Rockford, Illinois News

Opinion: Steven Avery attorney did not accuse Bobby Dassey, Scott Tadych of murder

(ROCKFORD ADVOCATE) – Social media forums exploded with activity Wednesday, October 25 after Making a Murderer lawyer Kathleen Zellner filed a motion in Steven Avery’s case, in which she named Bobby Dassey and Scott Tadych as people police should have investigated further in the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach.

Docu-series fans know Bobby Dassey as the older brother of Brendan and Tadych as their now-stepfather. If there was an official list of potential people who could have “really killed” Teresa Halbach, Bobby and Scott would be at the top. Not because there was anything linking them to a crime scene, but simply because of how typical police investigations go. And anyone who’s seen Making a Murderer knows the Halbach investigation was anything but typical.

In a motion Zellner filed Tuesday, she dropped a bombshell of sorts when she referred to Bobby and Scott as the “potential killers.” And was all some “truthers” needed when she claimed both committed perjury at Avery’s trial. Groups on Facebook, Reddit, and probably others are now rehashing the theory that Bobby and Scott lied because they had something to do with the killing.

Let’s review. During the Teresa Halbach missing person and, later, homicide investigation, it was learned Teresa had been to the Avery salvage yard on prior occasions over the previous year. Steven Avery was the first to admit that. And while other members of his family were questioned, it is not clear whether an initial list of possible suspects was ever made.

To the state’s credit, Halbach was only a missing person before her bones were discovered, and there was no need to compile a list of people who may have killed her before that point. The discovery of the cremains, however, did not nullify the need to assure everyone, namely the people of Wisconsin, that police were working to make sure they had the right person, even if Steven Avery looked like the No. 1 suspect. Because, after all, he was.

Halbach had been on his property on Oct. 31, 2005, and he was seemingly the last person to see her alive. But, there were others there too, including one person who testified to seeing the victim at the same time Steven Avery said she was taking pictures for Auto Trader — Bobby Dassey.

Bobby, Brendan’s older brother, testified that he saw Halbach, but he only saw her Toyota RAV4 a few minutes later as he was preparing to go bow hunting. Here is where Steven Avery’s latest motion alleges that his nephew perjured himself.

According to the new filing, Bobby told his older brother, Bryan, in 2005 that he saw Halbach leave the salvage yard. The state allegedly knew about that conversation but failed to tell Avery’s trial lawyers.

Snapping back to 2017, whether the evidence was not turned over in discovery is yet to be seen. Glaring though is Zellner’s reason for lassoing Bobby Dassey and Scott Tadych back into the mix of those who could have killed Teresa Halbach.

Keep in mind, Zellner’s latest theory is set in 2005, back when the state convicted Avery on the claim that Halbach met her fate on his property. For almost two years, she’s been refuting the state’s timeline and insists Halbach drove away from Steven Avery’s trailer and onto Wisconsin Highway 147.

If Bobby Dassey was behind her as Zellner claims, and Scott Tadych passed Bobby on the highway as he testified to, it would place both men in the same vicinity as Teresa Halbach at 2:41 p.m., as Monday’s motion asserts. Coupled with cellphone records and tower data, this revelation could be an important piece of information.

Her team is not attempting to solve the Halbach murder, Zellner’s brief states. They’re attempting to establish that others had an opportunity to commit the crime and that if police conducted a thorough probe starting with people at the salvage yard and branching out from there, Steven wouldn’t be sitting in prison today. Yet Monday’s filing can’t be good news for the Avery and Dassey families. And that’s because the devil’s in the details.

From Scott’s alleged attempt to sell a .22 rifle to Bobby’s reported internet searches for dead bodies and deviant pornography, the misinformed “I knew Bobby and Scott did it!” legion is out of hibernation. It was quieted in June when Zellner alluded to Ryan Hillegas as the killer. But, they’re back with even more credulity.

But, unlike Bobby and Scott, Zellner ties Hillegas to the crime scene again in the new motion. This time, she does so by way of a page out of Teresa Halbach’s day planner. The only way he gets that one-page document, the lawyer theorizes, is if he was there when she’s killed.

If there was ever a time Avery hoped somebody was lying, this is likely it. Of course, Bobby’s statement to his older brother must be admitted as evidence before anyone starts baking any welcome-home cakes for the now 55-year-old Avery.

Monday’s brief is not the amended motion Zellner spoke about in September. The filing was a motion to reconsider an Oct. 3 denial of her June 7 brief. The law states that for that decision to be reconsidered, new evidence must be presented along with her request for an evidentiary hearing. If Sheboygan County Circuit Judge Angela Sutkiewicz vacates the Oct. 3 ruling, Zellner will file the amendment.

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