Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Teresa Halbach

'It Was All Planted'

When questioned by the police, Steven Avery said that the blood found in Teresa Halbach's car couldn't be his because he was never in her car.  He said that Teresa had been at Avery Auto Salvage sometime between 2:00 and 2:30 P.M. on October 31, 2005.  According to Avery, she took a photo of the minivan he was putting up for sale, he paid her $40 in cash, she gave him a copy of the Auto Trader Magazine, and then she left.  Avery chose not to have a lawyer present during his questioning.

On November 9, Avery was charged with illegal gun possession and taken into custody as the investigation into Teresa Halbach's death continued.  At the time of his arrest, Special Agent Tom Fassbender noted that Avery had "a very substantial cut" on the middle finger of his right hand. 

Special Agent Tom Fassbender
Special Agent Tom

Two days later Avery appeared by phone on the Nancy Grace television show on CNN and reiterated that he was innocent and claimed to be the victim of government retaliation because of his $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County for wrongful arrest and imprisonment. 

"Mr. Avery," Nancy Grace asked, "do you feel that you're being framed in any way?"

"Yes," Avery replied.


"Because every time I turn around, the county's out here doing something to me...I'm being set-up because of my lawsuit and everything else."

Avery at the Auto Salvage
Avery at the Auto Salvage

Grace went on to ask about the fire pit on his property where investigators found teeth and bone fragments.  Avery said that his property is not normally locked and that anyone could "just drive right in," leaving the impression that perhaps someone else had murdered Teresa Halbach on his property.

In a telephone interview with the Associated Press from Calumet County Jail in Clinton, Wisconsin, Avery said that he believed that Manitowoc County had set him up so that they wouldn't have to pay damages on his lawsuit if he prevailed in court.  He singled out former Manitowoc County Sheriff Tom Kocourek, who had been sheriff when Avery was arrested in 1985, as one of his main persecutors.  Referring to county investigators, Avery said, "They know what they look for so they know what they can plant and where they can plant it."

His older brother Chuck later echoed that sentiment. "If they found anything there, it's a big setup," he told the Associated Press.  "It was all planted."

Their mother, Dolores Avery, believes her son is innocent. "I don't know why the hell they do that stuff," she said, referring to county officers.  "They must like wrecking people's lives."

But Steven Avery's uncle, Arland Avery, a retired Manitowoc County sheriff's deputy, told the Journal Sentinel that DNA evidence would be hard to plant and hoped that his nephew would confess if he was truly guilty.  "At least give both families a little piece of mind," he said.


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