(Click play to listen to the podcast recap)
We know that we have had a couple of Making a Murder recap episodes, but this one is just a little different. This one goes a little more into detail and is strictly dedicated to Making a Murderer and related content.
In this episode, Lish recaps episode 1 of Making a Murderer 18 Years Lost. the intial introduction to Steven Avery and his legal issues with Manitowoc County.
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Featuring music by Bensound
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2 days ago my friend told me about the new series on Netflix Making a Murderer. She knows how much I love documentaries and crime shows and thought this would be right up my ally. What she forgot to leave off was exactly how fucking infuriating and sickening it is to watch this shit….but I could not stop watching!
I have given birth.
I have lost family and friends.
I have had my heart broken.
I have gained weight, lost it, and gained it plus 10 more pounds back.
And still NONE of those aforementioned things have ever taken me through as many emotions as this series has. I literally have pressed pause, went to Google, rewound, stopped, and re started this series more than anything I have ever watched. I have cried, screamed, growled once, and cried some more. And just because misery loves company, I have suggested it to all of my friends and family to watch. 🙂
Making a Murderer is a 10 episode docuseries about a man named Steven Avery from Manitowoc County Wisconsin. Steven served 18 years in prison for a violent rape and was exonerated after DNA evidence proved him not guilty. He returned home September 11, 2003.
In episode 1 we meet Steven and his family, the Avery’s. They live in rural Manitowoc County in Wisconsin and own and operate a salvage yard. The salvage yard sits on approximately 40 acres of land where he and his family all live in mobile homes.
From what we learned the Avery family is different from and looked down upon by the rest of the community. The way it was explained reminded me of that one eccentric family that lives up the street. The one where the members go about and mind their own business but they just happen to do shit differently. You know this family too. They do things like barbecue in the front yard, have 30 people living in a 4 bedroom house, never have any guests, they have 5 broke down cars on the front lawn, may or may not be products of incest, and never leave unless it’s for school or work. But they also say hello every time they see you and will help other neighbors shovel snow. We all know people like this, or at least we know of them, right? Outliers. Outsiders. The weird. The different. And in the case of Steven Avery and his family, also, the not so bright. From what Steven’s lawyer stated, his IQ was about 70. To give you an idea of how low that is, it is only 1 step up from being very low on the scale. From what I have seen so far of the family, I would venture and say that many of the members have a low IQ. And this is not a shot at them, just an observation.
Although Steven did have a criminal history, all of the crimes, except for one, seem to have been petty ones. The one that was not so petty was that one time he was arrested and convicted of animal cruelty for burning and killing a cat. In the documentary it sounds like it was an accident. However, upon my own investigations, I have read from other sources that it was intentional. There is apparently a police report that says that Avery and his accomplice poured gasoline on a cat and set it in fire, and watched it die. Ummm…what?
As an avid watcher of crime tv, I know that cruelty to animals, especially setting one aflame Katniss style, is behavior that is displayed by serial killers or violent people early on in their murder career. Also, murder career is a thing.
Given that, it was not a murder that landed Steven in prison for almost 18 years. It was a culmination of things that got him convicted, but mostly it was because the Deputy Sheriff’s wife was a lying ass bitch. She was also Steven’s cousin and her name was Sandra Morris. Steven’s dad, Allan, who happens to look like Wilford Brimley, said that she and Bill (her husband) were always picking on Steven. At one point, Sandra and Steven had been having beef because of her running around town telling people about how Steven masturbated on the hood of her car once and how he and his wife had sex in the front yard. She also said she didn’t like him and used to talk badly about him at the local taverns. I’m pretty sure she would go to the bar and get drunk and just talk shit about Steven and then later people would run back and tell him. How embarrassing for your own cousin to be running around town talking reckless like that about you to everyone! Especially in a little ass town of 4000 people, where everybody knows everybody and no one likes you or your family.
In 1985, Steven ultimately got sick of her shit and her gossiping ass ways. One January morning, he sees her driving down the road, he hops in his car and runs her ass off the road. When she gets out to confront him, he then jumps out and points a gun at her. Later he said it was unloaded but he was just trying to scare her and make her quit running her mouth. His plan failed, cause the bitch went to her hubby and his buddies at the Sheriff’s office and filed a police complaint. He was charged.
Steven was let out on bail and was awaiting trial. This is where the story starts to get crazy.
In July 1985, Penny Beernsten, a pillar in the community, was violently raped and left for dead in the woods. When she went to the hospital, Judy Duvorak, another Deputy Sheriff and Sandra Morris’s friend, prepared the incident report, and lead Mrs Beernsten into believing the Steven was her assailant. From the fact that the sketch artist made a composite sketch using a mugshot, to the Deputy Sheriff only focusing on Avery as a suspect, shit started going downhill for Avery really quick really fast. Watching Sandra and Judy with their bad hair and bad skin during their depositions pissed me off. Both danced around the questions and tried to change their own words. And the sketch artist with his 4 chins and lying ass??? He had the nerve to frame the “composite sketch” because he was so proud of it. A composite sketch that was the EXACT liking of a fucking mugshot that looked NOTHING like Steven did at the time!!!! Framing a composite sketch for a framing of a man. How ironic.
Steven was taken into custody. The Sheriff kept him from having phone privileges and from seeing anyone…including his lawyer. He didn’t have a chance. He was 23.
Sheriff Kocourek was warned from the Manitowoc police that the suspect for Beernsten’s rape may have been Gregory Allen. Detective Thomas Bergner told the Sheriff that they usually have surveillance on Gregory Allen on a daily basis but at the time of the assault, he was not being watched. The Sheriff told the detective that they already had the right guy.
There was no physical evidence on Avery. All of his time was accounted for from his alibi, and he had witnesses to vouch. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison, never admitting guilt because he did not commit the crime. Meanwhile Gregory Allen was freely out in Wisconsin, violently raping and assaulting women. At the time of his last rape in 1995, he was 57 years old. 57.
It was so hard to watch Avery’s mother Delores and father Allan struggle through retelling this story. At one point, Allan was brought to tears. His mother goes through boxes and boxes of transcripts and appeals and sentencing documents that she has made and mailed. She sent them to several media outlets asking for them to just hear the story, they never helped. They were not listening.
Steven and his wife Lori divorced while he was in prison. I can’t imagine how he felt. It seems like it would have been impossible not to go crazy and become who they made the world believe you are. Somehow he held on even after all of his appeals got denied. Then, his post conviction lawyers Robert Henak and Stephen Glenn had the DNA evidence tested in 1995. The court shot down the evidence stating that the 3rd set of alleles from the test could have belonged to anyone and didn’t prove Steven’s innocence. Eventually, the Wisconsin Innocence Project got the rape kit tested again. The lab found a rooted pubic hair and tested it. This was the proof of Avery’s innocence. It was Gregory Allen’s DNA. Steven Avery was released from prison.
He says that it was “An honest mistake” that Patty Beernsten thought he was her assailant.
The assholes Vogel and Kocourek both had left their positions with Manitowoc County by the time Steven was released. The assistant DA had suspicions that they both knew that Avery was not guilty and still prosecuted him, so he ordered an investigation of the Manitowoc County’s handling of the Avery case. There was an entire task force dedicated to this.
As the truth started to come out, the world started to see just how much corruption there was within the Manitowoc justice system. The pressure mounted to save face and to cover up as much as they could. There were even memos warning employees not to speak to anyone regarding the case. After the investigation concluded, it was deemed by the DA that there was no criminal wrongdoing or ethical violations in Avery’s case. It was just unfortunate that Steven had to stay in prison for 18 years because no one ever investigated Allen.
About a year after the DNA evidence which proved Steven’s innocence came out, and after the DA said that Manitowoc was not wrongful, Steven’s civil right’s lawyer Walter Kelly filed a $36 million law suit against Manitowoc County, former Sheriff Tom Kocourek , and former DA Denis Vogel.
It did not end well. Steven ended up being charged with murder.