Long before Netflix’s blockbuster docu-series Making a Murderer captured the interest of the general public at the end of 2015, Steven Avery was a household name in the Manitowoc County area of Wisconsin. Convicted of a 1985 sexual assault, Avery spent 18 years in prison before being exonerated by DNA evidence.
Avery would remain a free man before being arrested again in November 2005 and charged with kidnapping, murder, sexual assault and mutilation of a corpse in connection to the death of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach, who was scheduled for a shoot at Avery‘s residence on Halloween (Avery’s nephew, Brendan Dassey, would later be charged as an accessory in the Halbach case).
Teresa Halbach’s slaying would become the core plot device of Making a Murderer. The series strongly portrays Steven Avery as the victim of a collaborative frame-up by Manitowoc County law enforcement, a narrative that has left millions of viewers worldwide outraged.
One man who has watched the Making a Murderer/Steven Avery saga from the sidelines for over a decade is Manitowoc County Assistant District Attorney Michael Griesbach. In addition to his duties as a prosecutor, Griesbach sits on the Board of Advisors for the Wisconsin Innocence Project and played an integral role in Steven Avery’s 2003 exoneration on attempted murder and sexual assault charges. Griesbach’s book documenting that case, The Innocent Killer, was published in 2014.
Griesbach’s latest Avery-based title, Indefensible, hit bookstores on August 30. Piece-by-piece and chapter-by-chapter, the book counters the Avery defense team’s contentions of police corruption in the Halbach murder investigation in addition to scrutinizing misrepresentations the author feels were employed during the production of Making a Murderer to slant viewers’ opinions in Avery’s favor. In the end, Griesbach is clear on his belief that Steven Avery is guilty of killing Teresa Halbach.
Michael Griesbach kindly spoke with me on the afternoon of October 1 to discuss the Steven Avery case, his work with the Wisconsin Innocence Project and the release of Indefensible.
(Special thanks to Vida Engstrand and Morgan Elwell at Kensington Publishing)
Please click on the “Play” icon below to hear the interview: