Documentaries can touch people in a way transcends time, space, region and religion, and a spectacular example of this was demonstrated with the Netflix series "Making a Murderer". Ever since the series debuted on 18 December, 2015, viewers worldwide have been protesting vehemently against the injustice done to Steven Avery, a man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 18 years, and exonerated, only to sent back to prison for the alleged murder of another woman.
Avery was convicted of murdering Theresa Halbach, a 25-year-old photographer, in the middle of a $36 million lawsuit he had filed against Manitowoc County for his wrongful arrest in 1985. "Making a Murderer" reveals that Avery was scheduled to meet Halbach, to take photos of a minivan at Avery Auto Salvage for the Auto Trader Magazine, on 31 October, 2005.
She went missing the same day, and Avery was targeted for two years, until March 2007, when blood stains gave authorities enough evidence to put Avery behind the bars again. He is now at the Waupun Correctional Institution serving a life sentence.
Meanwhile, his nephew Brendan Dassey, who is said to have a low intellect, has also been imprisoned after he confessed to helping his uncle kill Halbach. "Making a Murderer", however shows that Dassey, who was vulnerable, was forced to make the false statement and words were put into his mouth.
"Making a Murderer" takes a deep look into the glaring inadequacies in the evidence collected by the police against Avery, and apparently lays bare the misconduct of the police, tampering of evidence and witness coercion that went into putting Avery back in jail. It quickly became one of the most-talked-about series on Netflix, and arguably across networks, and is now inspiring even non-fans to argue for Avery.
As of 5 January, a petition on Change.Org seeking the exoneration of Avery has over 243,546 signatures. The petition demands that he get a presidential pardon, and that "the Manitowoc County officials complicit in his two false imprisonments should be held accountable to the highest extent of the US criminal and civil justice systems".
A similar petition is garnering signatures in the White House website, too, and it states that Steven Avery's imprisonment is a "black mark on the justice system". If this petition receives 100,000 signatures on or before 19 January, the White House will be forced to make a public address on the issue.
During his presidency, Barack Obama has pardoned 61 people, including James Bernard Banks (illegal possession of government property) and Timothy James Gallagher (cocaine possession and conspiracy to distribute), but the sad truth is he cannot do it for Avery or Dassey. They are both prisoners of the state, and constitutionally, the president of the United States can only pardon federal criminals.
Meanwhile, The Wrap has published an email former Wisconsin prosecutor Ken Kratz sent them. He writes about key evidence proving that Avery is guilty, which he claims was left out from the docu-series.