MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – “Do you think he did it?”
A common question around the water cooler these days, with the Netflix hit docu-series “Making a Murderer” suddenly a hot topic.
The 10-epsiode documentary series follows the life and trials of Steven Avery, a Manitowoc County, Wis. man.
In 1985, Avery was charged with a rape, to which he plead not guilty. Avery served 18 years in prison and was eventually exonerated as DNA evidence pointed to another suspect.
In 2005, Avery then filed a federal lawsuit against Manitowoc County, the former sheriff and the former district attorney. However, during the lawsuit he was arrested in connection with the disappearance of a missing 25-year-old woman.
Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, who was 16 at the time, were eventually charged with her murder and have been in jail ever since.
Avery maintains his innocence, saying he believes he was framed. Brendan also said his confession, which was used to put him and Avery behind bars, was made-up and he is also innocent.
Dean Strang was one of two attorneys who defended Avery during his murder trial, and is a prominent part of “Making a Murderer.”
On Monday, WCCO Radio’s Chad Hartman spoke with Strang about the case and its aftermath.
[WARNING: Interview contains some spoilers if you haven’t watched the entire series.]
Hartman began by asking Strang how he felt about the docuseries. Strang said he was pleased with it.
“[I’m] delighted for the attention that Netflix and the film have brought to criminal justice issues generally,” he said. “That’s the great success and value of this film.”
Strang said that while the film does highlight the story of Avery, the bigger takeaway is about the country as a whole.
“It really is raising many broader issues about criminal justice that occur and can be found every day in almost every county in the country,” he said.
Hartman brought up the case of fairness, as many people have criticized the filmmakers for being too one-sided.
Strang said he felt that they did provide a fair depiction of the case. He said they had to condense a six-week trial into 10 hours, and in doing so made the correct choices about the conversations and evidence they highlighted.
“The tradeoffs they made were right both in giving viewers the strongest evidence the prosecution had and strongest points the defense made,” he said.
Of course, Hartman also asked if Strang thought that Avery was guilty, or at least whether he had any doubts about Avery’s alleged guilt.
“I’ve got all kinds of doubts about this case. I don’t have any certainty and I’d be arrogant to say I had any certainty about absolute innocence,” Strang said. “But I have deep and abiding doubts about guilt.”
Additional reporting by Katie Fraser.