Steven Avery, the subject of the documentary who was convicted, along with his cousin Brendan Dassey, of the murder of Teresa Halbach in 2007, has maintained his innocence, and has received outside support from the public at large in the form of numerous online petitions. One, addressed to President Obama, attracted over 400,000 supporters; since Avery was not convicted of a federal crime, Obama could not pardon Avery even if he wanted to.
In a Facebook post addressing calls to pardon Avery, Walker sidesteps the issue to ask those concerned to read the state appellate court’s decision.
As this court turned down Avery’s request for a new trial in 2011 (they said the investigation was handled by the book, among other things), Walker’s message is fairly clear.
If that wasn’t clear enough, over the weekend, Walker appeared on the Green Bay news program Newsmaker Sunday, (via Raw Story) to say explicitly that Avery would remain in prison as long as he was governor.
“I have made it my practice for the last five years to not issue pardons,” Walker told Schuller. “I don’t believe we should undermine the criminal justice system. And this is a prime example.”
“Steven Avery was convicted by a jury of his peers for a brutal, brutal rape and murder of a 25-year-old girl,” the governor continued. “The court of appeals heard his appeal, the state Supreme Court heard his appeal. He’s gone through all of the processes.”
“And if, as some claim, he was innocent then he should introduce or people on his behalf should introduce evidence.”
Walker argued that Avery had cleared himself with DNA evidence once before and so he should do it again.
Avery’s new lawyers, who assumed responsibility of his case over the weekend as well, intend to do just that. Kathleen Zellner, the lead attorney, specializes in getting convictions overturned.
“We are continuing to examine every aspect of Mr. Avery’s case and all of his legal options. We are confident Mr. Avery’s conviction will be vacated when we present the new evidence and results of our work to the appropriate court,” she told the Chicago Tribune by email.