Making a Murderer filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos told Today Tuesday that one of the jurors in Steven Avery’s murder trial told them that they believed Avery was framed for the murder of Teresa Halbach.
“[The juror] told us that they believe Steven Avery was not proven guilty,” Ricciardi said. “They believe Steven was framed by law enforcement and that he deserves a new trial, and if he receives a new trial, in their opinion, it should take place far away from Wisconsin.”
Avery is currently serving a life sentence for killing Halbach. He was convicted of the crime in 2005, two years after being exonerated by DNA evidence in an unrelated rape case for which he served 18 years (Avery was also in the process of suing Manitowoc County for $36 million when he was slapped with the murder charge). Making a Murderer examines the intricacies of Avery’s case and presents the theory that he was framed by Manitowoc County law enforcement.
The juror that corroborated Demos and Ricciardi’s claims also told the filmmakers that the jury was skeptical of the evidence against Avery during the trial. Moreso, the juror said the trial was marred by behind-the-scenes vote-trading, and called the verdicts on each count “a compromise.”
This juror and the others nevertheless voted to convict Avery because, according to Demos, “they feared for their personal safety.” Demos added, “[The juror] told us really that they were afraid that if they held out for a mistrial that it would be easy to identify which juror had done that.”
Corroboration, however, is not verification, and neither Demos nor Ricciardi have spoken to any other jurors. The filmmakers said, however, that the juror that contacted them would be willing to serve as a “source” if Avery was granted a new trial.
Despite the claims presented in Making a Murderer, Manitowoc County officials maintain Avery’s guilt. Prosecutor Ken Kratz told The New York Times Tuesday that the show omits crucial facts and “really presents misinformation,” while Sheriff Robert Hermann told The Wrap that the show manipulated crucial footage of a police interview with Avery.
Still, Making a Murderer has garnered Avery the support of thousands. Two petitions aiming to free Avery have emerged on Change.org and the White House website, both of which are nearing their respective goals of 300,000 and 100,000 signatures.