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Court halts release of 'Making a Murderer' subject despite overturned conviction


A Wisconsin man who was ordered released after his conviction for helping his uncle kill a freelance photographer was overturned must stay behind bars, a U.S. court ruled on Thursday.

In the case spotlighted in the Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer," Brendan Dassey, who was convicted at 17 of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault and mutilation of a corpse, was set to be released on Friday.

But prosecutors requested he remain in prison, and on Thursday a federal appeals court in Chicago agreed.

In a terse ruling that did not explain their reasons, a panel of three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided that Dassey stay in prison pending appeals in the 2005 case.


The decision halted a ruling by a federal judge that overturned Dassey's conviction last August and ordered his release.

In overturning the conviction, Magistrate Judge William Duffin of the Eastern District of Wisconsin said Dassey, who is learning disabled, was coerced into confessing to crimes in the lurid case.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is appealing the ruling. In an emergency request filed Wednesday, he reiterated the gruesome nature of the crime and said Dassey should not be released until the state's appeals are resolved.

Dassey, now 27, and his uncle, Steven Avery, were convicted in separate trials of killing photographer Teresa Halbach at Avery's home. Her charred remains were found in an incineration barrel and a burn pit on Avery's property, about 80 miles (130 km) north of Milwaukee.

Netflix released a 10-part documentary "Making a Murderer," which questioned the handling of the investigation and the motives of Manitowoc County law enforcement officials.

The documentary recounts how Avery was convicted of an earlier, unrelated rape and sent to prison in 1985, serving 18 years before DNA evidence exonerated him and he was released.