Friday, November 11, 2005


In 1985, Steve Avery was accused of raping and nearly killing a woman in Wisconsin. He got 32 years in prison.

In 2003, Avery was freed from prison after DNA tests showed another man committed the rape.

This week, Steven Avery was arrested on a weapons violation -- a placeholder charge to keep him in jail while cops try to determine if Avery killed a freelance photographer.

Teresa Halbach vanished in late October. She was taking photographs of cars when she made a stop at a salvage yard operated by Avery and his family.

Halbach's vehicle was found in the salvage yard, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette. The key to that vehicle was found in Steven Avery's bedroom.

The sheriff's investigators found charred human remains in a burn barrel at the salvage yard.

The Wisconsin State Journal makes note of this irony:
Dismayed by the miscarriage of justice that robbed the Two Rivers man of 18 years of freedom for a crime he didn't commit, lawmakers quickly convened an "Avery Task Force" to examine ways to prevent wrongful convictions and invited him to testify.

Republican lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle endorsed the group's recommendations, which included urging police to record interviews and tighten procedures governing the use of eyewitnesses.

On Nov. 1, a day after freelance photographer Teresa Halbach disappeared, "The Avery bill" unanimously passed both houses of the Legislature.

Now that human remains have turned up at the salvage yard Avery's family owns and Avery has been arrested on a weapons charge, lawmakers have been knocked on their heels.

"This whole tragic incident in no way brings into question how important those criminal justice reforms are for the state," said the bill's lead author, Rep. Mark Gundrum, R- New Berlin.

But Gundrum, who was briefly at a loss for words Thursday, said the bill would no longer be referred to by its original name out of respect for Halbach's family. "It's now just the 'criminal justice reforms bill.'"
The simplistic response would be to blame Avery's 18 years in prison for warping him. But his criminal record contradicts that claim.

No comments: