Making A Murderer’s Brendan Dassey should be released from prison after serving 10 years for the murder of Teresa Halbach, a federal judge said on Monday.
Dassey had no lawyer or parent present when, at the age of 16, he confessed to the murder and sexual assault of the photographer in 2005.
US Magistrate Judge William Duffin has ordered 27-year-old Dassey be released as prosecutors appeal the judge’s earlier ruling overturning his conviction.
It is not clear how quickly Dassey will be released. He has until midday on Tuesday to provide information on where he will live.
Federal probation officers must also inspect the site beforehand, the Associated Press reported.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said he will file an emergency motion to keep Dassey behind bars.
In August Duffin ruled that Dassey was tricked into confessing he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, to rape, kill and mutilate Halbach.
The ruling was appealed by the state, who argued that Dassey should remain in prison while the case was pending.
Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after being convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault and mutilating a corpse.
According to court records, Dassey has an IQ of somewhere between 69 and 73 — an IQ of 70 is often considered the threshold for intellectual disability.
Tapes of the interviews aired in the 10-part Netflix documentary showed police posing detailed questions to Dassey, who replies with short, often one-word answers.
Kathleen Zellner, a lawyer with a formidable reputation of overturning wrongful convictions has taken up Avery’s case.
She said the recent developments were “great news”.
In his August ruling, Duffin said investigators made specific promises of leniency to Dassey and that no “fair-minded jurists could disagree.”
In his appeal, Schimel said investigators did not promise leniency and they specifically told Dassey that no promises could be made.
Dassey’s appeal is expected to be heard sometime next year.
In the meantime, Duffin ordered Dassey be set free, citing his “exceedingly benign” prison disciplinary record and the fact that he had no convictions before the Halbach case.
State prosecutors argued that Dassey should remain in prison because he is a serious threat to public safety.
The judge ordered Dassey be released as soon as probation officers approve where he was going to live and “completed whatever additional investigation it deems necessary”.
Dassey’s lawyers said they hope he will be free by Thanksgiving, which is on November 24.
Halbach was killed after she visited the Avery family’s salvage yard in Manitowoc County.
Investigators allege Avery lured her there by asking her to take photos of a minivan.
Avery was convicted in a separate trial and was also sentenced to life in prison. He’s pursuing his own appeal.
The Netflix original ‘Making a Murderer‘ became a phenomenon in a matter of weeks and shone an intensely bright spotlight on the state of the US legal system.
The 10-part documentary detailing Avery’s release from jail after being wrongly convicted of a violent sexual assault, only to then be dubiously convicted of a murder, gripped audiences around the world.