Federal appeals court blocks ‘Making a Murderer’ subject’s release from prison

The Making A Murderer men cannot catch a goddamn break. On Thursday, an appeals court blocked Brendan Dassey’s release from prison even though his sentence was overturned and a judge ruled that Dassey be released from prison on Wednesday. It was supposed to be semi-good news this week (for fans who believe the docuseries subject is innocent, at least).

Although Dassey’s case was overturned in August, prosecutors are appealing the decision. He was supposed to be released by Friday while the appeal was ongoing and remain under supervision with the potential to go back to prison if the appeal was successful. However, the Wisconsin Justice Department asked the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block the release with an emergency motion. So, Dassey will remain behind bars until the appeal is resolved.

Dassey has been in jail since he was convicted for the murder of Teresa Halbach in 2007. He was charged with  first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse, and first-degree sexual assault. Dassey was accused of committing the crimes along with his uncle, Steven Avery, the main subject of Making A Murderer, which threw the case into the spotlight and raised lots of questions about Wisconsin’s prosecution and the methods of the Manitowoc police.

Avery was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault in 1985, before being released in 2003. He maintains his innocence in the Halbach case as well, but is in prison with a life sentence. Dassey’s case is a little more complicated since his conviction is based on a confession he gave when he was 16 years old, without his mother present. Dassey has since recanted the confession and has also been found to have “severely below-average intelligence, poor social skills and limited reasoning ability.” You only have to watch the numerous times in the docuseries when Dassey seems to not understand what’s going on around him or the severity of his situation to question his guilt. His IQ is reportedly anywhere from 69-73.

Avery also only has an IQ of 70, which is considered an “intellectual disability.” It’s not even about whether you think the justice system failed Dassey and Avery in the mishandling of evidence or held biases against them; there’s a real question about the handling of two men who are reportedly intellectually disabled.

Regardless, Wisconsin prosectors want Dassey to stay in prison. There was word that Making A Murderer Season 2, which is slated for later this year, would cover Dassey during his release, but now it seems more likely that we’ll get a deeper view of what the heck is going on with his appeal and overturned conviction.