Reporter Who Covered the Case Talks What Making a Murderer Leaves Out

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One of the reporters who originally covered the Steven Avery case has begun speaking out about the now famed documentary from Netflix, “Making a Murder.” Angenette Levy, a reporter for WFRV-TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has spoken to news outlets recently about what the documentary left out and the reality of the trial that she covered.

“This was an important story, people’s lives and liberties were at stake…You wanted to make sure you were getting it right and asking the tough questions.”

First and foremost, Levy hasn’t commented on whether she thinks Avery is innocent or guilty but she does have very intense thoughts about her timing covering the trial. Below is an interview Levy recently gave to Elle.com.

In ‘Making a Murderer’ you stand out as someone asking the tough questions—of both the defense and the prosecution—during press conferences. People have certainly responded positively to your skepticism during those scenes. What was it like to cover the case as it was happening?

When evidence started to come in, particularly with that bullet fragment and contamination of control samples…We had heard about the bullet in a prior court hearing the summer before—the prosecutor had discussed it in a motion hearing, the fact that there was Teresa Halbach’s DNA found on the bullet fragment—and once the trial started, you know, we had never heard there was an issue of contamination of control samples in the crime lab. So I was really shocked to hear about that, that it was allowed into evidence after the typical protocol of the lab was that it should be ruled inconclusive. That surprised me quite a bit, so I had a lot of questions about that. I just always have a lot of questions. I always wanted to know as much information as I could, just because I wanted to know what really happened that day. What was the evidence that pointed to Steven Avery? The bones that were found in the burn pit, because it wasn’t photographed when it was first discovered, they couldn’t definitively say that it was the primary burn site. Those are things you didn’t know about prior to the trial, and you kind of think to yourself, ‘Wow, what’s going on here?’ It’s our job to ask tough questions of both sides and get the answers and you want to make sure you’re reporting everything properly.

What were some challenges you came up against when covering the trials of both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey?

The whole thing was challenging. Everyone was scrambling to get every little story and every interview they could, and you couldn’t get people to talk to you a lot of the time. Information came through court documents. There was always a challenge in just getting interviews, finding out information. They’re not going to show you all the evidence that they have right up front. It was an important case, you wanted to make sure you were getting it right, exploring all the avenues and things that were being brought up. Steven Avery kept claiming he was being framed, so obviously you have to look into that and ask questions to figure it out. Not that it’s our job to determine that, because it’s not, but you have to keep that in mind. So we reported his claims that he was being framed, which he said from day one.

How do you think the media in general—especially prime time television news—covered the case? The documentary uses news clips that seem to say both Avery and Dassey were guilty before their trials even began…

There was a lot of coverage. It seemed like you couldn’t turn on the television or read a newspaper without seeing something about the case. Even the most insignificant pre-trial motions would be reported on by the media. In the very beginning, when they charged Steven Avery, I think everyone was like, Whoa, this is crazy. This seems insane that somebody who was going to potentially be awarded millions of dollars would murder someone. Why would that happen?

So I always wanted to know from the very beginning, what really happened? It was just so weird, the fact that his blood was in her vehicle. It boggles your mind that a person, who’s probably going to get all this money from a lawsuit, and then you just kill somebody? You always think about these things…Did someone else do it on the property and he helped clean up? Who knows. Steven knew how to do time in prison, he’d been there for 18 years, so was he taking the fall for somebody else? All these things kind of go through your mind. I think what changed was when Brendan Dassey was arrested. The press conference that the prosecutor held, that changed everything. We were all sitting there absolutely stunned. You can imagine what it was like sitting in a room listening to this story that he told, a horror story, it was really shocking. That really changed everything in the case. A lot of people in the general public then thought he was guilty.

The audience is left frustrated because the documentary makes clear Brendan Dassey has a learning disability, and portrays just how easily the criminal justice system can take advantage of young, uneducated people. Do you think the media did a good job of getting this point across during the trials?

We did report at the time that Brendan had a learning disability. I interviewed his mother the night he was arrested. I kind of stumbled upon her; I was knocking on doors and she granted me an interview. I felt very badly for her. She had told me Brendan had a learning disability, saying things like, ‘He just does what he’s told.’ I know we reported it in the media, I just don’t know how much weight people gave to that. I always felt very, very sad about Brendan Dassey’s fate. It wasn’t fair. He didn’t have the money, and neither did his mother to get a really high-powered defense attorney like Steven Avery had. And I think you see that inequity in the documentary. I’ve never heard of a defense investigator coercing a client like that. You see how disturbing it was, what happened to him through this process.

How do you think national news media coverage can improve when it comes to criminal cases?

They need to not focus on the sensational. Instead, focus on trying to get the facts, the truth. You have to be circumspect and you have to show restraint sometimes in what you report. I don’t think that every little tidbit has to be out there. You have to try and be fair. You have to be responsible in the information you disseminate, but at the same time you want to have an informed public. You want to do your job, but you have to balance that with not being prejudicial. It’s a balancing act for sure.

Do you feel like the documentary presents is balanced and fair? Does what we experience, as an audience, reflect your experience of actually being there?

I think it’s very clear that the documentarians had a lot of access to the Avery family. We didn’t have that access. I wish we had had access to them, because I always wanted to talk to them more, but they typically didn’t want anything to do with us. So I enjoyed seeing that part. We obviously didn’t have access to the defense team during the trial, either. Their main character in the story is Steven Avery, so I think you’re going to see more of that side of it than you will the other side. [Avery] is the character through which you are looking at the criminal justice system, you’re going to see more of that, and that’s natural. There are some things [in the documentary] that weren’t included, but you can’t fit everything from an eight-week trial into a 10-hour documentary. There were some things in the trail, for example, that did point to Steven Avery. There was some evidence about the garage floor lit up with luminol. [Editor’s note: Forensic investigators use luminol, which reacts with the iron in hemoglobin, to detect trace amounts of blood at crime scenes.] But there was never any blood found in the garage, either. So I guess there are other substances that react with luminol and light up underneath it. [Editor’s note: Luminol can also be triggered by copper, excessive cigarette smoke, horseradish sauce, fecal matter, and certain bleaches.] Steven Avery had requested Teresa Halbach that day. I know that really intrigued a lot of people during the trial, that he specifically requested her and that he had a *67 feature on his phone to hide his number. So, I think that interested people.

How do you feel about the attention you’ve received since the release of Making a Murderer?

It’s kind of strange. I had no idea I was going to be in this documentary…People ask, Why didn’t you ask this or why didn’t you ask that? And I just think to myself, I probably did. It’s not like they’re going to put every question in the documentary. But, then sometimes I think, Maybe we didn’t ask enough questions. Maybe we needed to ask more. But it’s hard. Sometimes you do ask the question, but you don’t get an answer.

Questions After Watching “Making a Murderer” – Steven Avery

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Whether you think Steven Avery is guilty or innocent, the Manitowoc Police are capable of framing him for the murder of Theresa Halbach, or at the very least he didn’t get a fair trial, there are some questions you should be asking yourself having finished the Netflix series “Making a Murderer.”

  • Prosecution claimed that Halbach was afraid of Avery because he was “creepy.” If she was really as afraid of him as they claim why would she show up at the Avery salvage yard to take photos? It was also known by everyone that she went to Avery’s that day. She told her supervisors that she was heading to the Salvage yard to take photos and Avery told others that she was coming over as well. 
  • It was also claimed that Avery used *67 to hide his identity so that Halbach wouldn’t know that he was the one who was calling. It could have been anyone at the Salvage yard, no one except Avery asked for albis.
  • We know that Avery Salvage is HUGE.  During the trial and documentary, we are shown overhead images of how big the entire property entails. It is about 40 acres in fact. Question is:  How does a volunteer find Halbach’s car in only 30 minutes of searching. It should have taken days or at the very least hours.
  • In the documentary, a recording was played revealing Sheriff Colburn calling in plates matching Halbach’s car. It sounded as if he had found her car even though it didn’t get reported as being found until 2 days later by the volunteer at Avery salvage yard.
  • One of the big pieces of evidence in the prosecution was the blood found in Halbach’s car. However, none of Avery’s fingerprints were found in her car. Why?
  • Then the other big piece of evidence was the key to Halbach’s car which was found in Avery’s bedroom. Several big questions with this one. Why did it take 8 searches to find the key? Why was it conveniently sheriff Lenk that found the key, especially considering he was being sued for 36 million? 
  • Also regarding the key. Avery’s DNA was found on the key but none of Halbach’s DNA’s was found on they key despite it being her car key for YEARS.
  • According to the prosecution, Halbach was shot in the garage and throat slit in the trailer. However, no blood was found in the garage or trailer. Prosecution argued that he cleaned up everything. However deer blood was found in the garage but no blood from Halbach. If he cleaned everything how was months old blood from a deer found? If her throat was slit, there would be DNA and blood everywhere, but it wasn’t even found in the cracks.
  • Avery appears to be the only suspect investigated deeply. Why? Halbach’s roommate didn’t report her missing for 4 days after she went missing. Neither her roommate nor ex- boyfriend had to provide alibis?
  • It came up during the investigation that Halbach’s ex-boyfriend, an individual who was close to both her and her roommate, had deleted voicemails off her phone soon after her disappearance. Why did he delete these messages and how did he “guess” her password. Both to her phone and computer. Why did investigators not think this was weird?
  • The documentary, it was discovered that blood evidence was tampered with. Who tampered with it and why? 
  • Much like the key evidence, it took multiple searches for the cops and investigators to find the single bullet in the garage that they claimed was used to shoot Halbach. Why did it take multiple searches and 5 months to find one bullet that was supposedly in plain sight in garage?
  • Investigators interviews Brendan Dassey for 4 hours without his family or lawyer present. Why didn’t they call his mother, a lawyer, or anyone to tell them they were interrogating him? Why did this happen multiple times.
  • When the jurors were polled after the trial, it was found that going in, a majority was voting innocent. By the end they all flipped to guilty. Now, 2 jurors came forward saying they thought Avery was innocent but voted guilty for fear for their lives? Why was a volunteer for the sheriff dept. Allowed to be on the jury when said sheriff dept was being sued for 36 million dollars?
  • The sheriff actually went on live tv saying it would easier to kill Steven than to plant evidence.

But what should bother everyone is the fact that presumption of innocense was lost. To quote the prosecution “Reasonable doubt is for the innocent.”

Steven Avery’s Ex Fiance Speaks Out – Claims Avery is Guilty

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The Netflix documentary series, “Making a Murder” has caused an uproar all over the internet and the United States but despite the fact the it depicts events from a decade ago, the major players are starting to speak out. The doc follows Steven Avery, a man convicted of a murder he may not have committed.

Jodi Stanchowski, who you may remember from the doc for her undying love for Steven Avery and her bitchin’ Ski Doo jacket, has now made several startling claims about whether her ex-fiance is guilty or innocent.

In the doc, Jodi is often seen sweet talking with Avery on the phone, visiting him, attending his court dates, and being all around completely supportive. All this changes, however, when she is given a do not contact order and then (after violating it several times) she is pretty much forced into keeping her life together or supporting Avery and the two break up for good.

Now, Jodi has spoken out since the doc has become talk of the entire US. She is accusing Avery of being both physicially abusive as well as threatening murder, and using intimidation to coerce her to appearing as supporting and loving as she did on screen. She also mentions that Avery felt he could get away with anything and that he was “owed” something more since his 18 years behind bars for the rape he didn’t commit.

Jodi insists that their two year relationship was everything but loving and butterflies. During their time together, she claims domestic abuse was a very common occurrence and that at least once Avery threatened to murder her and her entire family.

Unfortunately for both Avery and Jodi, she was in was in jail for DUI on the day of Teresa Halbach’s death. However, as the records show the two talked on the phone that day. In the doc she says that when he called he didn’t sound suspicious or rushed but now she is claiming that her words were a lie and that after being with him for so long she could hear in voice something was off.

Jodi also adds that he called her from jail the day she was scheduled to be interviewed for Making a Murderer, threatening physical harm if she failed to “make him look good.” When the creators of the doc reached out to her last year, she supposedly told them everything she said in her first interview was a lie, and asked to be removed from the narrative completely. She declined to be interviewed a second time, but her original interview, of course, remained in the series.

Whether Jodi is telling the truth now or before during the making of the doc, its interesting at least.