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Netflix's smash hit true crime docu-series Making a Murderer is as troubling as it is compelling due to the exposé of Wisconsinite Steven Avery’s legal cases that first had him wrongfully imprisoned for nearly 20 years, and then had him back in jail for life for murdering photographer Teresa Halbach. Avery has maintained his innocence in the latter case all along, and now, he alleges that he knows the true identity of Halbach's murderer: his brother, Charles Avery.
According to documents obtained by TMZ, Steven Avery claims that his brother Charles has a history of aggression toward women who visited the junkyard owned by the Avery family. The documents state that Charles would pursue women to their homes and seek intimate contact to the extent that they would fear for their safety. One woman allegedly complained to law enforcement that Charles sent inappropriate gifts, called her over and over again, and showed up at her doorstep.
Interestingly, the timing of the events asserted in Steven Avery’s documents would place them within a month of the date that Teresa Halbach went missing after her visit to the junkyard. Steven furthermore asserts that Charles’ criminal conduct with regard to his wife in the past has set precedent for violence against women.
Of course, even if Charles is guilty of crimes against Teresa Halbach, there is the question of how so much evidence was accumulated against Steven. According to Steven, Charles had the motive to frame him so as to remove him as a contender for taking over the family business. Jealousy that he was also on the verge of a multi-million dollar reparation settlement for his wrongful imprisonment is also cited as a factor for Charles having motive to frame his brother.
Steven Avery alleging his brother’s guilt for the murder of Teresa Halbach is just one more wrinkle to the case. Steven’s nephew Brendan Dassey came forward prior to Steven’s conviction and claimed that Steven had forced him into assaulting and helping to kill Halbach. The veracity of Dassey’s claims, which he later retracted, has been called into question thanks to the questionable tactics police used in interrogations and his own frequent re-telling of his tale, as well as the motives of Dassey's own appointed defense team. If Charles is indeed guilty as Steven alleges, the case against Brendan Dassey would be seriously affected as well.
There’s no way to say for sure at this point if Steven Avery is correct in his allegations against his brother. Making a Murderer did an effective job of creating reasonable doubt in Steven’s guilt for Teresa Halbach’s murder, but the docu-series undoubtedly did not lay out the whole story. As of now, the allegations against Charles Avery are no more than allegations. Only time will tell if Steven’s accusations amount to enough to change his fate in prison.
If you haven't caught Making a Murderer just yet, all ten episodes are available for streaming on Netflix and are all definitely worth the watch. Check out our list of the Netflix premieres scheduled for 2016 for even more great shows to fill up your queue.