After 11 years behind bars, Brendan Dassey – one of the subjects of documentary series Making a Murderer – looks set to go home.
A Wisconsin judge ruled on 14th November that he be immediately released following the overturning of his murder conviction in August.
Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery were convicted of the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach at Avery’s home in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, with 16-year-old Dassey also facing convictions for second-degree sexual assault and mutilation of a corpse. Both were sentenced to life in prison.
But Netflix’s Making A Murderer raised serious allegations of police misconduct in the case.
In August, a court threw out Dassey’s conviction on the grounds that an apparent confession by the teen, who has a low IQ and learning disability, could have been coerced by law enforcement officers.
“These repeated false promises, when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey’s confession involuntary under the Fifth and 14th Amendments,” the judge said in his court report.
So, what next? Wisconsin’s Attorney General has announced plans to file a stay of release to prevent Dassey going home, and there could be a retrial – but his lawyers are hoping to have him home by Thanksgiving.
Under the terms of Dassey’s prison release, he is banned from contacting Avery or the Halbach family, must register as a sex offender and must also remain within Eastern Wisconsin, according to USA Today.
When Dassey entered jail, he was just a teenager – but a decade later he will face a very different world as an adult.
A second series of Making A Murderer is in the works.