Making A Murderer: Part 7

We’re FINALLY up to the “framing defense” this week. Which, unfortunately for Steven Avery, just never gets off the ground.

hallbach keys

By Pat Merriman

Dunn Co. State’s Attorney

Netflix makes much ado about the fact that Manitowoc County deputies were supposed to have a very limited role in the search at the Avery junkyard. Unfortunately, this is NOT exactly true for one simple reason—this is a small rural county. Recall that their actual role, after handing the ball off to WI BCI and Calumet County was to provide “logistics and support” NOT completely stay out of the crime scene. Again, take a look at the huge expanse of the Avery compound— some 40 acres. Civilian volunteers had to be recruited to help search it. It takes a lot of boots on the ground to search every square inch of that place with all its rat holes. And, the reality was NOT that Manitowoc County was barred from the premises but, rather, according to Calumet County Sgt. William Tyson, to avoid any later complaints from Avery (to protect the integrity of the investigation), they were not to search “unsupervised”. But, because of the “logistics” of searching a huge junk yard, they were “teamed” with BCI/ Calumet cops not, barred. The term “barred” are Steven Avery’s words no one else’s.

So, first up for Team Avery is Halbach’s car keys which they claim were “found” by Lt. James Lenk. The obvious import is that Lenk planted those keys because “why would Avery have kept them in his bedroom behind a book case.” What is he stupid? OK…I can only refer you back to the TV series Dexter again and, my experience with serial killers. IF Avery falls into this category, and I have NO hard evidence to suggest that he does, killing is part of that killer’s ritual…his sexual fantasy if you will. And, between killings, what keeps this “dark passenger” under control is reliving the event until the pressure to kill again becomes too much to control. How? By keeping a “trophy” from the event close-at-hand. And, if someone grew up in an automobile graveyard and had a fetish for “dead” automobiles, a set of car keys in your room is one heck of a trophy. This theory is just as reasonable as the “dirty cops framed me” claim. And, I’m sorry, but, Steven Avery does not look like a person you would leave alone with your sister.

Calumet County Sgt. Tyson, who was with Lenk when the keys “fell out” during the third pass through this bedroom, says it best, “It would have been improbable” for those keys to be planted. Guys, anything is “possible” but, that’s not the standard in a criminal trial. And, remember, this particular room contained a lot of evidence that would take more than one pass to process.

Handcuffs, leg irons, the murder weapon, ad nauseum. And, the timing of the recovery or the fact that Lenk had been deposed a few days before is…well… irrelevant, frankly. You just ignore evidence because you don’t like the investigator who found it? Because, at the end of the day, that’s what you’re trying to sell. And, having a defense investigator from Edwardsville, Illinois, (with a population of 267,899) come in to a small, rural community and “opine” his theories about the search conducted here was too long or, improperly tainted is, well, absurd.

This entire episode really centers around Avery’s claim that Lt. Lenk or Sgt. Colburn planted the blood which dried in the victim’s SUV. That’s it. And, remember, the defendant has the burden of establishing that NOT the state in rebutting it. So, when the 11th hour FBI lab steps up here, Netflix seems to be implying that something shady was taking place because of the timing of the report as well as its findings. The conspiracy now grows, again, to include the FBI lab. But, remember, Avery has “speedy trial” rights (you can’t keep him languishing in jail forever) and, in a normal state homicide case, the FBI’s crime lab can’t help you because they are backed up for years. That all started with the 1932 Linbergh baby kidnapping in New Jersey. Simply put, the FBI lab at Quantico, Virginia is the Rolls Royce of forensic testing and, nothing else even comes close. Hence, why they have a huge caseload of just federal cases. State cases wait their place in line depending on the type of crime and the federal jurisdiction.

And, here’s the bad news for Steven Avery—Dr. Marc LeBeau, PhD (another Missouri boy), the actual head of the chemistry unit at FBI headquarters testified that Avery’s blood “almost certainly was not planted in Halbach’s car.” Now armchair conspiracy theorists want to violate the prime directive—if you weren’t there and, you really didn’t see it, you’re not entitled to an opinion about this trial. This jury heard the HEAD of the FBI’s lab say that Avery’s “framed me” defense was a lie. And, that’s the end of it as far as that jury will be concerned. Here’s what’s in play right now: (1) the Defense accuses the cops of planting evidence; (2) Avery has speedy trial rights so we are going to trial ASAP; (3) the FBI did not get the lab tests done until after this trial started; (4) under normal circumstances, the state would not be allowed to bring in those lab results because there was “late disclosure” to the defense; but, (5) a defendant waives that claim when he raises the specter of police corruption. The same reason that Mr. LeBeau bumped this test to the top of the list at Quantico.

Avery’s lead attorney, Dean Strang, even threw out the OJ Simpson gauntlet to Judge Willis in arguing not to allow the test results, carte blanche, because they were unreliable. But, Willis correctly ruled that Strang opened the door to this test and, he could cross-examine the FBI chemist if he wanted to. Again, the only foundation for LeBeau’s opinion? “Based on a reasonable degree of scientific certainty I believe that…” And, Judge Willis also correctly pointed out something else—the defense had over 7 months to order their own test of the blood in the 1985 vial vs other bloodstains in the SUV if they believed that the preservative EDTA was present. You know, definitely prove Avery was framed. What’s good for the goose, as they say.

EDTA is a synthetic chemical that is used in almost every blood vial to preserve blood to keep if from clotting and drying up and, it works for decades. The FBI tested samples of Avery’s blood found in three places in Halbach’s SUV and found no EDTA. Now, because of the Avery team’s gambit in just throwing out “planted blood evidence” with no attempt to analyze for EDTA on their own behalf, the battle of the experts begins in this episode and, it does NOT bode well for Avery. Dr. Marc LeBeau, PhD, is an FBI Unit Chief. And, despite the lurid comments on the Internet about his moustache, those credentials are virtually impossible to beat. His resume reads that he has been a forensic chemist & toxicologist for the FBI since 1994, has testified as an expert throughout the United States, has both a Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude) in Chemistry and Criminal Justice and, a Master of Science in Forensic Science. The guy is also the author of “numerous peer-reviewed papers/ articles in scientific journals” and, actually trains other scientists in this stuff. Guys, he is the guru of forensic science as far as any jury is going to believe.

So, after what I consider to be a totally ineffective cross examination by Avery’s attorney, the battle of the experts shifts to the Defense’s paid hireling Janine Arvizu. Who, you might ask, is Ms. Arvizu? Well, she will (for a fee) travel to your jurisdiction, from her company Consolidated Technical Services, Inc., in Albuquerque, NM and testify that she is a chemist (B.S. Biochemistry & ABD Chemistry) who claims to be a “quality consultant”. Which means, for a price, she can poke holes in any cocaine, DNA, urine, blood alcohol, or other forensic case which does not, in her opinion, meet her “independent” standards. Her website lists a lurid list of claims that forensic science has finally come full circle since 1932. Now, it’s just, well, unreliable because of poor quality control, ineffective internal reviews, inadequate documentation of laboratory work, inappropriately trained or unqualified analysts and, a complete lack of independent oversight and monitoring. Most importantly, she is endorsed by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Enough said. Oh, and if Dr. LeBeau’s moustache is fair game, why isn’t Arvizu’s lack of false teeth?

Suffice it to say that the NY Daily News reports that Attorney Strang is still, in 2016, yet to be successful in having any scientist prove that there was any EDTA in those incriminating SUV blood stains and, until that is proven, or, unless vampires surreptitiously sucked out Avery’s blood while he slept and delivered to Manitowoc County investigators, that totally destroys the argument that the latter framed him. See you next week.


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GAMES


7 thoughts on “Making A Murderer: Part 7

  1. You’re a State’s Attorney? What an embarrassment to your profession. The article above is riddled with so many mistakes it’s impossible to take you seriously.

    “Civilian volunteers had to be recruited to help search it.”–Absolutely incorrect. As a matter of fact, MTSO stated emphatically they DID NOT recruit those volunteers and tried to distance law enforcement from them. Once the RAV4 was found, volunteers were not allowed on Avery property.

    “Calumet County Sgt. Tyson, who was with Lenk when the keys “fell out” during the third pass through this bedroom…” WRONG. Lt. Kurcharski was with Lenk and Colburn on that search.

    That’s just in the first few paragraphs.

    If you are going to pretend to be an expert, at least get the basic facts correct before spouting your ridiculous, ill-informed opinions.

  2. Nice hack job. The amount of factual errors in this piece is troubling, but it’s a good addition to the misinformation that Kratz and others involved in the case are currently disseminating to the public. When Zellner gets to the bottom of it, and shows police wrongdoing, it will be funny to go back to all these brutal chop-job articles and see them taken down.

    Can’t even make it past the first sentence and there is something wrong with it. Manitowoc WERE supposed to have a limited role, they were not supposed to be involved in the capacity they were. And they did not need to be. Every major piece of evidence was found not just by MTSO agents, but most of the damning evidence was found specifically by TWO who were currently being deposed in the civil suit.

    The trailer and the garage are two very small areas, that do not need 200 people to search it. The bookcase where the key was found, was searched 3 times prior to finding it. Out on the open, next to it, mind you. It was supposedly “Shaken” by Colborn. But before and after pictures show that the change on the top had not moved.

    There was NO DNA from T.H. (the victim), only Avery’s, on that key. And it was found by two officers who were being deposed in the suit. They did not find it the day before when Tyson was with them (who was directed to watch out for them, aware of the conflict of interest) it was found when they were with Kacharsky, the next day.

    What about the bullet with T.H.’s DNA on it? That must be damning, no? NO. It was found on the day when Lenk showed up, and had no business of being there. Remember how you stated it’s such a big property, so hard for Calemut to properly handle? Well, this was months, months after the original search. Lenk had no business being there. But he showed up, to offer supplies and food. HUH? He entered the garage, the crime scene, 4 times in 30 minutes, for a total of 12 minutes. Keeping in mind he was deposed in the suit, he had a conflict of interest, and he had no reason of being there that day. Offering supplies and food is not a valid reason. Not with the given circumstances. And if he had shown up just for that, why in god’s name did he enter the crime scene? He didn’t need to. But he did, 4 times, a couple minutes each time. Why is that? Maybe because he needed an opportunity to plant it? I think the defence dropped the ball by not slamming him in trail on this. Oh, but he’d tell you, I almost forgot. In trial he said, “If I planted evidence, and was asked under oath if I planted it, I would have to answer yes, that I did.” The defence obviously called BS to that, who would admit to a crime on the stand? Lenk would apparently! He’s so honest he couldn’t even lie about lying. Too bad he was caught in another lie, regarding the times he was on site when the RAV4 was found, heh!

  3. Sounds like a certain attorney needs to catch up with the times. Also you should avoid making arguments using tv shows as a frame of reference counselor. That’s just plain stupid. A man due to sit for a deposition in a $26 million dollar case who was told not to investigate, turns out to be the one who did all the investigating is not relevant? Judge WIllis also inappropriately robbed the defendant of due process by not allowing them to counter the EDTA testing that the prosecution was allowed to perform. Or did you forget that the defendant has the right to respond to all evidence counselor? Not only is EDTA present in a lot of foods and household items, but it would be nearly impossible for EDTA to NOT be detected and it would in fact make it even more suspect if none was found at all. The FBI test conducted was garbage science and done so without known limits. As for your lvoe fest with Marc LeBeau, need I remind you that your PhD pal testified to he contents of samples he admitted not to have tested? How do you testify to the contents of something you haven’t examined???? The guy is a fraud. I don’t even have a law degree and I just lawyered your ass. Go back to the drawing board.

  4. Unimpressed Reader · Edit

    This is utter tripe.

    Pat Merriman wrote:
    “Netflix makes much ado about the fact that Manitowoc County deputies were supposed to have a very limited role in the search at the Avery junkyard. Unfortunately, this is NOT exactly true for one simple reason—this is a small rural county.”

    Funny, that’s not what then-Calumet County Sheriff Jerry Pagel said.

    “The Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department’s role in this investigation was to provide resources for us when they were needed… As we needed items on the property to conduct searches, they provided that piece of equipment and that’s their role and their only role in this investigation.”

    Pat Merriman wrote:
    “…I can only refer you back to the TV series Dexter again and, my experience with serial killers.”

    I’m sure Merriman feels he learned quite a bit from the TV series Dexter, but I hate to break it to him: that was a fictional show. How stupid does he think his readers are that he would openly try to draw lessons from a fictional TV show to make his point? Merriman may find this kind of shallow comaprison and analysis to be compelling, but I certainly don’t.

    Pat Merriman wrote:
    “Calumet County Sgt. Tyson, who was with Lenk when the keys “fell out” during the third pass through this bedroom…”

    It wasn’t Sgt. Tyson who was there when the key (single key, by the way, not plural) was found. It was Lieutenant Dan Kucharski. If Merriman can’t be expected to get these basic and easily verifiable facts right, why should anyone trust any of the other information he’s trying to sell here?

    Pat Merriman wrote:
    “And, having a defense investigator from Edwardsville, Illinois, (with a population of 267,899) come in to a small, rural community and “opine” his theories about the search conducted here was too long or, improperly tainted is, well, absurd.”

    What’s absurd is Merriman trying to convince his readers that there are or should be a different set of rules and protocols for a “small, rural community” or that someone from a larger community is in some way unqualified to opine about what happened there.

    “if you weren’t there and, you really didn’t see it, you’re not entitled to an opinion about this trial”

    This is nonsense. The trial transcripts and all of LeBeau’s reports have been published, and that’s more than enough for anyone to form an opinion as to the EDTA testimony and the trial as a whole. The idea that only people who were there in person are able to have an informed opinion is ridiculous in the extreme, and shows the narrow-minded thinking that underlies Merriman’s point of view.

    Pat Merriman wrote:
    ‘Suffice it to say that the NY Daily News reports that Attorney Strang is still, in 2016, yet to be successful in having any scientist prove that there was any EDTA in those incriminating SUV blood stains…”

    Suffice it to say that Strang has not represented Steven Avery in nearly a decade, and so it’s rather silly to cite his not having proved something “still, in 2016” as if that’s meaningful in any way, shape, or form.

    Steven Avery certainly may be guilty, but the kind of shallow, narrow-minded, and ill-informed “analysis” that people like Pat Merriman offer is not and should not be considered compelling by any objective and reasonable person.

  5. Who wrote this article? Is Pat Merriman actually Dunn Co. State’s Attorney? What a nasty and ridiculous write up from someone I would hope is an educated individual. Should be able to make the points without attacking peoples’ looks or relying on fictional tv shows.

  6. Sgt. Tyson was not with Lt. James Lenk when the key (singular) “fell out”, even though he was assigned to do so. Calumet County Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Kucharski was present. This was clearly presented in the episode that is being referenced.

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