Brendan Dassey

Making a Murderer: Court Overturns Brendan Dassey's Murder Conviction

Making a Murderer‘s upcoming second season just got a nice promotional boost: Brendan Dassey, whose murder conviction was documented in the Netflix hit, is about to be a free man.

A federal judge in Milwaukee on Friday overturned Dassey’s conviction, ordering that he be released from custody “unless, within 90 days of the date of this decision, the State initiates proceedings to retry him.”

As documented in the first season of Making a Murderer, 26-year-old Dassey was convicted — along with his uncle Steven Avery — of killing Teresa Halbach, a freelance photographer, in 2005.

“Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits and the absence of a supportive adult” led the judge to deem Dassey’s initial confession — taped when he was 16 years old — as “involuntary.” According to court documents, “investigators repeatedly claimed to already know what happened … and assured Dassey that he had nothing to worry about.”

The news comes just three weeks after Netflix announced it was moving forward with a quasi second season of the true-crime smash, one that would “take viewers back inside the story of convicted murderer Steven Avery and co-defendant Brendan Dassey as their respective investigative and legal teams challenge their convictions and the State fights to have the convictions and life sentences upheld.”

“Today there was a major development for the subjects in our story and this recent news shows the criminal justice system at work,” executive producers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos said in a statement. “As we have done for the past 10 years, we will continue to document the story as it unfolds, and follow it wherever it may lead.”

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12 Comments
  1. Dennis says:

    Great news! That poor kid was coerced and his biggest worry at the time was “will I make it back in time for English class, I have a project due,” plus– he has an intellectual disability/mild retardation.

    Hope those cops get what they deserve for putting the Avery and Dassey family through hell. (No disrespect to the Halbach family, hope her killer is one day found… b/c it’s not Avery).

  2. Sam says:

    Steven Avery’s innocence is suspect, but Brandon’s never was. I thought his was the truly tragic and gripping story about police corruption.

  3. Jay says:

    As someone who works with individuals with a disability, the coercion that was presented (at least in the edits of this show) were despicable. That and his awful initial lawyer made it incomprehensible that he would be convicted in the first place.

  4. rebecca says:

    I had to take a break after watching the episode when Brendan “confessed”. I was so angry, especially with his lawyer Kachinsky. I never thought Brendan had anything to do with it, this news makes me very happy. He can watch all the wrestling he wants.

  5. herman1959 says:

    I’m glad that it looks like he’ll be released, but I wonder what will happen to him now. Will someone come forward to offer free counseling and job training that he’ll need to live on the outside? And, will he be financially compensated for the time he lost out of his life? A simple sorry will not suffice in this situation.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      Just being free and not looking back, might be the way to go. The husband watches these shows, 48 hours, Dateline, 20/20, etc. and that seems to be the attitude of people who kind of had a rough time of it.

    • PatriciaLee says:

      The husband read my response and countered, “I think he should. They ruined his life. Does his mother know what to do?”

  6. Cate53 says:

    It was poor Brendan’s story that broke my heart watching Making a Murderer. He and his mother were so clueless about the criminal justice system and he was treated badly by pretty much everyone, especially his own lawyer. That guy Ken was one of the biggest jerks on TV! The evidence against Avery was a bit dodgy but there was NO evidence against Dassey, just that confession so I’m very happy to hear it has been put aside.

  7. Weezy says:

    Once again I think people are overlooking a crucial component of this. Per the new normal, people think reacting emotionally is somehow a good move. While I think the conviction was BS PERSONALLY, you guys do realize they are setting a new precedent where a CONVICTED murderer can simply be freed b/c a federal judge said so? How can we not understand how dangerous that is. You basically are opening the door to allow any person to be freed and completely circumvents the criminal justice process. Think of the implications…