Judge orders Brendan Dassey’s release following ‘Making A Murderer’

Brendan Dassey Making a Murderer
An undated mug shot of Brendan Dassey (Courtesy: Wisconsin Department of Corrections via WBAY-TV)

MANITOWOC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY/WOOD) — A federal judge has ordered the supervised release of Brendan Dassey as he awaits a potential retrial for the murder of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County.

Dassey and his uncle Steve Avery have been serving life prison sentences for the 2005 killing of the freelance photographer. The case gained global attention after the release of the Emmy-winning docu-series “Making A Murderer.”

The order signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin on Monday says that a United States Probation Office monitor will make sure Dassey is compliant with the conditions of release imposed by the court.

With a photo of homicide victim Teresa Halbach projected behind him, Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz begins his opening statements in  Steven Avery's murder trial at the Calumet County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 12, 2007. (AP Photo/Kirk Wagner, Pool)
With a photo of homicide victim Teresa Halbach projected behind him, Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz begins his opening statements in Steven Avery’s murder trial at the Calumet County Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 12, 2007. (AP Photo/Kirk Wagner, Pool)

Under the restrictions, Dassey cannot not violate any laws, he must appear in court as required, he cannot have a gun or weapon, he cannot possess any controlled substances, and he cannot have contact with Avery or Halbach’s family. Dassey’s travel will also be limited to the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Dassey has until noon Tuesday to provide an address where he’ll be staying to the U.S. Probation Office. The office will then inspect the residence to make sure it’s suitable for Dassey.

A social worker and probation officers will help him transition to life out of prison after nearly 10 years behind bars.

In August, a federal magistrate ruled that investigators coerced Dassey’s confession that he helped his uncle Steven Avery rape and kill Halbach in 2005. The judge overturned Dassey’s conviction, and Dassey filed a motion to be released. Dassey was 16 at the time he was interviewed by police.

A file photo of Steven Avery in court (Courtesy: WBAY.com
A file photo of Steven Avery in court (Courtesy: WBAY.com

“The court concluded that, when viewed collectively, various assertions and assurances the investigators repeatedly made to Dassey amounted to false promises that he would not be punished,” reads the Aug. 12 order.

The state of Wisconsin is appealing the judge’s decision. In October, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel filed the opening brief in the state’s appeal.

“We’re still four or five months out from the briefing being done, then the court will consider the evidence. And it was a nine-day trial, as I recall. There’s an enormous amount of evidence for the appellate court to look over and prepare with and so, it, we’re probably quite some months out from a decision,” Schimel told our Media General sister station, WBAY.

Avery is appealing his homicide conviction with the help of Chicago-area lawyer Kathleen Zellner. Zellner took to Twitter to celebrate the judge’s decision in Dassey’s case.


The original version of this story was first posted on WBAY’s website.