Making A Murderer leaves many questions unanswered

Well it was bound to happen. I’ve got to chime in on the Netflix series “Making A Murderer.” While I have many very specific concerns, I’m only going to address some higher level thoughts along with a few comments about some of the key players.

Guilty or Not Guilty or Innocent?

I don’t know. I wasn’t in the courtroom for either trial; I didn’t hear what the jurors heard.

Steven Avery

The series raised so many questions about the process of Avery’s trial, questions that all Wisconsinites deserve answers too. I could list many, but I’ll say just one. After the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department recused themselves from the investigation, why were they still involved? Their decision to stay involved was very poor and inappropriate, and turned out to be the root cause of many other questions. Had they stayed out of it, no one would be able to accuse them of things like planting evidence, ignoring other possible suspects, and influencing the Calumet County officials, just to mention a few.

I’ve also read much info about how bad a person Avery is, and therefore he’s guilty. Seriously? He tortured a cat, therefore he must have killed Halbach? That’s what you’re going with? Holy cow.

Brendan Dassey

Dassey’s confession was all wrong. This kid wasn’t all there. And if the method used by authorities to get the confession is acceptable, then we’ve got big problems. I feel terrible for this kid.

Ken Kratz

The former Calumet County district attorney is an idiot. And I’m sorry, but I’m not going to back that up or provide any specifics. Do some research on him, you’ll see. His behavior during the trials was idiotic, as were his actions after the trials. He’s just an idiot.

Teresa Halbach

What a terrible tragedy for her family. In speaking about Teresa, I just want to address a concern raised by many, that the documentary didn’t focus enough on her and how good a person she was. Simply put, the documentary just wasn’t about her, it wasn’t intended to be about her. It was intended to be about the trials and court happenings. The filmmakers chose their subject and went with it.

I don’t know the Halbachs or anyone connected with the case. But since I live only 30 miles from Avery’s home, I know many people who have personal connections. And many of these people have made statements suggesting that this documentary shouldn’t even be out there out of concern for the Halbach family. I appreciate that, but unfortunately this is how it works. There have been TV stories and documentaries for decades about criminals and their crimes, with no focus on the victims. It sucks and I realize it’s not easy for the family, but it’s television.

So now what?

The filmmakers who made this series are just that, filmmakers. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos have no obigation to insert any investigative skills into the series. And this leaves us with what I feel is our greatest opportunity. I’d like to see a respected news organization (i.e. 60 Minutes, CNN) take this on and add some journalistic integrity to the story. We need some true journalists to dig in and ask these questions that are on all of our minds. Of course the attorneys involved are going to give only their perspective. Of course the county authorities involved are going to give only their perspective. Same with the Halbach family and all others involved. So now we need a well-respected organization who was not involved to give us an unbiased view into the case.

It’s also very appropriate for a media organization to make a documentary about Teresa Halbach. She and her family are indeed the true victims here. It wasn’t the purpose of “Making A Murderer” to feature them, so someone else should step in and do that.

Upcoming Shows

I’m aware of two upcoming TV programs that I believe will begin to provide the journalistic integrity I spoke of.

The State of Wisconsin vs. Steven A. Avery” – Friday, Jan. 29 at 9pm central – Dateline NBC – by Andrea Canning

Steven Avery: Innocent or Guilty?” – Saturday, Jan. 30 at 8pm central – Investigation Discovery Channel – by Keith Morrison

My favorite news organization is CBS News, specifically, 60 Minutes. I hope they’ll take up the cause as well.