Appeals court blocks ‘Making a Murderer’ inmate release

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

MADISON, Wis. (AP/WOOD/WBAY) — A federal appeals court has ruled that a Wisconsin inmate featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” must remain behind bars even though his conviction has been overturned.

Brendan Dassey was convicted in 2005 of raping and killing Teresa Halbach. He was sentenced to life in prison.

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)

“Making A Murderer” prompted a re-examination of the investigation and the convictions of Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery.

A federal judge in August overturned Dassey’s conviction, saying investigators coerced him into confessing. State attorneys have appealed that ruling.

The judge on Wednesday ordered Dassey released from prison by 8 p.m. Friday.

The state Justice Department asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in an emergency motion to block the release, arguing Dassey’s confession was voluntary.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel also argued that the state has a strong likelihood of success on appeal, that Dassey’s release would have irreparably harmed the state, that the 27-year-old’s interests do not warrant a release, and that his release would harm the public interest.

Dassey’s attorneys filed a reply brief late Wednesday arguing that Dassey has behaved well in prison and that the state hasn’t identified any harm that might come from his release.

However, a three-judge panel of the appeal’s court on Thursday agreed to block Dassey’s release, pending the resolution of the appeal.

Meanwhile, Avery is appealing his conviction for Halbach’s murder. Since his trial, Avery has been adamant that he was framed by the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office.

Avery attorney Kathleen Zellner has said she’s pinned down testing that can determine the age of blood in Teresa Halbach’s car to determine if it was planted from a vial of Avery’s blood police had almost ten years earlier. Halbach’s vehicle was found on the Avery Salvage property following her disappearance on Oct. 31, 2005.

WBAY’s Rhonda Roberts contributed to this report.