The case of Making a Murderer's Brendan Dassey: A timeline of events

2016-08-14 11:10

Milwaukee - A judge has overturned the 2007 homicide conviction of Brendan Dassey in a case profiled in the Netflix series Making a Murderer.

At the centre of the judge's decision was a confession Dassey made saying he helped his uncle Steven Avery kill Teresa Halbach in Wisconsin. 

The judge determined the confession was coerced using deceptive tactics. 

Here are some key events in the case:

31 October 2005: 
Teresa Halbach, 25, of St John in Calumet County, a photographer for Auto Trader Magazine, goes to Avery's Auto Salvage near Mishicot to photograph a minivan for sale by Steven Avery's sister. 

Evidence later shows Avery called asking for her to come, using his sister's name.

3 November 2005: 
Halbach's family reports her missing.

5 November 2005: 
Halbach's cousins find her vehicle under brush and auto parts in the Avery salvage yard. Charred bone fragments found in a burn pit later are determined to be her remains.

8 November 2005: 
Avery tells reporters he fears authorities are trying to frame him for Halbach's slaying because he sued Manitowoc County officials for $36m for wrongful conviction. Avery spent 18 years in prison for rape before DNA evidence cleared him of the crime and he was freed in 2003.

9 November 2005: 
Avery is arrested and, based on past convictions for burglary and other crimes, charged with possessing firearms as a felon. Authorities say two guns were in his trailer home.

15 November 2005: 
Avery is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and mutilating a corpse.

14 February 2006: 
Authorities announce Avery has settled his lawsuit against Manitowoc County officials for $400 000.

2 March 2006: 
Avery's nephew Brendan Dassey, then 16, is charged in adult court with being a party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and first-degree sexual assault. 

Prosecutors base the charges on a videotaped statement in which Dassey detailed the killing, saying he and Avery raped and killed Halbach and burned her body. He later recants the statement.

29 January 2007: 
A judge dismisses sexual assault and kidnapping charges against Avery because Dassey may not testify at his trial.

30 January 2007: 
A judge says defence attorneys can tell jurors that Avery was wrongfully convicted of rape and may use as evidence a vial of his blood found unsecured in the Manitowoc County courthouse. Defence attorneys say discovery of the vial supports their claim that blood was planted to frame Avery.

12 February 2007: 
Avery's trial begins.

12 March 2007: 
After the prosecution and defence rest, the judge dismisses the false-imprisonment charge, saying he doesn't think the jury has enough evidence to find Avery guilty. Avery has not taken the witness stand. Dassey also does not testify in Avery's trial.

18 March 2007: 
After deliberating for nearly 22 hours over three days, jurors convict Avery, now 44, of first-degree intentional homicide and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Avery is acquitted of the charge of mutilating a corpse.

16 April 2007: 
Dassey, now 17, goes on trial before a jury selected in Dane County.

20 April 2007: 
Prosecutors play Dassey's videotaped confession for the jury.

23 April 2007: 
Dassey testifies in his own defene, saying he lied when he gave the statement but doesn't know why. Avery does not testify.

25 April 2007: 
After 4 1/2 hours of deliberation, the jury convicts Dassey of being party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and second-degree sexual assault. Sentencing is scheduled for 2 August.

1 June 2007: 
Avery is sentenced to life in prison with no possible parole.

2 August 2007: 
Dassey is sentenced to mandatory life in prison with a possibility of parole set for 1 November 2048.

December 2015: 
Netflix releases the series Making a Murderer, in which the filmmakers cast doubt on the legal process used to convict Dassey and Avery. Authorities involved in the case have called the 10-hour series biased, while the filmmakers have stood by their work.

12 Aug 2016: 
A judge throws out Dassey's conviction, ruling that investigators coerced a confession using deceptive tactics. He gives prosecutors 90 days to decide whether to retry Dassey.

Read more on:    making a murderer  |  tv

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