The Wisconsin Department of Justice is appealing the overturned conviction of Brendan Dassey, who was accused of helping his uncle kill a woman in a case described in the docuseries “Making a Murderer.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said Friday in a statement: “We believe the magistrate judge’s decision that Brendan Dassey’s confession was coerced by investigators, and that no reasonable court could have concluded otherwise, is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law.”
In 2005, Dassey, then 16, confessed to authorities that he assisted his uncle, Steven Avery, in raping and killing photographer Teresa Halbach.
He later recanted.
Dassey – described in the judge’s ruling as having an IQ “assessed as being in the low average to borderline range” – was questioned without his mother present and appeared to be eager to tell sheriff’s officers what they wanted to hear.
A federal judge in Milwaukee ruled August 12 that investigators used deceptive tactics in obtaining Dassey’s confession.
The judge ordered that prosecutors have 90 days to appeal or retry Dassey, now 26, or he will be released.
The case against Avery became the basis for the popular 10-part Netflix series, which premiered in December and prompted calls to set Avery free.
Avery was convicted in 1985 in the rape of jogger Penny Beerntsen on a beach near her home in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. He served 18 years in prison but was exonerated after DNA evidence connected the attack to another man. He was released in 2003.
Two years later he was arrested in the death of Halbach, whose charred remains were found on his family’s auto salvage yard.