The 10-part Netflix documentary Making a Murderer uses a massive amount of local news footage to piece together the story of a 1985 rape trial and conviction, a 2003 exoneration, a 2005 missing persons case which led to a murder investigation, and two 2007 trials that make up the bizarre case of Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey.
Last month, we interviewed Emily Matesic, who was the lead reporter for WBAY, the ABC affiliate in Green Bay, Wis. She and her colleagues from other Green Bay and Milwaukee TV stations, who covered the story 10 years ago are now reliving it, through Making a Murderer. Another reporter, Diana Alvear–who would go on to work for ABC News and NBC News–worked for NBC affiliate WGBA from 2005-2008. She revisits the case–depicted in episode 2 of Making a Murderer–through a column on Medium.
I interviewed Steven Avery shortly after he was named as one of the last people to have seen Teresa alive. We stood in the darkness next to the red van that she’d been hired to photograph for Auto Trader magazine. He calmly answered my questions, even the one about whether he’d been asked to take a polygraph test. It was a pretty uneventful interview. It was only after documents were filed in the case that I learned I’d been standing on her remains as we conducted our interview.
What I want to say is this: Avery and Dassey may be serving life sentences behind bars but they’re alive. Teresa was handed a death sentence 10 years ago. She will never fall in love, get engaged, get married. She’ll never have a family of her own. She’ll never get to pursue that passion for photography. Her dreams and her future died with her. All her family have left are memories and the deep love they shared. There is a victim in this case. Her name was Teresa Halbach. And she deserves better than this.
If you haven’t seen it, and would like to, here’s the first episode on YouTube: