In 2015, Netflix released a series, “Making A Murderer,” which was immediately a sensation. The documentary which is on the life of Steven Avery, looks like everything that could come from a badass crime fiction written by someone as good as James Ellroy, but it is a true story of a man who after being wrongly convicted for sexual assault and attempted murder and spending 18 years, was exonerated only to be back in prison for murder. What makes the whole case interesting is the question that no one can really answer; is he still innocent?
Steven Avery Biography
There was nothing unusual about the earliest life of Steven Allan Avery; he was born on July 9, 1962, to a family that was pretty normal in almost every way possible. He was raised by his parents, Dolores and Allan Avery alongside three siblings, Chuck, Earl, and Barb. His family lived in Two Rivers, Wisconsin where they also ran a salvage yard.
While everything seemed normal, Steven was a slow learner and because of that, he attended an elementary school for slower kids. As it would later be revealed by his lawyer, Avery has an IQ of 70, which made it almost impossible for him to function in school.
By the time he was 18, Avery’s path had already started crossing with the law. He was first arrested and convicted for burgling a bar, but he only spent 10 months of his two-year sentence before he was released on probation. The next trouble that he would get into with the law was in 1982 when he was jailed for animal cruelty after he and some friends burnt a cat to death. He would remain behind bars until 1983 only to be in another trouble with the law after he pointed a gun at his cousin who was spreading false rumors about him because she disliked him. For this crime, he was sentenced to six years.
In 1982, he got married to Lori Mathiesen, but by 1988, the marriage ended in a divorce. The couple had four children together.
He was arrested again in 1985 for attacking and sexually assaulting a woman, Penny Beerntsen while she was jogging. Although he had an alibi and 16 witnesses who supported it, he was still convicted of rape and attempted murder for which he was given 32 years behind bars.
Someone else would later confess to the crime in 1995, but Thomas Kocourek who was the Sheriff of the Manitowoc County at the time would push it aside claiming they already had their man behind bars. Still, Steven Avery would be found innocent of the crime in 2002 thanks to a DNA test that showed the person who had confessed to the crime, Gregory Allen was, in fact, the man who did it.
The trouble of Avery would continue in 2005 when a woman named Teresa Halbach who was a photographer went missing. The interesting thing was that she had an appointment at the time with Steven Avery at his home. Her car was later to be found in Avery’s Auto Salvage yard with bloodstain that was later said to match his DNA. Although he insisted that it was all a frame-up, Avery was convicted to life for first-degree murder. His nephew, Brendan Dassey, who confessed to helping Avery commit the crime after interrogation was sentenced to life for the same crime as well as sexual assault and mutilation of a corpse.
Nonetheless, both men still insist they are innocent, with Dassey claiming he was coerced into his confession. According to a member of the Juror who excused himself from the trail, the jury had found Avery not guilty, but he was surprised only to come and find that everything suddenly changed.
Where Is He Now?
Steven Avery is now still serving at the Waupun Correctional Institution in Waupun where he has been since 2012. Before then, he was held for 5 years at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility in Boscobel where he served for illegal possession of a firearm.
During the trial, his attorneys revealed that they discovered that the blood from his trail in 1996 had been unsealed, believing that it was from there that his blood was gotten and planted in Halbach’s car. Efforts at having a retrial with the latest being in 2017, have all failed. Because of this and many other twists in the case, there are many who believe Avery is only a victim of corrupt officials who brought the injustice on an innocent man. Because of this, a petition towards getting a pardon for Avery and Dassey failed in 2016 because both men are in state prisons so it can only be gotten from the state level.
Following his first wrongful conviction, Steven Avery dragged Thomas Kocourek, the Manitowoc County, and the former district attorney of the county district attorney, Denis Vogel, to court for his wrongful conviction. He requested to be paid $18 million in punitive damages and another $18 million in compensatory damages, adding up to $36 million.
However, it was later settled at only $400,000. There is no record that he has been able to make any more money to give him any significant net worth. In fact, his parents had to sell their business to keep fighting to get justice for him because, like many others who have followed his story, they believe he is just another innocent man behind bars.