The true-crime documentary Making a Murderer is missing some important pieces of information, Manitowoc County Sheriff Robert Hermann tells The Hollywood Reporter.
The recently released Netflix series tells the story of Steven Avery, who served 18 years in prison for a sexual assault conviction out of that Wisconsin county before he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2003. Then in 2005, Avery was convicted of the murder of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach.
Since its release last month, the series has skyrocketed in popularity. Even celebrities are weighing in on the case and discussing whether Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, also convicted of the same murder, are guilty.
More than 200,000 people have signed petitions calling for the two men to be set free, at the same time blasting law enforcement for allegedly framing them for the crime.
Hermann tells THR the information viewers are getting is skewed and important pieces of the picture were omitted from the documentary.
“People are passing judgment on a documentary, if you can call it that, that shows fours hours of courtroom testimony when the jury and judge heard weeks of courtroom testimony,” Hermann says. “Obviously when you watch it, you can see the defense and family of Steve Avery are embedded with the filmmakers and [the audience is] drawing the wrong conclusion. I feel strongly that justice has been served.”
Hermann elaborated on some of the omitted evidence, such as leg irons and handcuffs being found in both Avery’s and Dassey’s homes.
The prosecution argued the victim, 25-year-old Halbach, was chained to a bed and tortured before she was murdered.
“Apparently, Brendan had helped Avery clean the garage floor with bleach and there was bleach on Brendan’s pants,” Hermann tells THR.
The prosecution argued Halbach was likely murdered in the garage. No victim DNA was found in the garage other than a bullet fragment with Halbach’s DNA.
“The car key, when they talk about that in the [documentary] it makes you believe blood was on the car key for that DNA thing. It was actually sweat, perspiration from Steven Avery,” Hermann says.
Halbach’s car was found on Avery’s property. The key was found by law enforcement inside Avery’s residence.
“In the burning barrel, the cell phone and several other things of Teresa Halbach were found in the barrel, burnt,” Hermann says. “A camera, I believe, and a cell phone. So, they left a lot of things out a lot of critical pieces.”
Avery’s lawyers argued their client was framed by county law enforcement for the Halbach murder. Avery’s lawyers did not accuse law enforcement of killing Halbach, but argued that officers believed so strongly that he carried out the slaying, they planted evidence, including the key, to ensure a conviction.
Hermann says the department has been inundated with calls and emails since the series went live.
“This thing is worldwide, so we’re getting them from all over,” he says.
The sheriff maintains Avery is where he belongs: prison.
“We’re not happy to see what’s happening, and, quite frankly, it makes law enforcement look bad and our agency look bad and the officers involved in this look bad,” Hermann says. “And quite frankly they did their job and they did a good job and they’re good officers.”