A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a Wisconsin man whose case was chronicled in the true crime docuseries “Making a Murderer” must remain in prison — even after his murder conviction was overturned this summer.
Brendan Dassey’s release from prison was blocked Thursday afternoon by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit while prosecutors appeal the decision to overturn his conviction.
Dassey, 27, was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for the rape and murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. A 16-year-old at the time of that 2005 murder, Dassey was accused of helping his uncle, Steven Avery, in the killing. Avery was tried separately and also sentenced to life in prison. He is appealing his case.
Dassey’s conviction was overturned in August after a judge ruled that prosecutors had coerced the teen into confessing that he had helped his uncle kill Halbach.
U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin wrote at the time that investigators made repeated claims to Dassey that they already knew what occurred the night of the murder and falsely promised him that he had nothing to worry about.
"These repeated false promises, when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey's age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey's confession involuntary," Duffin wrote in the order.
"Dassey's confession was, as a practical matter, the entirety of the case against him on each of the three counts," he wrote.
The state is appealing that ruling.
Dassey had been ordered released on Monday by the same judge who overturned his in August, contingent upon him meeting multiple conditions. On Wednesday, that judge ordered that Dassey be released by 8p.m. on Friday, according to The Associated Press.
The Wisconsin Justice Department then filed an emergency motion with the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to block his release.
A three-judge panel from the appeals court ruled Thursday to keep Dassey behind bars.