A Look at What Comes Next for Steven Avery
CBS 58—DNA evidence is taking center stage in the Steven Avery case, after his lawyer filed a motion Friday to test dozens of pieces of evidence.
Avery was convicted of killing Teresa Halbach in 2007. The case made international headlines after the Netflix series “Making a Murder” premiered in December of last year.
Avery’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, who took on the case shortly after Making a Murderer debuted, had to file an appeal by Monday. Instead, she filed paperwork to put that process on hold. Then she went to the Manitowoc County Courthouse and filed what she calls the most comprehensive testing motion ever filed in the State of Wisconsin.
“We're gonna find out one way or another, was the evidence planted and were also going to be able to get test results that we believe will completely exonerate Mr. Avery,” Zellner said outside the courthouse Friday.
Zellner says DNA experts from around the world are lined up, ready to conduct new DNA tests and the defense will pay for it all.
However it’s not that easy. Attorney Julius Kim, who is not involved in Avery's case, says before that happens the state gets to file a response, and odds are there will be a hearing.
“I think the judge is probably going to want some explanation, or someone to testify to offer some explanation of what's going on,” Kim said.
Kim says the state might even bring in their own experts to challenge the methods Zellner wants to use.
“I think there's some assumptions that are built in to her motion one of the assumptions is that the state's not going to challenge the reliability of this new testing to begin with,” Kim said. “I think the state is going to take a close look at the testing that is being proposed at this point in time and say hey, are these scientific tests reliable?”
Zellner, who's made a name for herself overturning convictions using DNA evidence, says she believes the original trial judge, in 2007 issued a ruling that will allow for the additional DNA testing, and ultimately her motion will be granted.
“We foresee absolutely no problems in getting this testing done because if you think about it, someone who's guilty would never allow this extensive testing to be done,” Zellner said.
CBS 58 reached out to the Attorney General’s Office for comment, but did not get a response.
Kim says assuming the DNA tests are granted, the next step depends on what the tests find. They could find nothing new or they provide evidence Avery’s attorney needs to file a motion for a new trial. Or, Kim says if the tests reveal a “bombshell piece of evidence,” the conviction could be overturned.