By Steve Schuster
On June 2, 2023, the Clerk of Circuit Court for Manitowoc County received a letter from Steven Avery (dated June 1) requesting to withdraw the submission made to the Court just one week earlier saying the submission was “improper and inappropriate.”
As previously reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal, Avery is currently serving life in prison after being found guilty for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Halbach was murdered on Oct. 31, 2005. For the past 18 years, Avery has had a number of new criminal defense attorneys who have all been unsuccessful at his release. However, Avery’s attorney Kathleen Zellner remains optimistic that new evidence will prove her client’s innocence.
Zellner also filed a motion last month claiming a tow-truck driver came forward earlier in May of 2023 saying he personally witnessed Bobby Dassey driving Halbach’s RAV4 vehicle after her death. According to court documents, Zellner alleges there was a passenger who rode with Dassey, who wasn’t Avery.
During an interview with the Wisconsin Law Journal on Monday, Zellner remains optimistic she will prove her client’s innocence.
“Our perspective is that our very experienced judge will take whatever time she needs to thoroughly analyze our motion, the State’s response and our reply. After reconsidering his initial letter Mr. Avery agrees with us,” Zellner said.
Back in 2022, Zellner also filed a motion requesting an evidentiary hearing.
Zellner claimed the State committed a Brady violation by failing to provide his defense counsel with a snippet of audio recorded by the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office on November 6, 2005, when Thomas Sowinski, who used to deliver newspapers to the Avery property, called to report that he needed to speak to someone about the investigation into Halbach’s disappearance. Avery also alleges that Sowinski claims he saw Dassey and an “unidentified older male” pushing a dark blue RAV-4 down the road sometime after Halbach’s disappearance, which Avery alleged was newly discovered evidence warranting a new trial because it would allow him to set forth a third-party perpetrator defense.
The state of Wisconsin filed a response, stating that Avery failed to plead sufficient facts to meet any of the prongs of the Denny test.
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“In short, Avery’s claim that ‘the Denny requirements are now satisfied’ is wrong,” the State said.
“Avery’s allegations are conjecture and speculation plugged in to unaccounted-for periods of Bobby’s time. That is insufficient to meet Denny,” the State noted.
“Avery has not pled sufficient facts to meet the three prongs of Denny, and the record conclusively disproves much of what he states, which means his Brady and newly discovered evidence claims could not prevail even if he established the facts he alleges at a hearing. Even if he had met his pleading burden, though, what he submitted did not establish he could meet the newly discovered evidence or Brady tests because he cannot show that there is a reasonable probability of a different result at trial if the jury were presented …” the state added.