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‘Making a Murderer’: Brendan Dassey confession was coerced, judges rule, overturning conviction

A huge win in federal court for Dassey!

Making a Murderer-Q and A
(Herald Times Reporter/Eric Young via AP, Pool)

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday to uphold a lower court’s decision to overturn Brendan Dassey’s conviction.

Dassey was featured in the Netflix series Making a Murderer. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 in the death of photographer Teresa Halbach two years earlier. Dassey told detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill Halbach in the Avery family’s Manitowoc County salvage yard.

A federal magistrate judge overturned Dassey’s conviction last year. He ruled that investigators took advantage of Dassey’s youth — he was 16 at the time — and cognitive problems to coerce his confession.

According to the ruling released Thursday, Dassey’s confession was not voluntarily given.

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The state of Wisconsin argues that detectives did nothing wrong.

A spokesperson for the Wisconsin Department of Justice released a statement Thursday.

“We are evaluating the 2-1 decision from the court. We anticipate seeking review by the entire 7th Circuit or the United States Supreme Court and hope that today’s erroneous decision will be reversed. We continue to send our condolences to the Halbach family as they have to suffer through another attempt by Mr. Dassey to re-litigate his guilty verdict and sentence.”

Lawyers for Brendan Dassey, one of two men featured in the Netflix series Making a Murderer, say they’ll take immediate steps to secure his release now that a federal appeals court says his confession was improperly obtained.

Meanwhile, a second season of Making A Murderer is set to air later this year.

(h/t Time)

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