'Making a Murderer' Subject Brendan Dassey Gets Conviction Overturned, to Be Released From Prison
By Alex Ungerman
Nearly 10 years after being convicted of intentional homicide, Brendan Dassey is about to walk free.
The 26-year-old man, who was one of two defendants examined in the 2015 Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, had his conviction overturned on Friday by a Federal judge in Wisconsin, ET can confirm.
According to court documents, U.S. magistrate judge William E. Duffin overturned Dassey's conviction in the 2005 murder of Theresa Halbach, ordering him released from prison within 90 days, unless the state decides to retry the case.
In his ruling, Duffin wrote that during Dassey's interrogation, investigators made "false promises," that "when considered in conjunction with ... Dassey's age, intellectual deficit, and the absence of a supportive adult," made Dassey's confession "involuntary."
After the ruling, Making a Murderer filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, told ET in a statement, "Today there was a major development for the subjects in our story and this recent news shows the criminal justice system at work. As we have done for the past 10 years, we will continue to document the story as it unfolds, and follow it wherever it may lead."
The implication that Dassey's confession may have been coerced by police was explored at length in Making a Murderer, which brought a great deal of public interest to both his case, and his uncle's -- Steven Avery.
Avery, 54, remains in prison for the murder of Halbach, after being exonerated in 2003 of a sexual assault conviction for which he had been falsely imprisoned for 18 years.
After Dassey's ruling broke, Avery's attorney told Milwakee's WISN, "He is so happy for Brendan," adding, "When an unbiased court reviews all of the new evidence we have, Steven will have his conviction overturned as well."
Meanwhile, after the docuseries aired, a Change.org petition to free Avery topped over 500,000 signatures, and Netflix announced in July that Making a Murderer would be back with new episodes, which would follow the legal challenges to Avery and Dassey's convictions.