(Rockford Advocate) – There is a new development in the Steven Avery murder case that may contrast with his post-conviction lawyer’s attempt to free him.
In a 2016 letter obtained by Rockford Advocate, a man who befriended Avery in prison says the “Making a Murderer” subject confessed to him how he raped and killed Teresa Halbach on Halloween 2005.
Joseph Evans Jr., a man convicted of killing his wife in 2009, says he met Avery in 2010 at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility in Boscobel, Wisconsin. He recognized Avery from news coverage of Halbach’s murder, and Avery knew of Evans’ Marinette County case.
After small talk about their respective cases, Evans said Avery unfolded a chilling, detailed confession that started with the contention that he would have gotten away with murder had Brendan Dassey not talked to police. Avery then walked Evans through how he lured Halbach into his trailer, raped and strangled her, and continued to have sex with her after she was dead.
“Steven Avery told me that he had seen Teresa out at the salvage yard before,” Evans wrote in the nine-page letter. “He said that he had thought that Teresa would be an easy lay because he didn’t think she was all that pretty or anything. …but she did have a sexy bottom on her.”
Evans said when Halbach arrived at the salvage yard, Avery was being flirtatious and asked her to dinner. Teresa refused the date, but agreed to go inside Avery’s trailer to talk about about the sale of the vehicle she came to photograph. After talking with Halbach at his kitchen table, Avery grabbed a knife from a drawer and Halbach by the back of the hair, Evans said.
“He said he put the knife to Teresa’s throat as he guided her to his bedroom,” the letter continues. “Steven said Teresa was crying and begging him not to kill her.”
Similar to the prosecution’s theory gleaned from Dassey’s now thrown-out confession, Avery tied Halbach to his bed, only he used one of his shirts and pair of his socks, Evans said, not the leg and arm irons found by police.
For approximately 90 minutes, Avery raped, strangled and sodomized the 25-year-old freelancer, stopping periodically to choke her to make sure she wasn’t breathing.
Enter Brendan Dassey.
With the freshly killed Teresa Halbach in his bed, Avery cleaned himself up, knowing he called his nephew over to “give him a hand.”
“Steven had said that Brendan had asked him, ‘Why is she just laying there like that,’ (and) Brendan thought she was just sleeping,” Evans said.
Avery then gave his nephew permission to have sex with Halbach, but said to “hurry up because they had to get rid of her.” The teen obliged, later asking if she was a heavy sleeper because she never moved. That’s when Evans said Avery laughed at his nephew “for being so stupid,” before telling the boy Teresa was dead. To make sure, Avery cut her throat but did not believe the wound was very deep, given the lack of blood.
“Steve said that after he had Brendan help him tie Teresa up with rope and taped her mouth shut, they carried her body into the kitchen.”
Avery moved Halbach’s Toyota RAV4 closer to the trailer, and Dassey placed her body in the back of the vehicle. They pulled the SUV into Avery’s garage and placed her on the floor, Evans said. That’s when Avery grabbed a .22-caliber rifle and shot her: twice in the head, twice in the chest and once in the vagina.
“Then he had Brendan help him put Teresa’s body back inside of the Toyota, and drove it to his burning pit.”
While Dassey covered Halbach’s body with old tires, branches and debris, Avery got busy hiding the RAV4. He disconnected the battery and GPS wiring and removed the license plates, Evans said. He put the Toyota’s key in his front shirt pocket. He placed her phone, handheld computer and camera on the ground and covered the RAV4 with boards so it would blend in with other cars in the yard, Evans said.
“Steven then stated that after he was done covering up the vehicle, he had gathered up the items that he had placed on the ground and took them back by the burning pit and tossed them into it.”
With Teresa’s body in the bottom of the pit, Dassey and Avery wiped the trailer and garage clean using bleach and Gojo soap. Avery put Halbach’s clothes, bedding, rags and a throw rug in garbage bags and transported them to the burn pit in his car. There, they became part of the gas- and oil-fueled bonfire, Evans said.
While millions of Internet sleuths claim Manitowoc County deputies had time, opportunity and motive to plant the Toyota key, Evans said it ended up in Steven’s bedroom because Avery mistakenly dropped it there.
“Steve said when he was in his bedroom, he had taken off his flannel shirt and tossed it up on the dresser, that’s when the key to Teresa’s Toyota must had (sic) fallen out of his shirt pocket and fell between the dresser and the bed.”
Burn barrel items and a vow of silence
After tending the fire with Dassey for about an hour and a half, Avery promised the teen he would buy him any car he wanted with proceeds of the lawsuit he had pending against Manitowoc County. All Brendan had to do was keep quiet, Evans said.
“Steve said that he told Brendan that if he said anything to anyone he wouldn’t get anything and that the two of them would both go to prison. Steve said that Brendan promised to remain quiet and keep his mouth shut to everyone, then Brendan left to go home.”
Avery tended to the fire, Evans said.
“He remained out there by the fire for a few more hours and as it was dying down, he could see some of Teresa’s bones and some other items that had not burned completely, so Steve said he had taken a shovel and broke up the bones and scattered them around, then he shoveled the bones and other things into the burning barrel.”
Evans said Avery discarded the shovel, knife, Teresa’s jewelry and some of his clothes near Crivitz, Wisconsin, where Steven was when police discovered the RAV4 and Halbach’s bones.
A parting promise
In March 2014, Evans and Avery were transferred to the Waupun Correctional Institution. By then, Evans said the deal between “Making a Murderer” filmmakers and Netflix was in the works, and Avery had been advised to stop talking about his case. He said because they were friends, Avery promised to pay his restitution after he won a multi-million-dollar lawsuit he planned to bring against the State of Wisconsin and Manitowoc County.
Evans told Avery he needed to turn to God and admit to Halbach’s murder, if only to help Dassey, but Avery refused.
“‘Your (sic) f–king crazy,’ that kid is on his own, he shouldn’t had (sic) spoken to the police.”
Evans said Avery initially planned to pin the the murder on his brother.
Advanced forensic testing
Famed post-conviction attorney Kathleen Zellner is still waiting for results of forensic testing that began last year on several pieces of evidence. She claims she has proof that Manitowoc County deputies planted evidence in the case.
Evidence subject to forensic testing are:
A vial of blood Avery’s blood drawn in 1996 and filed with the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department. It is the vial attorneys Jerry Buting and Dean Strang claimed may have been the source of Avery’s blood found in the RAV4. The blood was previously tested for a preservative and none was found.
A DNA swab taken from the hood latch of the RAV4. This is the swab prosecutors say contains Avery’s sweat DNA he left when he touched the latch in the process of disconnecting the Toyota’s battery. The hood latch was tested six months after the murder.
Blood recovered from the floor of the RAV4.
Blood from a CD case found in the vehicle.
Blood from fabric found on the RAV4 seats.
Blood taken from the ignition area. Prosecutors maintain the blood came from a cut on Avery’s hand. His attorneys say it may have been intentionally smeared there.
Swab of blood taken from the rear passenger’s door.
Zellner said she plans to name another suspect she believes killed Teresa Halbach. The second season of “Making a Murderer” could be released this year.