Brendan Dassey, 26, – the nephew in “Making a Murderer” – is a step closer to becoming a free man.
He – along with his uncle, Steven Avery – had been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of murder in the 2005 death of Teresa Halbac in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
The case was thrown into the national spotlight late last year by the popular 10-part Netflix documentary series.
Dassey was convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault, and mutilation of a corpse, WISN reports.
Then Friday, a federal judge overturned the sentence.
Court documents say that years ago, during the interrogation process, agents made false promises during their investigation of the teenaged Dassey.
Dassey ultimately ended up confessing, but some argue the teen may have been manipulated by his defense team into doing so.
Considering the suspect’s age,”intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult,” the judge on Friday deemed Dassey’s confession involuntary and unconstitutional.
The Huffington Post notes Dassey has an IQ between 69 and 73. Someone with a score under 70 is often considered to have an intellectual disability.
WISN says that according the the ruling, the state of Wisconsin has 90 days to appeal that order, otherwise Dassey goes free.
He’s currently at Columbia Correctional Institution.
Avery’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, told the station that Avery is happy for his nephew.
“We know when an unbiased court reviews all of the new evidence we have, Steven will have his conviction overturned as well,” Zellner said.
The “Making a Murderer” series raised questions about the Wisconsin men’s guilt in Halbach’s death, and about how law enforcement officials handled the investigation. (For more background on the case, click here.)
Now we’re just waiting for Netflix to release more episodes of “Making a Murderer” so we can binge watch more on this ruling.
The new episodes will “provide an in-depth look at the high-stakes post-conviction process” and the “emotional toll” the process takes on those involved, Netflix says. The series will offer “exclusive access” to Avery’s new lawyer Kathleen Zellner, as well as Dassey’s attorneys, including Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin.