In December 2015, Making a Murderer broke my heart in many ways. It featured the story of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin resident who in 2003 was exonerated of a rape and attempted murder, which he’d spent 18 years in prison for. Two years after his release, he was on the verge of receiving $36,000,000 in compensation when he was accused of the brutal rape, murder and dismemberment of 26-year-old Teresa Halbach. Eventually, as the state worked hard to build its case against Steven, his nephew, 16-year-old Brendan Dassey was brought in for police questioning. Highly suggestible and intellectually challenged, Brendan was coerced by investigators into admitting helping Steven rape and murder Teresa. Steven and Brendan both received life sentences.
Their plight was compounded by the suffering of their family members, especially Steven’s parents, Dolores and Allan Avery, and Brendan’s mother, Barb Tadych. Watching the documentary made me want to help Steven and Brendan. Being familiar with the Department of Corrections’ procedures, I posted some YouTube videos advising people how to send letters and money to them without violating the prison rules. The avalanche of positive responses was overwhelming.
Some of the millions who watched Making a Murderer went online to express their outrage at the blatant injustice. The villains in the documentary were attacked in Facebook posts, Tweets and reviews. The Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office received bomb threats and hundreds of online reviews such as this one: “you don’t deserve the ground you walk on!!! scum scum scum hope you all get your heads blown off for what you have done.”
Since Making a Murderer premiered, many activists have continued to campaign online. I joined forces with Making a Murderer warriors, and in the UK, we had a demonstration outside of the US Embassy in London organised by Belinda Wilson and Kayleigh Brandon, which I attended in an orange jumpsuit. I have written to Steven and Brendan, liaised with some of their family members and corresponded with people close to the case.
After learning about ex-special prosecutor Ken Kratz’s book and reading the two books by the Wisconsin prosecutor Michael Griesbach, I was outraged by their efforts to continue to manipulate the public. I felt compelled to write this book with two goals. Firstly, to expose how easy it is in a broken justice system to convict innocent people. Secondly, to help raise money for charity. Half of the profits from this book will be going to Steven and Brendan via their lawyers: Kathleen Zellner & Associates; Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin of the Centre on Wrongful Convictions of Youth. The other half will be spent on free book donations to school children and prisoners. Unlike Kratz and Griesbach, I’m not out to profit from the tragic death of Teresa Halbach.
Ken Kratz – the Making a Murderer supervillain – and a minority of people have criticised Netflix for its favourable treatment of Steven and Brendan. Kratz claimed that Netflix left out crucial evidence that would have convinced viewers of their guilt. The more I researched the case, the more material I discovered that strengthened my belief in their innocence. That material is in this book, which is divided into these chapters:
The Art of Framing Innocent People
Strategy 1: Trigger Emotional Reactions
Strategy 2: Conceal Other Suspects
Strategy 3: Coerce False Confessions
Strategy 4: Plant Evidence
Strategy 5: Pay Expert Witnesses to Lie
Strategy 6: Ensure Public Defenders Work for the Prosecution
Strategy 7: Neutralise Honest Witnesses
Strategy 8: Procure Dishonest Witnesses
Strategy 9: Hire Sociopathic Prosecutors
Strategy 10: Rig the Jury
Show Your Support for Steven and Brendan
On September 6, 2015, Ken Kratz – the Calumet County District Attorney and lead prosecutor on Steven’s second wrongful conviction – sent Steven a letter in an attempt to manipulate Steven into confessing to crimes he had not committed for the purpose of helping Kratz write a book:
KRATZ LAW FIRM
RE: I’m Sorry That You Are Not Interested
Dear Mr Avery:
I got your letter dated August 28, 2015, wherein you tell me that your visitor list is full, and ask if I checked out other fingerprints found on Teresa Halbach’s car, telling me that these people could have “set you up” for this.
I apologize for misunderstanding your letters from a couple years ago, as I thought you were interested in being honest about what happened and finally telling the whole story to someone. Since I’m the person who probably knows more about your case that anyone else, I hoped that you would choose me to tell your story to.
Unfortunately, you only want to continue your nonsense about being set up. That’s too bad, because you had ONE opportunity to finally tell all the details, but now that will never happen.
By the way, the difference between you and famous convicted murderers from the past is that they told their whole truthful story to someone, who then wrote a book about what actually happened and people got to understand both sides. I was willing to do that for you… but if you are going to continue to lie about what happened between you and Ms Halbach, I am not interested.
If you change your mind, and want to tell your story someday, please contact me.
Kenneth R. Kratz
Attorney & Counselor of Law
On September 6, 2016, I sent Kratz a letter asking him to contribute to this book:
Author and Activist
RE: I’m Appalled That You Framed Two Innocent People
Dear Mr Kratz,
I reference your letter dated September 6, 2015, wherein you attempted to lure Steven Avery into admitting guilt to crimes that originated in the depths of your depraved mind, in the greedy hope that Steven would contribute towards your book Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What “Making a Murderer” Gets Wrong.
If you are interested in being honest about what happened and finally telling the whole story of how you framed two innocent people, including an intellectually challenged teenager, I’m hoping that you might choose to tell me your story for inclusion in my book: Un-Making a Murderer: The Framing of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.
Unfortunately, it is with an embarrassing narcissism that you have chosen to continue your charade even though anyone with a jot of common sense – with the exception of Nancy Grace – has seen through your pretense and views you with ridicule and contempt. I’m offering you ONE opportunity to come clean.
For your information, the difference between you and other circus ringleaders from days of old is that they promoted hoaxes before the advent of DNA testing, so that people were never privy to the truth. I am willing to put the truth out there for you, Ken, however if you are going to continue to lie about what happened in the face of Kathleen Zellner’s DNA evidence, I am not interested.
If you change your mind and you’d like the opportunity to tell your story someday, please contact me. I am not the douchebag you referred to me as on Facebook. Just be honest with me, Ken, I have your best interests at heart – just like your buddies Fassbender and Wiegert who pretended to help Brendan Dassey get back to school and home to watch WrestleMania. Come clean and bring down all of Manitowoc County with you. You’d better do it soon before they throw you under the bus. An admission of guilt with some feigned tears, remorse, blame-shifting to your Xanax addiction and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings playing in the background might help mitigate your prison sentence.
If you do ever end up in an orange jumpsuit, Ken, hold onto that soap very carefully. In the event that it slips from your hand in the shower and you must bend over, try to remember the ordeals of your multiple sex-pest victims, including the vulnerable women you were meant to serve and protect.