‘Making a Murderer’: Brendan Dassey confession was coerced, judges rule

The confession of a Wisconsin inmate featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” was improperly obtained and he should be re-tried or released from prison, a three-judge federal appeals panel ruled Thursday.

Brendan Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 in photographer Teresa Halbach’s death on Halloween two years earlier. Dassey told detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill Halbach in the Avery family’s Manitowoc County salvage yard. Avery was sentenced to life in a separate trial.

A federal magistrate judge ruled in August that investigators coerced Dassey, who was 16 years old at the time and suffered from cognitive problems, into confessing and overturned his conviction. The state Justice Department appealed the ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a move that kept Dassey, now 27, behind bars pending the outcome.

A three-judge panel from the Chicago-based 7th Circuit upheld the magistrate’s decision to overturn his conviction. Wisconsin can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, ask for a review by the full 7th Circuit or re-try Dassey within 90 days.

Johnny Koremenos, a spokesman for Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, said the office expects to seek review by the full 7th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court, and hopes “that today’s erroneous decision will be reversed.”

“We continue to send our condolences to the Halbach family as they have to suffer through another attempt by…

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