It was announced Friday that Brendan Dassey, nephew of Steven Avery and co-subject of the Netflix Original “Making a Murderer,” will be freed within the next 90 days.
The U.S. District Court in Milwaukee threw out Dassey’s conviction and ordered him to be released unless prosecutors want to retry him.
The court’s decision is based on the fact that investigators at the time made false promises to the then teenager, telling him he had nothing to worry about if he incriminated his uncle in the murder of Teresa Halbach. Judge William Duffin stated: “These repeated false promises, when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey’s confession involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.” Dassey’s most recent appeal was recently rejected prior to this ruling.
The Netflix Docu-series showed Dassey being coerced into a confession and fed parts of a story that he and his uncle, Avery, had murdered, raped and burned Teresa Halbach. Dassey was 16 at the time and was sentenced to life in prison, as was Avery. The series also showed the “intellectual deficits” Judge Duffin alluded to in Dassey’s age-inappropriate naivite and difficulty standing up for himself; he is shown to blindly trust the investigators and other adults around him and, as a result, be influenced by anything that they told him.
There is no word yet if prosecutors will press new charges.