Editor In Chief, Christina Stoy on THE DANA PRETZER SHOW- PODCAST HERE
Faced with the prospect that Avery needed criminal defense cash, Avery’s civil attorneys had no choice but to cash him in, and free up his proceeds for criminal representation. Both civil attorneys were actively trying to locate Steven Avery fearing he was being questioned without representation for several hours (he was) the day of his arrest and said so in several televised interviews. During questioning, Calumet Detective Mark Wiegert accuses Avery of the murder of Teresa Halbach- whether accidentally or accidentally on-purpose.
Weigert asks Avery, “Then why is her blood all over your trailer?” Avery responds “No It Ain’t”.
Wiegert asks- “why is your blood all over the inside of her car then?” Avery responds, “Cops got a lot of my blood, they took blood from me many times, vials.”
Avery is originally arrested on a felon in possession of a firearm charge, and subsequently upgraded to the first degree murder of Teresa Halbach following DNA confirmations of her remains on the property. Although all investigative reports provided to Avery’s initial public defender reflect no involvement in the searches or collection of evidence by Manitowoc deputies in any capacity, presented at Avery’s preliminary, a Calumet county deputy was asked just the right question, in just the right way, gleans this gem: although searched six times, on the 7th search following confirmation of Halbachs blood in her own vehicle, Kucharsky admits he was never told to watch the actions of Manitowoc deputies Andrew Colborn and James Lenk – who by the way, just happened to find the valet key to Teresa Halbach’s Rav 4 that Lucharsky also testified was not there in any prior search.
Colborn and Lenk were central figures responsible for the wrongful conviction in 1985 of Steven Avery. The key contained only Avery’s DNA.
Avery’s civil attorney, Stephen Glynn, calls Avery on February 16, 2006 and recommended his former partner Dean Strang, and if possible, also Jerome Buting as his criminal defense team. Strang was well known in cases involving allegations of police misconduct and Buting had experience and name recognition for successfully defending high profile cases in Wisconsin. After paying his civil lawyers, Avery coughed up a joint $240,000 retainer for the duo. By then, the Avery family had already consented to participation in Making A Murderer.
Dean Strang and Jerome Buting see significant screen time in Making A Murderer. While both Wisconsin barristers are masterful to the point if I were a Wisconsite I might consider a victimless crime just to experience their representation- not even they could foresee how the shell game mastery of special prosecutor Ken Kratz. Kratz was appointed to the case from neighboring Calumet County so as to assuage the very appearance of any impropriety or conflict on behalf of the county who (ostensibly) just funded Avery’s defense.
Kratz, an elected DA with zero supervision in his role was more than ready to demonstrate his Kratz-as- Kratz- can technique .
The Accidental Targeted Defendant
The MAM series does not highlight this connection directly, but following Avery’s retention of Strang and Buting, Investigators begin visting Avery’s fiancé, Jodi Stachowski, in prison. Jodi was locked up since August on her 5th DUI charge. It is not known what those visits were about- they were never presented in court, but shortly thereafter Jodi was released several months early and returned to the Avery compound and Steve’s trailer. On camera, she appears in a few scenes with multiple family members professing Averys innocence. She also accuses police of stealing her purse she left behind. The couple had some domestic skirmishes resulting in a 3 day restraining order against Avery in 2004, but it was believed to be due to an unfounded accusation against Avery by the mother of his niece. And according to her criminal arrest record it is pretty clear Jodi was drunk more than she was sober- so there’s that.
Calumet investigator Mark Wiegert is now partnered with Wisconsin criminal investigation division special agent Tom Fassbender.
Within days of the announcement Avery has retained the services of Strang and Buting, Wiegert and Fassbender turn their attention to Brendan Dassey- Avery’s 16 year old nephew.
Dassey had already been interviewed twice passively at his residence (next door to Avery) immediately following Halbach’s disappearance. Dassey provided a detailed account of his whereabouts to include he and his brother had invited two friends over that night but both cancelled, and Brendan went over to help Avery with a vehicle and a previously planned bonfire. He did this during the execution of a search warrant for the vehicle he was riding in (which belonged to Avery) in back of the cop car who was now supposed to give them a ride back to the family cabin. On February 20th Wiegert interviews Dassey’s cousin Kayla in the presence of both her parents with prior permission as well. Kayla Avery was 14.
Pertinent point here- this occurs on the Avery property so there was no effort to cover up the interview or keep it from the many family members who would have been aware of it.
In stark contrast to their interviewing minors procedures a week earlier, on February 27th Todd Fassbender and Matthew Wiegert yank Dassey out of class for his first interviews following his Uncle’s arrest. (Disclosure: This author holds advanced certifications in interview and interrogation techniques through Reid since 2012, therefore I am going to provide a brief synopsis only of what occurs between February 27th and March 2, 2006)
On February 27th, 2006 (Read the transcripts here) Brendan Dassey is interviewed for several hours without notification to, or permission of either of, his parents and is told if he does not confess Avery (and all cops) plan to blame him because he and Avery were the only two in attendance at the fire behind Avery’s garage. At no time in his accusatory interview is Dassey informed he is a suspect or Mirandized.
After this interview, Fassbender calls Barb Janda, requests she to come to the school to speak with investigators. Her interview has never been submitted as evidence. Although Janda she drove her own vehicle, she and Brendan , by investigators without the knowledge her 16 year old developmentally and intellectually compromised minor-aged son had just incriminated himself. Nor does she know Brendan was just told Steve Avery might now get out and they feared for his safety. Wiegert alerts Kratz and Kratz directs the investigators to take Brendan to Twin Rivers to properly memorialize the interviews and to put Brendan and his Ma up in a Hotel for their safety. Let’s be real here. There was never any danger that Steven would be released. There was however, a concern on behalf of Kratz et al that there were two documentarians with access to the site and the Avery family they did NOT want on film. In the interest of brevity- additional interviews over four hours on March 1, 2006, which are nearly entirely suggestive of evidence now only known to investigators, they succeed in extracting an involuntary confession from a 16 year old who clearly believes afterwards he is turning in a project in school.
Not in the docuseries, but according to prison logs obtained exclusively by www.blinkoncrime.com, Steven Avery was put in isolation the afternoon of February 27, 2006, on suicide watch Feb 28, 2006, and was not returned to his cell until Dassey was arrested. What was the need to break jail protocol if they were hiding out Dassey in the first place?
On March 1, 2006 Brendan Dassey is arrested for the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach although the account he gave of his own involvement was never corroborated by a scintilla of evidence. He asks- is this just like for a day or two?
“Steven, I know your gonna be watching be watching this, I hate you. I hate you for what you did to my kid so you can rot in Hell.” – Barb Janda
Not in the series, but in the last minutes before Brendan is arrested on March 1, a press conference alert goes out over the ap wire. You read that correctly. Ken Kratz along with Calumet Sheriff Pagel were scheduling their first press conference in four months before the cuffs were even on Dassey. Gets better. Fassbender takes a call during the Dassey interview about the press conference scheduled the next day, where the details of this suspect who does not so much as have a warrant for their arrest at the time.
Kratz would deliver as promised. It would be the most horrific and vile account of a young woman’s kidnapping, rape, torture, murder and mutilation during a press conference by a prosecutor I have ever heard. In my view it was also the first of more than a few ethics violations by Ken Kratz. More on that later. Not only do I find it impossible to repeat the words in print- but because I know at the time, and since, Kratz is well aware it’s veracity is in the region of nautical depths of questionable. His goal was to create such chaos within the Avery family that a divide would insure two notches on his belt. Pretty much- it worked.
Can any of us imagine the ripple effect on a family that was previously conjoined in the elation of the possibility for absolution for Steven Avery in the form of punitive relief, finally? The series goes into, but does not dwell on the fact that that Steven’s homecoming was what one should probably expect- a situation with someone with untreated psychological issues as a result of being incarcerated for a heinous crime he did not commit. The Avery junkyard was the backdrop of their lives. This family of meager means was working and living in a scrap metal equivalent of a beehive and now that same beehive contained the cremains of a young woman. The disastrous fallout can be summed up best by Barb Janda’s spit-laden conversation with her brother Steven after Brendan’s arrest.
Janda: “ You got a $100,000 for me, for my son? “
Avery: For What”
Janda: A lawyer
Avery: He has a lawyer
Janda: I just lost him, hes related to the Halbachs.
Using Brendan’s confession investigators renewed a search, swung by Brendan’s house, with his permission and picked up a pair of his jeans with bleach stains he told investigators he got by helping Avery clean up reddish-brown liquid on the garage floor after Avery told him he accidentally put a hole in something working on his vehicle. A re-search of the garage where 11 casings of a .22 were found in the open on now gleaned 2 partially intact .22 bullets
According to Mark Weigert, luminol lit up (from the presence of bleach) exactly where Dassey said they cleaned up large stains. Dassey’s drawing from that interview was used to direct the forensic teams.
Next on the felony public defender rotation is Len Kachinsky. Len, a ringer for Alfred E Neuman with glasses gave his first press interview before he ever even met Brendan- an interview clearly indicating guilt on behalf of his juvenile client.
Brendan Dassey’s situation was about to go from bad to worse.
Volume III THE EVIDENCE Publishes Tuesday January 18
Please join Christina Stoy, Editor In Chief tonight on THE DANA PRETZER SHOW LIVE at 9PM EST