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The first installment of the documentary Making a Murderer came out in 2015, but people can’t stop talking about it even now. And Steven Avery is back in the news again: apparently, his new lawyer Kathleen Zellner helped him win the right to appeal his guilty conviction. It’s all putting him one step closer to getting out of prison in 2019.

But most of us outside of Wisconsin wouldn’t know anything about Steven Avery without the Netflix documentary about his life. The intentions of the documentary makers were clear – they wanted to cast a shadow of doubt on Steven Avery’s guilt. It worked. Most people who finished the documentary were convinced that Avery was wrongfully convicted of murder.

Here are the reasons most people believe that Steven Avery is innocent.

Steven Avery | Netflix

Steven Avery was wrongfully convicted before

If anyone knows a guilty conviction doesn’t necessarily prove guilt of a crime, it’s Steven Avery. The documentary spent plenty of time explaining how Avery was forced to serve 18 years of his life behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit.

A jogger named Patty Beernsten was attacked and sexually assaulted back in 1985. Steven Avery got sent to prison for the crime despite an appalling lack of evidence against him. He was freed after the Wisconsin Innocence Project took on his case and eventually DNA evidence led to discovering the real rapist.

What happened next is another reason why many people believe that Steven Avery didn’t really commit murder.

Steven Avery
Steven Avery | Netflix via YouTube

He was suing the Manitowoc County sheriff’s department

Steven Avery wasn’t willing to accept a formal apology from the people who wrongfully put him in prison for half his life at that point – not that they were offering one anyway. Shortly after his release in 2003, Avery filed a civil lawsuit against the Manitowoc County sheriff’s department. The total price for his pain and suffering? $36 million.

The lawsuit was still ongoing when local photographer Teresa Halbach disappeared in October 2005. Avery was arrested for murder after police found blood that matched Steven Avery’s DNA inside her car, discovered her car in his salvage yard, and found bone fragments in a burn barrel near his house. But did Steven Avery really commit murder?

The whole case was mismanaged from day one

There are plenty of people who still think Steven Avery is guilty of murder. The documentary Making a Murderer left out plenty of incriminating details about the case – possibly to cast more doubt on Avery’s guilt. But one thing that’s not up for debate? His case was not handled properly, whether he’s guilty or not.

Because of the conflict of interest with Steven Avery’s pending lawsuit against Manitowoc County police, they were not supposed to be involved in the murder investigation at all. Yet they kept overstepping their roles, often being left alone with crucial evidence when they shouldn’t have been present at the crime scene in the first place. While it may be a stretch to think police officers planted evidence to make Steven Avery look guilty, it is possible. And that’s enough to cause doubt.

Making a Murderer
Steven Avery’s salvage yard | Netflix via YouTube

Other murder suspects were ignored

Teresa Halbach did not live dangerously, but there were still plenty of plausible suspects for her murder case. Once Steven Avery became a person of interest, however, it seemed police were hellbent on proving his involvement rather than investigating all possible angles.

Other potential suspects include Scott Tadych (Brendan Dassey’s stepfather), Bobby Dassey (Brendan Dassey’s brother), and Ryan Hilligas (Halbach’s ex-boyfriend). All of these people are being looked at again, especially with the potential of the case being reopened.

All of these details combined are enough to convince people that Steven Avery is really innocent. Will we ever know for sure? Probably not. But if Kathleen Zellner has anything to do with it, Steven Avery will have his day in court once again.