When the controversial true crime documentary Making A Murderer premiered on Netflix in 2015, it became a nationwide phenomenon.
The case of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man found guilty of murdering photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005, captivated the nation as fans debated whether or not he was truly guilty.
Now, newly discovered evidence has earned Avery the right to appeal his sentence, and possibly win his freedom, in an upcoming court case.
Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were sentenced to life in jail in a pair of trials for Halbach’s murder, after the woman’s charred remains were found in a car salvage yard owned by Avery.
Dassey’s conviction was overturned in 2016 after a federal judge ruled he had been coerced into confessing to the murder, but prosecutors in Wisconsin appealed the decision and he remains behind bars.
After spending 12 years in prison for Halbach’s murder, Avery still insists he was found guilty for a crime he did not commit.
Possible human bones found in a gravel pit near the property turned out to be the key evidence that earned Avery an appeal. His lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, claims the bones were not DNA tested before being given to Halbach’s family, a potential violation of state law.
Zellner also says the bones undercut the prosecution’s theory that Halbach was killed on Avery’s property.
“This evidence has the potential to undo the whole case,” she told Newsweek, “so it is a big win.”
Avery will return to the circuit court for new criminal proceedings which could include a hearing or a new trial. If the circuit court does not grant a new trial, the case returns to the appellate court, which could also grant a new trial or reverse Avery’s conviction.
If Avery does get another day in court, his defense attorneys can now submit the bones or other news pieces of evidence.
Zellner is obviously confident in her case, tweeting, “The DREAM LIVES ON for Steven Avery to be FREE AGAIN. The WRECKING CREW IS ON IT.”
While Zellner’s theories about who killed Halbach were explored in Making a Muderer’s second season, she teased that there is even more evidence, including blood found on Halbach’s car, that points away from her client.
Avery previously spent 18 years in prison for a rape he claimed not to have committed, before being exonerated by DNA testing.