February 16, 2017
Book Review By Ed Byrne
The Brillion News
Avery murder case: The prosecution defends itself
Avery, by Ken Kratz
There is a lot of concern these days about “fake news” and dishonest, biased reporting of news.
The internet age has allowed anyone to spread information that appears to be accurate, whether it is or not.
Nexflix produced and aired a documentary called “Making a Murderer,” releasing it in December of 2015.
It purports to tell the truth about Steven Avery, the rural Mishicot man who served 18 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a sexual assault and then, after his exoneration and release from prison, was prosecuted and convicted for the sexual assault and murder of Teresa Halbach, of rural St. John in northern Calumet County.
The documentary paints a dark picture of the law enforcement officers who investigated the Halbach murder and of Ken Kratz, the Calumet County District Attorney who successfully prosecuted Avery and got Avery sentenced to prison for life without parole. The film suggests that officers planted evidence that was presented later at trial.
Those suggestions prompted Kratz – now retired from the practice of law – to write a book that he says exposes the truth about Avery.
As the dust jacket says: “This book tells you what Making a Murderer didn’t.”
The book details the evidence against Avery and points out instances where the Netflix documentary leaves out information that points to Avery’s guilt.
It shows, side-by-side, transcripts used in the documentary and the true unedited transcripts. It is obvious that there was significant editing.
As Kratz points out, with regard to an officer’s testimony in court about police finding the key to Halbach’s SUV while searching Avery’s mobile home: Sometimes we saw answers from direct examination spliced in after questions from cross-examination.
The editing, Kratz claims, misleads viewers or twists the fact.
The book does a good job of outlining the strength of the prosecution’s case against Avery. For example, Kratz identifies nine different versions Avery gave about his contact with Teresa Halbach on the day she was murdered.
The book has a significant number of photographs, including many that are evidentiary.
Kratz said he wants to set the record straight and debunk what Making a Murderer says about the case.
Writes Kratz: “I hope seeing what wasn’t shown in Making a Murderer – the facts omitted, the testimony spliced and truncated – encourages viewers to turn a more critical eye on the media they consume.”
The picture Kratz paints of Avery is of a sociopathic, violent and controlling person. Kratz said that Avery, while in prison for the earlier sexual assault he did not commit, made plans to abduct, rape, torture and kill a young woman when he got out of prison.
The book is full of chilling details. It is also tough to put down once you start reading it.
Please see the complete book review in the February 16, 2017 edition of The Brillion News.