Steven Avery, the subject of the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer, was denied a retrial on Tuesday.
Avery was convicted for the 2005 murder of Auto Trader photographer Theresa Halbach and sentenced to life in prison.
As the documentary series points out, Avery had previously been wrongly convicted of a major crime, and certain aspects of his murder investigation didn't quite add up.
With the renewed interest in the case, Avery received new legal help from lawyer Kathleen Zellner, who filed a motion for a retrial.
The judge's decision to not grant a retrial came as a shock to many close to the case, and there was some curious reasoning behind it.
The judge on the case, Angela Sutkiewicz, ruled that Avery's defense had not presented enough evidence for a retrial.
Zellner filed a 1,272-page motion in June that explained that police had not looked into all possible suspects and that further examination was needed.
"The defendant has failed to establish any grounds that would trigger the right to a new trial in the interests of justice," Sutkiewicz said in her ruling. "No further consideration will be given to this issue."
However, Zellner claims the judge was not informed about a recent deal the defense had made with the Wisconsin Attorney General that would have surely led to a retrial.
Retrial Still Possible
In a release issued after the trial, Zellner claimed that the Attorney General agreed to allow Avery's petition to be amended with new scientific research and new witness affidavits. The agreement was reached on Sept. 18, but the presiding judge was apparently not informed.
"With the addition of these new scientific test results and new evidence, Mr. Avery's attorneys remain confident that his conviction will be vacated," Zellner said.
Zellner then said she plans to file a motion to vacate the judge's ruling on those grounds.
Afterwards, Zellner expanded her reasoning to Rolling Stone. She says there are tests remaining on Halbach's vehicle and several witnesses who claim the prosecution suppressed evidence, in what's known as a "Brady violation."
"I am planning to discuss the situation with the prosecutor from the AG's office on Friday," Zellner said. "They were also quite surprised by this ruling. Our hope is that we can enter into an agreed order to vacate the order with the AG, because we had agreed to test numerous additional items of evidence – including an examination of the RAV4 to determine if additional evidence could be gathered and tested.
"In addition to the forensic tests, we informed the prosecutors in our face to face meeting on September 18, at their offices in Madison, Wisconsin, that we had three significant new witnesses on new Brady violations. Brady violations are the most frequent basis for convictions being vacated."
Avery's case took many strange turns.
Halbach went missing after she had an appointment to photograph one of Avery's vehicles. Her car was later found on Avery's property, a salvage yard, with DNA evidence inside.
Burn fragments of Halbach's bones were also discovered in Avery's burn pit and her car key was discovered in his bedroom.
These finding were alleged to have been planted by police officials, who were said to be embarrassed when a previous sexual assault conviction against Avery was overturned.
One of the prosecution's main pieces of evidence was a confession by Avery's nephew, Brendan Dassey, who was said to be involved with the crime. In 2016, Dassey's conviction was overturned by a federal magistrate who ruled his confession had been coerced.
'Making a Murderer'
It quickly became a nationwide sensation, with petitions being formed to challenge the conviction.
While Avery drummed up a lot of support for his cause, the Halbach family was extremely displeased with the show.
"Everybody has their own side of a story," Halbach's aunt, Kay Giordana, told People. "That is the Avery family's side of the story. I wouldn't expect it to be different. They think he is innocent. I am not surprised. I am surprised that someone would put that together in that way and have it [be] one-sided."
As for the show, a second season is in production following the fallout of the docuseries and Avery's recent appeals. No release date has been revealed.