MILWAUKEE (AP) — A federal appeals panel affirmed a lower court’s ruling that Brendan Dassey’s confession was improperly obtained in a Wisconsin killing that was the subject of the Netflix series “Making a Murderer.”
The three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Thursday that “no reasonable court” could have confidence that Dassey’s confession was voluntary. The state of Wisconsin hinted it would appeal, keeping Dassey behind bars for now.
Here are some of the main events in the case:
Oct. 31, 2005: Teresa Halbach, 25, of St. John in Calumet County, a photographer for Auto Trader Magazine, goes to Avery’s Auto Salvage near Mishicot to photograph a minivan for sale by Steven Avery’s sister. Evidence later shows Avery called asking for her to come, using his sister’s name.
Nov. 3, 2005: Halbach’s family reports her missing.
Nov. 5, 2005: Halbach’s cousins find her vehicle under brush and auto parts in the Avery salvage yard. Charred bone fragments found in a burn pit later are determined to be her remains.
Nov. 8, 2005: Avery tells reporters he fears authorities are trying to frame him for Halbach’s slaying because he sued Manitowoc County officials for $36 million for wrongful conviction. Avery spent 18 years in prison for rape before DNA evidence cleared him of the crime and he was freed in 2003.
Nov. 9, 2005: Avery is arrested and, based on past convictions for burglary and other crimes, charged with possessing firearms as a felon. Authorities say two guns were in his trailer home.
Nov. 15, 2005: Avery is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and mutilating a corpse.
Feb. 14, 2006: Authorities announce Avery has settled his lawsuit against Manitowoc County officials for $400,000.
March 2, 2006: Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey, then 16, is charged in adult court with being a party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and first-degree sexual assault. Prosecutors base the charges on a videotaped statement in which Dassey detailed the killing, saying he and Avery raped and killed Halbach and burned her body. He later recants the statement.
Jan. 29, 2007: A judge dismisses sexual assault and kidnapping charges against Avery because Dassey may not testify at his trial.
Jan. 30, 2007: A judge says defense attorneys can tell jurors that Avery was wrongfully convicted of rape and may use as evidence a vial of his blood found unsecured in the Manitowoc County courthouse. Defense attorneys say discovery of the vial supports their claim that blood was planted to frame Avery.
Feb. 12, 2007: Avery’s trial begins.
March 12, 2007: After the prosecution and defense rest, the judge dismisses the false-imprisonment charge, saying he doesn’t think the jury has enough evidence to find Avery guilty. Avery has not taken the witness stand. Dassey also does not testify in Avery’s trial.
March 18, 2007: After deliberating for nearly 22 hours over three days, jurors convict Avery, now 44, of first-degree intentional homicide and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Avery is acquitted of the charge of mutilating a corpse.
April 16, 2007: Dassey, now 17, goes on trial before a jury selected in Dane County.
April 20, 2007: Prosecutors play Dassey’s videotaped confession for the jury.
April 23, 2007: Dassey testifies in his own defense, saying he lied when he gave the statement but doesn’t know why. Avery does not testify.
April 25, 2007: After 4½ hours of deliberation, the jury convicts Dassey of being party to first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and second-degree sexual assault. Sentencing is scheduled Aug. 2.
June 1, 2007: Avery is sentenced to life in prison with no possible parole.
Aug. 2, 2007: Dassey is sentenced to mandatory life in prison with a possibility of parole set for Nov. 1, 2048.
December 2015: Netflix releases the series “Making a Murderer,” in which the filmmakers cast doubt on the legal process used to convict Dassey and Avery. Authorities involved in the case have called the 10-hour series biased, while the filmmakers have stood by their work.
Aug. 12, 2016: A judge throws out Dassey’s conviction, ruling that investigators coerced a confession using deceptive tactics. He gives prosecutors 90 days to decide whether to retry Dassey.
Nov. 14, 2016: A judge rules that Dassey should be released while prosecutors appeal the decision that overturned Dassey’s conviction.
June 22, 2017: A three-judge federal appeals panel rules that Dassey’s confession was improperly obtained and he should be retried or released from prison.