The life of Steven Avery is an interesting series of unfortunate events.
Have you been sucked into the binge watching marathon of Making A Murderer on Netflix? My colleagues talked me into watching it so they could compare notes and get my opinion. Several of my friends have also asked about it.
So, duh. I had to accept the challenge. Curiosity kills the Kat, you know.
I really like the music on the introduction. It is very fitting. Eerie.
While I think it is an extraordinary venture in film making, and it does draw some questions about the integrity of the justice system- I don't find Steven Avery an innocent man. Additionally, it is very slow moving which is to be expected, but does not excuse the pain. I think watching grass grow on a golf course would be more entertaining. It is a documentary, so the entertainment value is not Hollywood. I get that. It doesn't change that my attention span had waned midway through episode 2.
Avery's first major case was a misjustice and later he was found to have been wrongly imprisoned for over 18 years. From the rape testimony, supposed opportunity, and a false identification from the victim..he landed in prison. And later DNA exonerated him. How many times have we seen these things happen? Many. It is a travesty of justice. Looking at the actual rapist and Avery's pics, they look a lot alike. The victim spoke out and felt an incredible sense of complicated emotion in the wrongful ID. Rightfully so. Who wouldn't?
Avery's past personal choices, experiences, and criminal conduct did make him a likely suspect. Although he really never should have been convicted. We know that now.
Fast forward to the Halbach murder, 2005. It had to be a gruesome ending to a young lady's life despite the fact the body is burned to bits and we can only assume from the case facts what happened. That is if the case facts are indeed true or partially true.
Probability that she was raped and torture are high, although statements may or may not be credible. Steven Avery does have a sexual assault past and disturbing behaviors despite the bumbled rape charge.
What can you deduct from a burned body, "sinister cover ups", and a family of oddballs? Something bad happened to somebody and the fact that the woman's remains were discovered on the property gives suspicion to the Averys as suspects.
So the defense claims the cops were dirty and framed Avery. They presume the cops felt they were framing a person who was guilty, but in fact, they were framing an innocent man-words from the defense. I don't know if I buy into that theory.
I found some things were not on the up and up, but the defense's main smoking gun...fizzled big time in court. Did they poke holes in the integrity and honesty of law enforcement? Yes. Do I think the cops were super good guys and the defense was floundering at any way to defend Steven? No. I think the cops didn't like this family (Avery) and felt Steven was a bad apple who needed to be sent away. I also think they believe he did it. Does this make Avery innocent? No. I think he is guilty of other crimes which surround his life and beyond a reasonable doubt guilty on Halbach. The jury spoke. But what are the chances a misjustice could happen twice? Could his other family members had something to do with it, i.e. Earl and Charlie? Bobby? Sure. I don't have enough information on that.
The puzzlement is the fact that there was so much physical evidence on the Avery property, that why would the police need to plant further evidence? Someone there did something to Halbach and it can't be that hard to figure out it was connected to the family members or member. Why not find the right bad guy? Maybe the cops wanted to tweak the pendulum all the way to the right because Steven was a public enemy. I don't know. Maybe it all pointed to Steven.
Steven is obsessed with women and sex, a dangerous mix for a predator to carry around in his head. Not only that all this obsession is operating on a level of IQ far below average which seems to enhance his obsessions and may add to the escalation of problematic behaviors.
Could his brothers or other family members be cut from the same cloth? Possibly. It seems they are all tight knit and there is no other way to say it: inbred and low IQ. What does this mean? Well, the past sexual obsessions, assaults, and cat burning episode are alarming and should be. This is indicative of bad brews.
Steven supposedly would have no idea a person or family member was burning a body in your fire pit? Come on. If not you, then did your brothers do it? Did you see it? How about after the fact? There was a big fire. We can all agree on that. Fires are long lasting, long smelling, and everyone knows about them on your own property. He knew.
The FBI laboratory scientist testified that the DNA from the RAV4 did not contain EDTA (preservative) which would be present from drawing blood from a purple top tube as the defense wanted to portray which they felt was a plant from the cops. This same scientist also testified the FBI is interested in matters of public corruption which was brought to their attention in this case.
Was the discovery of the unsealed tube suspicious? Absolutely. However, the lab scientist who was deemed an expert in his field stated the swabs collected from the RAV4 would indicate active bleeding from the suspect rather than blood drawn from a purple top tube which was indicated by the defense as sinister act from police. I bet behind the stoic faces were some grins from the prosecution on that one.
Oooooh. Make the FBI scientist a boogie man because he didn't test every sample on the RAV4, but most of them. This happens all the time. Labs don't do all the swabs, but usually one random one from each area. It's just the way it is. Does this become problematic? For the jury yes. For the defense, prosecution, and cops? No. They know all the science behind this and the reasoning. The defense's expert did not impress me.
And all the hoopla about this being "sweat" when the scientist testifies to samples of DNA and reference to blood? This leaves me with questions. And how can you know that the DNA was sweat when it wasn't tested for those properties? Did you taste it? Gross. It could be oil, exfoliated tissue, spit, drool, bio matter of some sort, etc. Could you assume it was sweat with high certainty in the areas and manner the substance was found? Sure, but I wouldn't testify to that fact. This isn't CSI. All that technology and assumption may be available in the true world and good for Hollywood, but not for the average police force to go to the press.
Then there is Brendan Dassey. He is the biggest travesty in this case. Did he have a good enough lawyer (Kachinsky) defend him in the beginning? No. What a doob. That guy didn't give a shit about his client or doing a good job. He was excited to get press time. Was it the worst lawyer I have seen? Maybe. Then you get lawyers stepping in trying to fix things. Oiks. What a mess they have to unwind. Can they do it? Again, a lot of "I don't knows."
Brendan is a kid with a low IQ, and a pitiful soul, but do I think his statements bring question to things? Yes. Was he handled properly by police? No. Not from what was shown, anyway. Was it horrifically bad work? Not that horrific that I felt it was ABUSE like many voiced on the Internet, but possibly not the best for his intelligence level. Was the confession good? I don't know. I have not seen all of it.
Did he need his parent(s) present? No. The public needs to realize this is not a right. Many departments now address the fact that parents get notified in the process when their kid is picked up or interviewed, but it is not a constitutional right nor a break in any laws. They are required to address Miranda and make sure statements are voluntary. Did Brendan understand his Miranda rights? I don't know. Does he know right and wrong, truth and lie? I believe so. Does he want to impress? Possibly. Did Brendan understand he could have an attorney present? I don't know if he could comprehend that need. But...what about his statement to his mother and why would he say those things? Hmmm. I would have liked to see those interviews in their entirety.
Slamming the Reid interview and interrogation method? So dumb. Means nothing again. Just the defense trying to throw up spaghetti. This method is tried and true and is designed to bring out information about the truth. Just because a suspect doesn't lay it out in x, y, and z and in order with all the details, doesn't mean the police are full of crappy interview skills. It means all suspects lie and hide and omit. Is it pushy? I didn't find their style pushy and/or aggressive. Again, I didn't see the entire recording of Brendan's contact with investigators.
Dassey recants his confession. "I could have gotten it out of books?" Please. I don't think he is a reader in the first place. I could be wrong. He claimed, "Kiss The Girls." That was a book by James Patterson made into a movie with Morgan Freeman. Dassey has a fourth grade reading level and his confession does not match or even mirror Patterson's version of terrible crimes against women. Does Dassey have a great imagination? I don't know if he is capable of such details and I think he is just a simple young man. I don't think he is capable. Again, we may never know.
And then there is Kayla Avery. Why did she backpedal on the stand at first? Is she scared? We don't know her state of mind nor any family influence she have experienced. Made it up? Really confused? I find that hard to believe. Collusion to protect the family members? Yep. Seems so. Just my opinion.
What about Steven Avery not taking the stand? So what. That happens all the time. It does not mean innocent or guilt.
What about the professor the defense brought in on the interview of Dassey. Again, so what. He didn't impress me.
What does all this mean? I don't know. With blips and half clips, you can't really make a sound judgment on the entire case which spanned much more than what we see on Netflix. It is a great piece of work, hard work. I do have to give the creators credit for the film.
The movie makers making a big deal out of the log for the crime scene not being totally accurate and the police not being reprimanded? Again, the earth does not quake beneath my feet. It doesn't mean there is a sinister cover up, but gives the defense a reason to poke holes. That is why cops need to be meticulous. If the police were, in fact, disciplined over malfeasance or substandard paperwork, the public may not be privy to that information. They would never know. That is internal. Is that sinister? No. It might just mean the police made unintentional errors with no direct cause and effect other than giving the defense a reason to point at the cops.
Whether I like any of these characters in the film or real life makes no never mind. The police are not always bad and they are not always likable characters. Do I think something is amiss here? Yes, but not the entire justice system and not the entire force. What? Who? I don't know all the facts.
Do I like Kratz, the prosecutor? No. I think he is a creepy guy. Actually slimy. I wished he would grow some balls during the trial and not sound so "soft". That would have driven me nuts the entire time. And he should not be able to practice law but I am sure they could not prove his sicko behavior was a reason to disbar him. Or maybe they didn't try hard enough.
People can say so many things about what if's and what have's and "they didn't let me do this and that" or "they are lying" after the fact. I would like to ponder the reports and recordings in their entirety.
I don't know what to think of Steven's parents. They are a sad couple. I am sure they are feeling the brunt of the social out-casting being done to them and their business. I think they, too, they are simple folks who don't understand or comprehend their family doings, criminal behavior, or the wrongs and crimes their children/family members have committed, but they still have faith in the justice system and seem to think the best of things are to come out of their fight.
The prison girlfriends? Stupid. Nut jobs. I can't take them seriously. Really? What normal person would contact prisoners in hopes of a relationship? It astounds me. Even I'm not that stupid. (snork, snork)
Polygraphs? Mean nothing in a court of law. They are an interview tool and don't come into play here. Just because someone says they will take one does not matter. Can people beat them? Yes. Go ahead and throw them out there to make people think you are innocent or show guilt.
I think Brendan's best ally is his attorney, Steven Drizin. I was surprised Brendan was denied a new trial but the burden is great for the defense to gain ground here in any court.
What is the truth? I don't know. It is so muddled we may never know. We do know that Ms. Halbach died a tragic death at the hands of another. I do believe Steven Avery is a disturbed and dangerous man. I don't know what to think of Brendan. I do think he was mishandled in his interviews but is was he coerced or forced to say untruths? I can't say that from what I have seen.
The moral compasses are all over the place with all these characters which gives me a headache. The docu-series gives for some interesting contemplation and surely this will be an eye opener film for the justice system. Bring lots of popcorn and Ibuprofen for the strain of boredom. Don't forget to watch it with an open mind.