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'Making a Murderer': Petitions call for Steven Avery's release

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Story highlights

  • Wisconsin governor says he has no plans to pardon Steven Avery
  • Avery is the subject of the Netflix series "Making a Murderer"
  • Almost 360,000 signatures have been collected, calling for his release

This story may contain spoilers about "Making a Murderer."

(CNN)Fans of a popular Netflix docuseries are calling for the release of its subject.

Almost 360,000 people have signed online petitions seeking a pardon for Steven Avery, whose case is the subject of "Making a Murderer."
    Petitions have been launched on Change.org and at the White House, asking for a presidential pardon for Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, who were convicted of murdering photographer Teresa Halbach.
    "Steven Avery should be exonerated at once by pardon, and the Manitowoc County officials complicit in his two false imprisonments should be held accountable to the highest extent of the U.S. criminal and civil justice systems," the Change.org petition states.
    It addresses President Barack Obama and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. On Tuesday, the governor said he wasn't going to intervene.
    "Just because a documentary on TV says something doesn't mean that's actually what the evidence shows. The bottom line is that there was a crime that was committed a decade ago," he told CNN affiliate WQOW of Eau Claire. "There is a system ... by which individuals can petition the courts to get relief like others have done in the past that shows that someone might actually be innocent. But I am not going to override a system that is already put in place."
    Because Avery's case is not a federal one, the President cannot pardon him.
    Avery was released from prison in 2003 when DNA evidence exonerated him in a woman's brutal attack. He had served 18 years for the crime. Two years later, in the midst of a civil suit he filed over his false conviction, Avery was arrested and convicted for Halbach's murder.
    Filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos put together "Making a Murderer" over a decade. Former Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz was the special prosecutor in the case against Avery and his nephew and has said the pair left out crucial evidence that pointed to Avery's guilt -- a charge the filmmakers have denied.
    "One of the things I hope viewers who really engage with the series will take away from this is this question of, if they have lingering questions, are they comfortable living with that?" Ricciardi told The Daily Beast. "There are now two people who are behind bars, probably for life. Do our viewers feel satisfied with the process that led to those convictions?"