Netflix recently released a new documentary called “Making a Murderer,” which traces the arrest, investigation and trial of Steven Avery. Not long after the show’s release on December 18, 2015, the social media hype for it had gone through the roof.
“When I first heard about [“Making a Murderer”], I was excited… but this just got so into detail about the case and you get so into it that you actually feel like you’re part of it all,” says senior Valerie Acevedo.
“Making a Murderer” is a 10-part documentary that began streaming on Netflix during the holiday season, but that is certainly not where this all started. In fact, the series had been filmed over 10 years with creators moving back and forth between Wisconsin and New York City.
The show’s creators, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, became friends as graduates of Colombia University and first learned about the Avery case in 2005 after reading an article about Avery’s arrest for murder. After bringing up their documentary idea to networks such as HBO and PBS, they turned to Netflix, who was very intrigued by the idea.
The documentary follows the story of Avery, a Manitowoc, Wisconsin man whose family had been outcast their whole lives. Avery himself only had an IQ of 70, which would have made it extremely difficult to fit in if he could barely function in school. In 1985, he was convicted for sexual assault crimes, as well as attempted first degree murder against Penny Beernsten.
The case was extremely biased from the start. When Avery was convicted, he was not allowed a phone call or a cellmate, as police wanted to make sure he did not talk to anyone.
Avery pleaded not guilty to the conviction and even produce 16 witnesses to corroborate his alibi, but was still pronounced guilty by the jury. He served 18 years in prison, until he was exonerated in 2003 after DNA results proved his innocence.
The real criminal was sex offender Gregory Allen, who had a similar description to Avery except for his height, which was pointed out in the victim’s testimony, but overlooked.
“The sheriff’s department seemed to really have it out for this Avery; they even said they had notes of Gregory Allen in the case’s file and they still convicted the wrong guy,” says junior Denver Reid.
After his release from prison, Avery made it his mission to get back the years he missed, starting with a lawsuit against the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s department. His suit, however, was interrupted by yet another accusation and then arrest, this time for the murder of Teresa Halbach, a photographer from a nearby town.
This time, the evidence was too strong, and Avery was convicted, along with his nephew, Brendan Dassey, for assisting in the homicide.
Is that it? Is there no more to this intriguing case? This series leaves you wanting more and more out of each episode and definitely gets you involved. You can stream “Making a Murder” now on Netflix.
What do you think about “Making a Murderer” and the convictions against Steven Avery?