By Azadeh Ansari, CNN
A Wisconsin federal judge has ordered that Brendan Dassey, one of the subjects of the hit Netflix docuseries “Making a Murderer,” be released from prison on his own recognizance pending the appeal of his 2007 murder conviction.
Dassey, 27, will be freed under the supervision of the US Probation Office, U.S. District Judge William E. Duffin ruled in court documents made public Monday.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement Monday that he intends to file “an emergency motion” seeking a stay of Dassey’s release.
In 2005, Dassey, then 16, confessed to authorities that he assisted his uncle, Steven Avery, in raping and killing photographer Teresa Halbach, whose charred remains were found in November 2005 on Avery family property in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
The case was chronicled in the controversial 10-part Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” which suggested that investigators took advantage of Dassey’s youth and limited intellect to coax him into confessing to a crime he didn’t commit. Court documents stated that Dassey IQ’s was “assessed as being in the low average to borderline range.”
Dassey, who has been incarcerated at a state prison in Wisconsin, later recanted.
Duffin overturned Dassey’s conviction in August, citing the manner in which the confession was attained. He called it “so clearly involuntary in a constitutional sense that the court of appeals’ decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.”
“The court’s decision rests on a fundamental principle that is too often forgotten by courts and law enforcement officers: Interrogation tactics which may not be coercive when used on adults are coercive when used on juveniles, particularly young people like Brendan with disabilities,” said Dassey’s attorneys, Steven A. Drizin and Laura Nirider, in August.
Prosecutors maintained Avery and his nephew Dassey were involved in Halbach’s killing and the burning of her body.
Avery, 54, is serving a life sentence at a Wisconsin prison.
He has maintained his innocence throughout his trial. He said he was framed and is seeking a new trial.
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