The bombshell news of the purported confession comes as Steven Avery, 57, and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, 29, are serving life sentences after being convicted of murdering the 25-year-old photographer in Wisconsin in 2005. Both maintain they are innocent.
The director of the upcoming documentary series Convicting a Murderer said his crew received the alleged confession during filming – but says they will keep the convicted murderer’s identity under wraps until law enforcement “has access to said confession,” Newsweek reports exclusively.
Exclusive: A Wisconsin inmate allegedly confessed to "Making a Murderer" killing of Teresa Halbach, and it's not Steven Avery https://t.co/hSiMU1Cqk9— Newsweek (@Newsweek) September 23, 2019
“We haven’t confirmed the legitimacy of the confession but seeing as it was given by a notable convicted murderer from Wisconsin, we feel responsible to deliver any and all possible evidence to law enforcement and legal teams,” director Shawn Rech told Newsweek in the exclusive interview.
Avery and Dassey aren’t the ones who allegedly confessed, Rech said.
“Having been in production for 20 months, we’ve uncovered an unfathomable amount of information and evidence that is leading us to the truth,” Rech said. “Our investigation does not end here.”
Not so fast, says Avery’s high-profile attorney, Kathleen Zellner, who is famous for freeing the wrongly convicted and is currently trying to exonerate Avery.
“We received the handwritten confession on Saturday,” Zellner posted on Twitter Monday. “It is worthless unless it is corroborated.”
Zellner joined Avery’s team after part 1 of Making a Murderer premiered and became a key character in part 2.
“I have one goal,” she says in part 2, “and that’s to overturn the conviction of Steven Avery.”
On Sept. 9, Zellner and her team posted a $100,000 reward for information leading to the “arrest and conviction of the real killer of Teresa Halbach,” it says.
Premiering in 2020, Convicting A Murderer is a 10-part series highlighting elements of the case that weren’t covered by the original series, Making a Murderer, which became a worldwide sensation when the first 10 episodes were released in December 2015, Rech told Newsweek previously.
“I watched Making a Murderer, like tens of millions of others,” Rech said. “After watching the series I was angry with law enforcement, and even embarrassed as an American because of what appeared to have happened to Steven and Brendan. But after doing a little bit of follow-up research I learned that not only did I not have the whole story, but I was misled by the series. And I’m saying this as a fan, not as an established documentary filmmaker.”
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Viewers were drawn in by the mystery surrounding Halbach’s death – especially since she was last seen alive on Avery’s property in Wisconsin, which incited feverish debate over his guilt or innocence.
Fans of the series — which was dismissed by prosecutors and Halbach’s family as exploitative and one-sided — zeroed in on longstanding accusations of planted evidence, a coerced confession and a coverup.
There was also the fact that Avery had been wrongfully convicted of a sexual assault and attempted murder in 1985.
After he was exonerated, he was released from prison in 2003, after serving 18 years of a 20-year sentence. He filed a $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County.
He settled for a much smaller amount, but it left many wondering if he was being framed for Halbach’s murder as some sort of payback from the county.
Zellner and law enforcement in Wisconsin did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.