Teresa Halbach was laid to rest more than 10 years ago, but the circumstances surrounding the Wisconsin native's mysterious death continue to puzzle both investigators and the public. On Wednesday, Kathleen Zellner, attorney for Making a Murderer subject Steven Avery, added one more twist to an already confusing case by pointing to Halbach's ex-boyfriend, Ryan Hillegas, as the murderer.
In a 1,272-page motion filed to the state of Wisconsin, Zellner contends that her client deserves a new trial "in the interests of justice." Avery, who was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide in Halbach's 2005 death, is currently serving life in prison.
Zellner, who made 220 pages of the petition available on her website, argues, among other things, that Hillegas still had a romantic interest in Halbach even after they had broken up, and that jealousy motivated his actions. In her petition, Zellner details how Hillegas had pursued Halbach after she began a sexual relationship with her roommate, Scott Bloedorn – which is different than what Hillegas said while testifying in the original trial.
"Reportedly, Mr. Bloedorn was also Mr. Hillegas' best friend," the petition reads. "Mr. Hillegas committed perjury at trial when he described Ms. Halbach's relationship with Mr. Bloedorn as platonic and never romantic or sexual in nature."
In a transcript from the trial, Hillegas does indeed characterize Halbach's relationship with Bloedorn as "just roommates."
This detail becomes important, Zellner argues, because Hillegas should have been investigated more thoroughly as a suspect given that he did have a motive to commit the murder, and because he didn't have an alibi for where he was on October 31st, 2005, the day Halbach was killed.
Furthermore, Zellner points out, while Bloedorn initially refused to talk to a post-conviction investigator, his tone changed when the investigator told him Zellner planned to reveal an alternative suspect in the case.
"Mr. Bloedorn immediately blurted out, 'You mean Ryan Hillegas,'" Zellner's petition reads.
Zellner, who was hired as Avery's attorney in January 2016, has long asserted that Avery was wrongfully accused of Halbach's murder, a result of vindictive law enforcement officers looking for a reason to lock him up. In Wednesday's filing, also named Avery's trial lawyers, Dean Strang and Jerry Buting, as well as his post-conviction counsel, Suzanne Hagopian and Martha Asksins, as complicit in the wrongful conviction.
"[They] were ineffective in failing to hire the experts needed to establish that all of the evidence used by the state to convict Mr. Avery was planted or fabricated," the document reads.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice responded to the motion in a statement, maintaining that they believe Avery to be guilty. "We are confident that as with Mr. Avery's prior motions, this one also is without merit and will be rejected once it is considered by the court," they wrote, according to the local ABC affiliate, WBAY.
Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, confessed to detectives that he helped his uncle rape and kill Halbach at the Avery family salvage yard, as documented on Netflix’s hit series, Making a Murderer. Last August, however, a federal judge overturned Dassey's conviction, though he will remain incarcerated while the state appeals his overturned conviction.
Inside what's happened with Steven Avery, Brendan Dassey and the case that's fascinated America since Nexflix debuted its true-crime hit. Watch here.