Thanks to Netflix’s true-crime series Making A Murderer, the 2007 conviction of Wisconsin resident Steven Avery on rape and murder is one of the most hotly debated criminal cases in America today, with many feeling that Avery was framed and/or railroaded by the justice system. Some observers have noted that the case of Avery’s then-teenage nephew and supposed accomplice, Brendan Dassey, is even more upsetting. In 2007, Dassey was convicted of intentional homicide, sexual assault, and mutilation of a corpse for his supposed role in the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach. At the heart of the controversy is a videotaped confession Dassey made to Wisconsin police in March 2006. Dassey was a minor at the time, and his IQ was within the range of intellectual disability. Advocates for this young man say that his supposed confession was coerced and should never have been allowed into evidence.
As it happens, a YouTuber called doe jhon has posted all four punishing, queasy hours of the contested confession online in three mammoth chunks. Making A Murderer fans who want to do some extracurricular investigation over the weekend are invited to watch the tapes themselves and arrive at their own conclusions. Those who feel that Brendan Dassey was coerced will find ample evidence for their theory here. The young man is an extremely reticent speaker, slumping over on a couch and not making eye contact with the investigators who are in the room with him. His answers tend to be tentative, mumbled, and brief. Meanwhile, the investigators seem to be playing the classic “good cop, bad cop” roles here, constantly telling Brendan that they will support him if he will only be “honest” with them. But they also repeatedly mention that they “already know everything that happened,” so it seems to be a matter of getting Brendan Dassey to say exactly what they want to hear, word by painstaking word.
Send your Great Job, Internet tips to GJI@avclub.com