It’s been about 12 years since Brendan Dassey was sentenced to life in prison for his alleged participation in the 2005 death of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach and three years since Making a Murderer the docuseries that explored his case, was released on Netflix. Dassey’s story continues to unfold as Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin recently denied him clemency.
In October, Dassey’s legal team campaigned for him to receive clemency. According to the New York Times, A petition signed by tens of thousands of people was submitted as well as an open letter signed by hundreds of national legal and psychological experts, former police officials and prosecutors and clemency experts.
In an unsigned letter dated December 17, the Governer’s pardon advisory board said that Dassey’s letter would not be considered because he was not eligible for a pardon because it had not been at least five years since he completed his sentence. In addition, he did not register as a sex offender, which he was required to do.
Now 30 years old, Dassey’s uncle Steven Avery was found guilty of Halbach’s murder and last August, U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin overturned Dassey’s conviction, ruling that the court found his confession was involuntary. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the state court decision that could have freed Dassey, ruling that the court’s findings that he participated were “reasonable,” even though one dissenting judge said the case was “a profound miscarriage of justice.”
The wildly popular Making a Murderer premiered in December 2016 on Netflix and went on to win four Emmys. Filmed over the course of 10 years, in addition to Dassey’s conviction, the series detailed the story of Avery, who served 18 years in prison wrongfully convicted of the sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beersten before being exonerated by DNA evidence in 2003. In 2007, he was convicted of the murder of photographer Halbach.