Production has begun on Convicting a Murderer, described as a follow-up to Netflix’s Emmy-nominated docuseries Making a Murderer, from documentary filmmaker Shawn Rech (A Murder In The Park). Rech will direct the eight-episode series and produce via his Cleveland-based Transition Studios with his longtime producing partner, Chicago attorney Andrew Hale. The project secured independent financing and will be shopped.
Producers say Convicting A Murderer will investigate the controversial case built by the State of Wisconsin against Steven Avery for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, in which police were accused of tampering with crime scenes and planting evidence to manipulate the investigation and implicate Avery of the murder. Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey are currently serving life sentences.
Rech will work with District Attorney Ken Kratz, Lead Investigator Tom Fassbender, and other major players in State v. Avery on the docuseries.
“When Making A Murderer was produced, many on the law enforcement side of the story could not, or would not, participate in the series, which resulted in a one-sided analysis of the case,” Rech said. “This docuseries will examine the case and the allegations of police wrongdoing from a broader perspective. It will also share with viewers the traumatic effects of being found guilty and vilified in the court of public opinion.”
Netflix has greenlighted a second installment for its Making a Murderer, which chronicled — and questioned — the murder convictions of Avery and his nephew. A premiere date is yet to be announced.
Rech and Hale are no strangers to wrongful conviction cases. Their first film, IFC Films/Sundance Selects’ A Murder in the Park (2014), presented evidence that led to the release of Alstory Simon, an innocent man wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for a 1982 double homicide in Chicago.
In their upcoming film Wrong Cat, Rech documents Hale’s uphill battle to free alleged cop-killer Cleve Heidelberg. When Hale earned his freedom last year, Heidelberg was the longest-serving wrongfully convicted prisoner ever released, at 47 years.
In their new documentary White Boy, Rech and Hale presented evidence that cleared the way for Detroit’s infamous Richard Wershe Jr., aka “White Boy Rick”, to be paroled after serving 30 years of a life sentence for drug-trafficking as a minor in 1987, while also exposing deep corruption within Detroit city-politics. It set to be released exclusively on iTunes May 22.