One final thought on the Netflix documentary series, Making a Murderer. Who is the victim? Who is she, really?
There has been extensive media reporting about the victimization of Steven Avery, who was wrongfully convicted of rape, exonerated, and while waiting for a $3.2 million settlement was accused and convicted of the murder of Teresa Halbach.
Another point is the victimization of Brendan Dassey, at the time of the murder a 16-year-old with an IQ of 70, borderline for being classified as intellectually disabled. In a previous post, we talked about the confession of Dassey and it’s implications in the conviction of himself and Avery. (Brendan Dassey: The Power of Confession in Making a Murderer)
Both Avery and Dassey received life sentences for the murder of Teresa Halbach, but on August 12, 2016, Brendon Dassey’s conviction was overturned by U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin. He will either be granted a new trial or set free.
Why are victims forgotten?
The forgotten victim in media reports and Making a Murderer is Teresa Halbach, who is barely remembered beyond the gruesome details of her murder. She is the pivotal character in the story, but only recognized as a byline.
Teresa Halbach should be remembered for more than being the young lady who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up brutally tortured and murdered, her body scattered about and burned on the property of Steven Avery.
Crime victims don’t make the headlines or the media story unless they are famous or a celebrity. It’s unfortunate that we remember the most heinous of criminals, but can’t name their victims. Shame on our mainstream media that they have not honored the victims, but have entered another criminal’s name into the annals of pop culture.
So, who was Teresa Halbach?
Teresa was a daughter, sister and a productive member of the community. One journalist who covered the original story, Diana Alvear, describes Teresa:
She grew up in a small farming community in Calumet County, Wisconsin. One of five siblings in a close-knit family, she was a 25-year-old aspiring photographer. She loved karaoke. She coached her younger sister’s volleyball team. By all accounts, she was one of the nicest, most caring persons most had ever met.
It’s also reported that Teresa Halbach had an extraordinary outlook on life, she cared about people and was always ready to help others. She had an outgoing personality, she valued her family and dreamed of one day becoming a mother.
Growing up in a close-knit community, and even closer family, it can only be imagined how difficult it was to learn her fate. And now, having to re-live all of the details must be excruciating, especially in light of the fact that the 4 part documentary barely scratched the surface of exactly who was the real victim of Making a Murderer.
As Avery and Dassey continue to appeal to mainstream media reporters, Teresa Halbach is barely given a mention much less a name, a face, and honor as a murder victim.
One of the disturbing things that happens when working with wrongful convictions is the fact that during the time a person is incarcerated the true criminal has been free. The victims’ families, thinking they have the right person behind bars, now have to go back and start their search for justice all over again.
The biggest flaw in our criminal justice system is the re-victimization of the victims.
Management Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.
Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements. Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email firstname.lastname@example.org