Image: Teresa Halbach
Family photo
Teresa Halbach was last seen Oct. 31. Her SUV was found at a salvage yard belonging to Steven Avery.
updated 11/11/2005 6:49:50 PM ET 2005-11-11T23:49:50

A man who spent 18 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit will be charged with killing a woman whose vehicle was found near his home, a prosecutor said Friday.

Steven Avery’s blood was found inside Teresa Halbach’s sport utility vehicle, said Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz, who plans to charge Avery with first-degree intentional homicide by Tuesday.

“It is no longer a question, at least in my mind as special prosecutor in the case, who is responsible for ... the death of Teresa Halbach,” Kratz said.

Avery, who was freed from prison two years ago, has denied involvement in the disappearance of Halbach, 25, who was last seen Oct. 31.

Blood also was found in Avery’s trailer home and garage, according to search warrants filed Friday. Eleven spent .22-caliber shell casings also were found in Avery’s garage, and two guns were found in his home, authorities have said.

Avery, 43, remained jailed after being arrested and charged Wednesday with a weapons violation.

DNA tests exonerated him
Avery served 18 years in prison for sexual assault but was freed in 2003 after a law school group persuaded a judge to allow new DNA testing, which ruled him out and linked another man to the crime.

Authorities in neighboring Calumet County are handling the case because Avery has sued Manitowoc County over his wrongful conviction.

Relatives of Halbach, a freelance photographer, found her sport utility vehicle at Avery’s salvage yard on Saturday.

Image: Steven Avery
Steven Avery, who served 18 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, is suspected of murder in the disappearance of Teresa Halbach. He was arrested Wednesday for a weapons violation.

“It appears that an attempt was made to dispose of a body by an incendiary means. However, that attempt was not completely successful,” Sheriff Jerry Pagel said.

Pagel also said investigators found the key to Halbach’s SUV in Avery’s bedroom.

On the day she disappeared, Halbach was on assignment for a magazine, taking pictures of cars for sale. One stop was at the Avery salvage yard near Mishicot, about 25 miles from Green Bay.

Halbach’s relatives and friends spent days searching for her until Thursday, when the sheriff asked them to stop looking, said her brother, Mike Halbach.

“It hurts. Everything hurts,” he said.

Human remains found
Investigators said human remains were also found but would not say where, though Pagel said deputies were focused on a burn barrel on the Avery property during their search.

The remains had not been identified Friday, but Calumet County Sheriff Jerry Pagel said investigators believe they are Halbach’s.

Kratz said officers questioned Avery about Halbach’s disappearance Wednesday, but the prosecutor would not say what Avery told them. Kratz said Avery did not ask to have a lawyer present.

A public defender was not immediately assigned to Avery, whose brother, Chuck, refused to comment about the case Friday.

Steven Avery was sentenced to 32 years in prison for sexual assault but was freed after the law school group persuaded a judge to allow new DNA testing, which linked another man to the crime.

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