Steven Avery’s defense attorneys Dean Strang and Jerry Buting appeared on today’s episode of CBS This Morning to discuss their client, Making a Murderer, and the seemingly damning evidence that directors Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi didn’t include in the show. When Gayle King asked if Strang and Buting were convinced of Avery’s innocence, Strang replied, “I’m not convinced of his guilt,” implying what many viewers have taken away from the show: The prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, there’s a difference between not receiving a fair trial/conviction and not having murdered the person you’ve been accused of murdering. Anthony Mason followed up with, “So you’re saying there’s some doubt in your mind?” To that, Strang replied, “Sure. Absolutely. And if it was OK to convict people on maybes, I wouldn’t be worried about this. But it’s not.”
The CBS This Morning team also grilled Strang and Buting about what was left out of the series. Regarding evidence of Avery’s DNA under the hood of Teresa Halbach’s car, Strang dodged the question:
The movie gives a very lavish three-hours plus to one trial. The trial went over 200 hours. And I guess if the prosecutor and police are really secure in the convictions they obtained, I’ve wondered why they sound so insecure about a movie that couldn’t necessarily run 200 hours.
The answer here is clearly that Avery’s situation wasn’t quite as cut-and-dry as Demos and Ricciardi’s editing suggests (and also, hello, Murderer is a robust 10 hours, which is a weird thing not to realize if you’ve watched the show, much less lived through it). I have little respect for the way the prosecution and police handled Avery, but this is a completely valid point that needed to be made lest the people who gets their news from Netflix be misled.
Buting later added:
The prosecutor has said that sweat DNA—quote-unquote sweat DNA—was found on the hood, and there’s no such thing as sweat DNA or perspiration DNA. It’s just DNA. Where it comes from, they can’t tell.
Regarding Avery’s three calls to Halbach’s cell phone on the day of her murder, which also went unmentioned in the series, Buting said:
The state is now trying to make that a lot of these pieces that weren’t in the movie more sinister than they really were. It’s nonsense to say that large parts of the state’s case were left out. With regard to this, for instance, also left out was the fact that he called and made an appointment to the office. If he had her cell phone number and was trying to lure her, why would you call the office and create a paper trail? You would just call her directly and no one would ever know that she had come there. Instead, he goes through the office.