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'Making A Murderer' Attorney To Address Illinois Innocence Project


When Making A Murdererwas released by Netflix in late 2015, it made a ripple among the public at large. Many were swept up in the debate as to whether or not the film's subject, Wisconsin man Steven Avery, was guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach.

Avery had previously spent 18 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit. He had been charged with the rape and assault of a woman (whose own account of the story was part of a Radiolab episode in 2013 - listen here.) With the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project and DNA evidence, he was exonerated.

However, as the documentary film series gets into, that is not where Avery's story and run-in with the law ends. Two years after his release, and with a civil suit against those who convicted him, he was arrested again and charged with Halbach's murder. His nephew Brendan Dassey was also charged and tried for the crime, and many who saw the series were alarmed by the apparent unfair methods used to obtain his confession; he was a juvenile at the time.

One of Avery's defense attorney's, Jerry Buting, wrote a book about the case and the flaws he sees in the criminal justice system, called Illusion of Justice. He'll be speaking in Springfield over the weekend for the annual Illinois Innocence Project's Defenders of the Innocent fundraiser and awards dinner. This year the project will recognize retired Carbondale Police Officer Lt. Paul Echols, who is working to posthumously exonerate Grover Thompson, 22 years after he died in prison.

The Project will also be celebrating the exoneration of Bill Amor, a man convicted of arson-murder in 1997. He was released earlier this year. He's the 11th wrongly convicted person freed by the Illinois Innocence Project.

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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