updated 3/15/2007 10:58:30 PM ET 2007-03-16T02:58:30

The attorney for a man who spent 18 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit asked jurors Thursday to help set things right by acquitting him of murder in another case, but the prosecution said not to let sympathy factor into their decision.

"You will set a lot of things right if you get it right here," defense attorney Dean Strang said. "The 1985 case won't matter so much anymore if justice is done this time."

In rebuttal, special prosecutor Ken Kratz said it was "absolutely improper" for the defense to ask jurors to take the old case into account. He argued that DNA evidence clearly shows Steven Avery is responsible for the case before jurors, the killing of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.

Avery, 44, is accused of luring Halbach to his family's auto salvage yard, shooting her in the head and burning her body and belongings in the back yard on Halloween 2005.

Jurors began deliberations Thursday afternoon on charges of first-degree intentional homicide, mutilating a corpse and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The killing came two years after Avery was released from prison on the rape charge, which DNA analysis later showed he did not commit.

A not-guilty verdict now won't change that, Strang told jurors Thursday. "But it just won't matter so much anymore -- the injustice done to Steven then -- because there is something redemptive to human beings going back and trying again to get it right eventually," he said.

Avery settled a wrongful-conviction lawsuit against Manitowoc County last year and his defense attorneys say two deputies angry and embarrassed over it planted evidence on the Avery property.

Kratz for the first time explained prosecution's theory of what happened to Halbach that day. Avery backed Halbach's vehicle into his empty garage, closed the garage door and at some point shot her at least twice and put her in the back of her vehicle, Kratz said.

Kratz said the jury would have to believe there is someone else out there who committed the slaying if they acquit Avery.

But Strang said the deputies were biased and planted the key found in Avery's bedroom with his DNA on it, blood in Halbach's vehicle and bones in his backyard.

"They are not framing an innocent man," he said. "They're doing it to ensure the conviction of a man who they find guilty."

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