avery, whose conviction for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach is the focus of the hit Netflix docuseries, argued that investigators mishandled bone evidence related to the case, the Associated Press reports.
In 2011, authorities gave the bones to Halbach’s family without notifying the defense, who only informed of the bones’ status in 2018. Tests performed on the bones were unable to conclusively determine whether they were human or animal.
However, in her ruling, Judge Angela Sutkiewicz stated that the defense failed to meet the burden of proof necessary to grant another trial.
“In this matter, the defendant cannot show that the State knew of the potential exculpatory value of the evidence,” Judge Sutkiewicz’s ruling stated (via WBAY). “Nothing of record indicates that in 2011, when the material was given to the Halbach family, the material was re-classified as human bone.”
Avery’s lawyer Kathleen Zellner tweeted soon after the judge’s ruling that they will continue to pursue their appeal in Wisconsin’s appellate court.
“We are not surprised by this ruling. In the greater scheme of things it is not important. The appellate court has jurisdiction of the entire appeal which has numerous issues. The appellate and supreme court of Wisconsin will make the decisions that matter on these issues and establish precedent on these issues,” Zellner said.
Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey – who is also appealing the conviction – are serving life sentences for the murder of Halbach.