'Making a Murderer' Investigator Denies Avery's Claim Authorities Planted Evidence in Case | NBC Chicago

'Making a Murderer' Investigator Denies Avery's Claim Authorities Planted Evidence in Case

In his first television interview, co-lead investigator Tom Fassbender responds to claims police coerced then-teen Brendan Dassey into a false confession and planted evidence on his uncle Steven Avery

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A federal appeals court in Chicago could soon decide the fate of "Making a Murderer" subject Brendan Dassey. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.

    (Published Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017)

    An investigator from the “Making a Murderer” case has come forward for the first time since Netflix aired its controversial docu-series that quickly consumed the nation.

    In his first-ever television interview, co-lead investigator Tom Fassbender responds to claims police coerced then-teen Brendan Dassey into a false confession and planted evidence on his uncle Steven Avery.

    "I never absolutely saw that," he told NBC’s “Dateline.” "Never, never saw that from anyone in Manitowoc County."

    Fassbender, who interviewed Dassey at the time of the investigation, was featured in the docu-series but hadn’t spoken on camera about the case – until now.

    “Finally realized that someone needed to bring forward the truth,” he said. “It’s easy to armchair quarterback.”

    The comments are part of a new “Dateline” episode, which airs at 9 p.m. CT Friday.

    The episode features commentary from several key players in the case, which continues to play out in court more than a decade later.

    Among those players is Avery’s current attorney Kathleen Zellner, who when asked if she thought new evidence in the case could set Avery free, said, “We do.”

    On the other side, the man who prosecuted Dassey revealed his theory that Avery “made himself a murderer.”

    “We see Steven’s behavior changing,” he said in the interview.

    The episode also promises to show rarely seen interrogation video in the case.  

    Avery and Dassey were both sentenced to life in prison for the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halback, who was found dead after visiting the Avery family’s salvage yard in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.

    Dassey, who was 16 at the time, told authorities he helped his uncle rape, kill and mutilate Halbach after she visited the Avery family's salvage yard in Manitowoc County.

    Their cases gained national attention after Netflix aired the “Making a Murderer” series in 2015. The series spawned widespread conjecture about the pair's innocence, raising questions about evidence gathering and the potential  Authorities who worked on the cases said the series was biased, but it generated a myriad of calls from the public to free both men.

    A federal judge last year overturned Dassey's conviction, ruling that investigators tricked him into confessing he helped Avery kill Halbach.

    Most recently, Dassey’s case was taken up by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago this week.

    There, attorneys for the state of Wisconsin claimed Dassey chose to confess to police while defense attorneys argued the then-teen with an IQ of only 73 was unable to distinguish the vague promises by interrogators from what might actually happen to him if he confessed.

    A three-judge panel took the matter under advisement. A ruling is expected sometime this spring.

    Netflix plans to release new episodes of the Emmy-nominated docu-series, providing "an in-depth look at the high-stakes post-conviction process, as well as, the emotional toll the process takes on all involved." 

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