If you watched the Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer, you probably agree that the confession a teenage Brendan Dassey gave was coerced by police officers who took advantage of a mentally challenged boy who did not have a parent or lawyer present to help him. On Thursday a three-judge federal appeals panel ruled that the confession was improperly obtained, and the state of Wisconsin must either retry Dassey or release him from prison.
Dassey, who was 16 at the time he gave his confession, was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for the Halloween 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. Dassey told detectives that he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill Halbach on the Avery family property in Manitowoc County, Wis. As ABC News notes, Avery was sentenced to life in a separate trial.
In August a federal magistrate ruled that investigators in the case had coerced Dassey, who suffered from cognitive problems, into giving his confession. The magistrate overturned the now 27-year-old Dassey’s conviction and ordered him released from prison. The state Justice Department appealed the ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and that move kept Dassey behind bars awaiting the outcome.
The 7th Circuit upheld the magistrate’s ruling. The state of Wisconsin can now either appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, ask for a review by the full 7th Circuit Court or retry Dassey within 90 days, according to ABC.
Read more at ABC News.