Making a Murderer: 5 Bombshell Revelations from Steven Avery’s Lawyer

    Who killed Teresa Halbach? Steven Avery's lawyer believes she knows...

    Kathleen Zellner, Steven Avery's lawyer, filed a motion for post-conviction relief on June 7.

    Obviously, there's a lot of interest in what Zellner’s 1,227-page document contains. But who has time to read through it all? We do, so you don’t have to!

    Zellner's petition requests a new trial for her client Steven Avery and made several explosive claims about the case and whom she considers to be the real killer.

    Avery, the 54-year-old Wisconsin man whose story was depicted in the hit 2015 Netflix docu-series Making A Murderer, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 2005 slaying of photographer Teresa Halbach.

    Now, in a newly issued 1,272-page document, Kathleen Zellner makes hundreds of allegations. After we pored through it all, we summarized five of the most shocking.

    1. She alleges that Halbach’s past romantic relationships and nude modeling played a role in her death—and names ex-boyfriend Ryan Hillegas as the most likely killer.

    who killed teresa halbach
    Teresa Halbach
    Photo Credit: Murderpedia

    Zellner theorizes that the motive for the murder was jealousy. Hillegas allegedly maintained a romantic interest in Halbach even after they had broken up. Zellner says he also continued to pursue her even after she began a sexual relationship with her roommate Scott Bloedorn.

    According to Zellner, “Halbach was at a higher risk for being a victim of violence because of her involvement in nude photography and her affair with a married man and with her ex-boyfriend’s best friend.”

    She also alleged that Hillegas was verbally and physically abusive to her during their relationship, and pointed out that he sustained visible injuries to his hands from “fingernail scratches” around the time of her disappearance. She also states that he: 

    “Initially gave the police a false name, minimized his relationship with her, lied about crime scene evidence, controlled and led the searchers to Ms. Halbach’s vehicle, had unrestricted access to the avery property to plant evidence, assisted law enforcement in locating her car, and was living in her house after her murder in complete control of the evidence.”

    Related: 6 Books to Satisfy Your Making a Murderer Obsession 

    2. The bullet allegedly used to shoot Teresa Halbach never passed through bone. 

    Christopher Palenik, Ph.D., from Microtrace Laboratory, which Zellner describes as “an internationally recognized laboratory that is credited with contributing to resolving a variety of high-profile cases” including the Unabomber, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the Green River Murders, and the JonBenét Ramsey case, reportedly concluded that “there is no evidence to indicate that the bullet passed through bone” (i.e. Halbach’s skull). Zellner wrote: “The State’s theory that Ms. Halbach’s cause of death was the result of being shot twice in the head with .22 caliber long rifle bullets is completely disproven by Dr. Palenik’s testing.”

    In addition, Palenik examined the hood-latch swab that allegedly was used to swab the hood latch of Halbach’s vehicle—and reportedly contained Avery’s DNA—and concluded that it was never used to swab a hood latch.

    3. Evidence was planted—and destroyed—by police. 

    steven avery lenk and colborn
    Lt. James Lenk and Sgt. Andrew Colborn
    Photo Credit: Making a Murderer Wiki

    Zellner writes in the documents that the key discovered in Avery’s bedroom “was a sub-key and was planted by Lt. James Lenk and Sgt. Andrew Colborn immediately before its discovery.”

    In addition, she claims that Halbach’s last appointment was not at Steven Avery’s home, but at the Zipperer’s. The CD of a voicemail that Halbach allegedly left on the Zipperer’s answering machine “was concealed and/or destroyed by the State to mislead the jury into believing Ms. Halbach’s last stop was Mr. Avery’s.”

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    4. Steven Avery was convicted in part because defense counsel did not have enough well-qualified experts. 

    Zellner asserts that defense counsel only had two experts to combat the State’s 14 experts.

    “One of the trial defense counsel’s experts performed at a substandard level, and the other was not as qualified as the State’s expert,” she wrote. 

    “Trial defense counsel claimed evidence was planted but failed miserably in proving that assertion by lacking experts in bloodstain pattern analysis, DNA, ballistics, forensic fire, trace, forensic pathology, and police procedure and investigation. Additionally, trial defense counsel failed to conduct a thorough investigation of the victim’s background, deleted cell phone calls, potential third party suspects, or to construct an accurate timeline of Ms. Halbach and Mr. Avery’s activities on October 31, 2005.”

    Related: Netflix’s Making a Murderer Season 2 is Premiering This Year 

    5. Who deleted Halbach’s voicemail messages? 

    steven avery ryan hillegas
    Ryan Hillegas
    Photo Credit: Making a Murderer Wiki

    According to Zellner, on October 31, 2005, six minutes and 41 seconds worth of voice messages were recorded to Halbach’s voicemail. Zellner alleges that Hillegas, and not Steven Avery, could have deleted them. In his testimony, he admitted to dialing in and listening to Halbach’s voicemail messages. When asked if he had erased any messages, his answer was unclear. He stated, “I don’t believe I erased any messages.”

    Read more: Notice of Motion for Post-conviction Relief Pursuant to Wis. Stat. 974.06 and 805.15 Conviction 

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