'Making A Murderer': Steven Avery’s First Lawyers Theorized Bobby Dassey, Scott Tadych As Killers But Weren’t Allowed To Present In Court

A Making A Murderer theory that could prove Steven Avery is innocent has deeper roots than most may know. Avery’s current lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, named Bobby Dassey and Scott Tadych as possible suspects for Teresa Halbach’s murder in Making A Murderer Part 2, but Avery’s first lawyer, Jerry Buting, said they had the names picked out to present in Avery’s 2007 trial.

Buting spoke of the theory, which claims Tadych and Dassey may know more than they’ve revealed. According to Buting, his team was unable to name the pair in under Wisconsin’s Denny Law. “We filed a motion for third-party suspect evidence, also known as the Denny Motion in Wisconsin, and we named a number of people who had access to her and you know could have had the opportunity and access to have been the killer or killers,” Buting told Newsweek. “The judge would not let us name or point a finger at any of those people because he ruled we could not prove that any of them, including Bobby and Scott, had any kind of motive. Now we did in fact named Bobby and Scott as possible suspects.”

GettyImages-505014630 Jerry Buting speaks during AOL Build speaker series at AOL Studios In New York on January 14, 2016, in New York City. Buting was Steven Avery's lawyer during his 2007 trial. John Lamparski/WireImage

In an explanation of the theory, Buting listed a few reasons why the pair could have more involvement in Halbach’s murder. “Scott Tadych was on the property at least twice I think that day,” Buting said. “He had not gone to work that day. He had no alibi for the critical times other than Bobby Dassey. The pair alibied each other by claiming to see each other passing on the highway going in different directions on the highway. Bobby’s statement to the police was very suspicious because he said well I don’t know, but Scott will. Well, how would he know that Scott would know the precise time of when they passed each other unless they have gotten together and talked about it?”

Buting also noted Halbach’s history of hustle shots—where she was hired independently to take photos of cars on stranger's property—Dassey’s violent pornographic content on the family computer, which was possible evidence withheld from Avery's legal team, and more possible pieces of evidence that have been explained in Making A Murderer Part 2. 

Both Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey are in prison for the murder. Avery is behind bars for life, and Dassey has the same sentence with eligibility for parole in 2048. Avery was priorly found wrongfully convicted of a past crime and has spent much of his life in prison. Buting said both men are innocent. “I said this before. I’m not God. I can’t say for certainty who committed this heinous crime, but I’ve been doing criminal defense for more than three decades and this case has never sat right with me,” he said. “Just convinced as I can be of a miscarriage of justice in this case, where the wrong individuals sit in prison, two individuals in prison both of them I think were innocent.”

From the state’s current behavior in attempting to avoid a hearing of new evidence for Avery, to their said discarding of potential evidence,—see the bones allegedly returned to the Halbach family without being tested for DNA—Buting pointed out concerning behavior in the Wisconsin Department of Justice, or specifically, Manitowoc police. The ongoing attempts to suppress Avery are the reason, he said, why Making A Murderer became a global phenomenon nearly overnight.

“You don’t often have direct evidence of a conspiracy, it’s circumstantial. And that’s what the state and government use in criminal prosecutions and I think that’s what was evident here in our defense,” he said. “So I think that’s what people are really seizing on here. If nothing really suspicious occured, then why is the state fighting so hard to deny his post-conviction attorney the opportunity to do more tests? You know, all of that just wrapped together just sounds suspicious and smells fishy.”

This article has been updated to reflect changes to the capitalization of "hustle shots," as well as changing "ceasing to seizing." 

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