*Case Players - Who's Who* *No Discussion Thread*


Retired WS Staff
Aug 28, 2009
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Teresa Halbach - Victim Age 25

Photographer and Graduate of the University of Wisconsin Green Bay.

When she disappeared on Oct. 31, 2005, Halbach was working for Auto Trader Magazine and some of her assignments brought her to the Avery Salvage Yard in rural Manitowoc County. On Nov. 5, her sports utility vehicle was discovered at the salvage yard operated by Steven Avery's family. Authorities later determined that bone fragments and teeth identified as Halbach were found on the Avery property.

Steven Avery - DOB July 9, 1962

Age 18 pleaded guilty to burglary of a bar and was sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Age 20 pleaded guilty to animal cruelty by pouring gasoline on his cat and throwing it into a fire.

In 1985, Avery was charged with assaulting his cousin, the wife of a part-time Manitowoc County sheriff's deputy, and possessing a firearm as a felon.

Spent 18 yrs in prison for sexual assault before he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2003.

March 18, 2007 - Convicted for the first degree murder of Teresa Halbach and currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Brendan Dassey - Age 26

Learning disabled nephew of Steven Avery. Confessed ( later recanted) and convicted for first-degree intentional homicide of Teresa Halbach, second-degree sexual assault and mutilating a corpse.

Currently serving life in prison with no parole for 41 years.

Kayla Avery - Brendan Dassey's first cousin

Was called as a witness in the trial against him.Kayla was interviewed by police on February 20, 2006, which led investigators to re-interview Brendan on February 27.She later gave a statement claiming Brendan told her he saw Teresa Halbach tied up and saw body parts in the fire. At Brendan's trial she testified that these things were made up, and that Brendan had never told her such things, but that she had taken them from press reports.

Jerome Buting and Dean Strang - Steven Avery's defense Attorney's

Argued Avery was innocent of the murder because 2 Police Officers from the Manitowoc County Sheriff's set him up because of the $36 million lawsuit related to the sexual assault.

Len Kachinsky - Brendan Dassey's original appointed Attorney

Originally appointed as Dassey’s public defender.Kachinsky allowed the Sheriff’s Department to interview Dassey without notifying Dassey’s mother or being present during the interrogation. Eventually Kachinsky was dismissed from Dassey’s defense team when a judge ruled that he was not representing Dassey appropriately.

James Lenk - Manitowok County Sheriffs Lieutenant
Andrew Colborn - Manitowok County Sheriffs Sergeant

Questioned whether or not they received evidence in the 1990's that could've cleared Avery's name earlier than 2003 in the sexual assault case.

They also participated in searches of Avery's home during the Halbach investigation, one of which Lenk found the keys to Halbach's car.

Ken Kratz - Calumet County WI.District Attorney

Appointed as special prosecutor in Halbach's murder case to avoid conflict of interest because of Avery's pending lawsuit against Manitowok County. He maintained throughout that the County wasn't trying to frame Avery.

Gerald Pagel - Calumet County Sheriff

His department was been named the lead investigator in the case and would be assisted by the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department, the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Wisconsin Crime Lab and the State Department of Criminal Investigation.

Mike Halbach

Victims brother and family spokesman throughout the Trial.

Penny Beerntsen - Victim

In 1985 Penny Beerntsen was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted in a state park in Wisconsin. Soon afterwards, Steven Avery was convicted of the crime. Eighteen years later, however, advances in DNA testing revealed that he had been innocent all along.

Denis Vogel - Manitowoc County District Attorney

Charges Avery with the rape. He convinces a jury of Avery's guilt. Years later, officials disclose that Vogel knew about Gregory Allen, the real rapist. Criminal complaints surrounding Allen were found inside of the prosecutor's file on Avery.

Gregory Allen - Notorious sexual predator.

He was under suspicion for a number of sex crimes in Manitowoc back in the summer of 1985. Then-sheriff Tom Kocourek and then-prosecutor Vogel overlooked Allen as Beernsten's rapist even though her description of her attacker more closely resembled Allen than Avery, who was only 5-foot-1.

Judge Fred H. Hazlewood - Manitowoc County Circuit Court

Presided over Avery's December 1985 trial. The jury mistakenly convicted Avery and he sentenced Avery to 32 years in prison. Hazlewood has since retired.

Tom Kocourek - Sheriff of Manitowoc County

In 1985, Kocourek asked that Avery's photograph be used in a photo array shown to the rape victim. Kocourek is later named as one of the defendants in a $36 million federal lawsuit brought forward by Avery.

Judy Dvorak - Manitowoc County Sheriff's Deputy

Visited the rape victim at a local hospital and made up her mind that the rape victim's description of her attacker sounded like Avery. Avery, who was married with several children, had no history of sexual violence at the time.

Gene Kusche - Manitowoc County Chief Deputy Sheriff

Kusche drew the composite that played a key role in Manitowoc County's prosecution of Avery.

Peggy Lautenschlager - Wisconsin's Attorney General in 2003

Directed the Wisconsin Department of Justice to investigate the merits of the 1985 wrongful conviction of Steven Avery. The DOJ released an 18-page report on Dec. 17, 2003, finding "there is no basis to bring criminal charges or assert ethics violations against anyone involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case".

Ryan Hillegas - Ex-boyfriend of Teresa Halbach

Began dating as teenagers during their time at Hilbert High School. They continued dating during Teresa's first couple of years of college.When Halbach disappeared, Hillegas stepped forward to organize a volunteer search effort to find Halbach or her vehicle. The search effort drew more than 120 people.

Dan Kucharski - Calumet County Sheriff's Deputy

Stated in court records that he searched Steven Avery's bedroom on Nov. 8 and that he was present when Manitowoc County Sheriff's Lt. James Lenk located a Toyota ignition key adjacent to a book case.

Pamela Sturm - Second cousin of Teresa Halbach.

Sturm and her daughter, Nikole, found Halbach's locked Toyota RAV4 on the Avery property during an organized search on the morning of Nov. 5. Sturm testified she had never previously set foot on the Avery Salvage Yard in rural Manitowoc County.

Sherry Culhane - DNA expert at the State Crime Lab.

Culhane examined a bullet eventually found under an air compressor in Avery's garage. However, the DNA test administered by Culhane included a contaminated control sample. Culhane told jurors that her own DNA was inadvertently incorporated into a negative control inside the laboratory, which is supposed to be devoid of DNA to validate the test results.

Marc LeBeau - Head of the FBI's chemistry analysis section.

LeBeau testified that he and his staff analyzed blood found in Halbach's SUV and also Avery's blood contained in a vial discovered in an unsecured box kept with files from Avery's 1985 erroneous sexual assault conviction. The blood in the vial had been drawn during Avery's post-conviction motions. LeBeau testified that the blood in Halbach's vehicle did not come from the vial of Avery's blood found inside the clerk of courts office, which is located next door to the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office.

Kenneth Petersen - Sheriff of Manitowoc County in 2005.

In 1985, Petersen incorrectly arrested Avery for the rape Allen committed. Twenty years later, soon after Avery's arrest for Halbach's murder, Petersen told a TV station it would have been "a whole lot easier to eliminate (Avery) than it would to frame him." Petersen retired as sheriff in 2007.

Patrick Willis - Manitowoc County Circuit Judge

Presided over Avery's murder trial, which was held in Calumet County in Chilton. After the jury convicted Avery of Halbach's murder, Willis sentenced Avery to life imprisonment.

Michael O'Kelly - Kachinsky's criminal defense investigator

On behalf of co-defendant Brendan Dassey. Kachinsky employed O'Kelly to interview his incarcerated client in connection with Halbach's murder. The episode was also videotaped by O'Kelly. O'Kelly gave a document to Dassey, who was learning disabled, to fill out. The document stated "I am very sorry for what I did or I am not sorry for what I did. I promise I will never do this again." Dassey was ordered by O'Kelly to write his name inside of one of the two boxes. Both boxes required Dassey to admit guilt and incriminate himself in Halbach's murder.

Tom Fassbender - Investigator for the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation

He and Mark Wiegert, a sergeant at the Calumet County Sheriff's Office, interviewed Dassey in connection with the slaying of Halbach. Fassbender and Wiegert were the key detectives who secured Dassey's arrest and conviction.

Jerome Fox - Manitowoc County Circuit Judge

Presided over the murder trial of 17-year-old Brendan Dassey. In 2007 Fox sentenced Dassey to serve at least 41 years in prison before Dassey is eligible for parole. Fox said Dassey was barely 16 when he raped, killed and mutilated an "exceptional young woman" lured to the scene by Avery, and ignored her pleas for help.

Kathleen Zellner - Chicago attorney

Announced on Jan. 8, 2016 that she will be representing Avery. Zellner aims to overturn his conviction for the killing of Halbach. Zellner is widely known across the country among social justice advocates for her role in overturning convictions for prisoners who were wrongfully convicted of crimes committed by others.

Jodi Stachowski - Steven Avery's fiancée in 2005

Now believes he's guilty of Teresa Halbach's murder. Stachowski, who appeared throughout the docuseries, told HLN Avery was abusive throughout their two-year relationship, and threatened to kill her, her family and a friend. She even goes as far as describing Avery as a “monster.”
Brenday Dassey Trial Witness List

Armentrout, Dr. James - (P) Licensed Psychologist - Day 8 pp. 177-225
Avery, Kayla - (P) Brendan Dassey's Cousin - Day 3 pp. 5-22
Brandt, Susan - (P) Mischicot Middle and High School Counselor Intern - Day 3 pp. 166-172
Culhane, Sherry - (P) Forensic Scientist, Wisconsin State Crime Lab - Day 3 pp.22-123
Dassey, Blaine - (D) Brendan Dassey's Brother - Day 6 pp. 104-128
Dassey, Brendan - (D) Defendant - Day 7 pp. 12-78
Eisenberg, Dr. Leslie - (P) Forensic Anthropologist - Day 4 pp. 49-98
Ertl, John - (P) DNA Analyst, Wisconsin State Crime Lab - Day 2 pp. 130-181
Fassbender, Thomas - (P) Investigator, Special Agent, Wisconsin DOJ, DCI - Day 1 pp. 133-224
Gordon, Dr. Robert - (D) Forensic Psychologist - Day 8 pp. 4-166
Halbach, Katie - (P) Teresa Halbach's Sister - Day 1 pp. 123-132
Halbach, Karen - (P) Teresa Halbach's Mother - Day 1 pp. 102-122
Heimerl, Kevin - (P) Arson Investigator, Special Agent Wisconsin DOJ DCI - Day 2 pp. 40-88
Kornely, Michael - (D) Blaine Dassey's Employer - Day 6 pp. 128-134
Kucharski, Deputy Daniel - (P) Patrol Deputy, Calumet County Sheriff's Department - Day 2 pp. 88-129
Newhouse, William - (P) Firearms and Toolmark Examiner, Wisconsin State Crime Lab - Day 2 pp. 181-218
Olson, Kenneth - (P) Forensic Scientist, Wisconsin State Crime Lab Day - 2 pp. 219-247
O'Neill, Anthony - (P) Detective, Marinette County Sheriff's Department - Day 4 pp. 100-182
Pevytoe, Rodney - (P) Arson Investigator, Special Agent Wisconsin DOJ DCI - Day 4 pp. 11-49
Riddle, Michael - (D) Latent Print Examiner, Wisconsin State Crime Lab - Day 7 pp 79-105
Schoenenberger-Grosse, Kris - (D) School Psychologist, Mischicot School District - Day 6 pp. 70-103
Simley, Dr. Donald - (P) Forensic Dentist - Day 3 pp. 207-232
Stachowski, Jodi - (P) Steven Avery's Fiancée in 2005 - Day 3 pp. 172-180
Stahlke, Nick - (P) Forensic Science Training Coordinator, Wisconsin State Crime Lab - Day 3 pp. 123-165
Sturdivant, Thomas - (P) Arson Investigator, Special Agent Wisconsin DOJ DCI - Day 3 pp. 181-206
Tyson, Sgt. William - (P) Patrol Sergeant, Calumet County Sheriff's Department - Day 2 pp. 5-40
Wiegert, Mark - (P) Investigator, Calumet County Sheriff's Department - Day 4 186-198, Day 5 pp. 4-103, Day 6 pp. 4-61
Here's an initials syllabus:

TH = Teresa Halbach, murder victim
MH = Mike Halbach, brother of Teresa
RH = Ryan Hillegas, ex-boyfriend & friend of Teresa
SB = Scott Bloedorn, Teresa's roommate
PS = Pam Sturm, cousin of Teresa
NS = Nikole Sturm, daughter of Pam Sturm

SA = Steven Avery
BD = Brendan Dassey, nephew of SA
BJ = Barb Janda, Brendan's mother
ST = Scott Tadych, Barb's current husband
BoD = Bobby Dassey, brother of Brendan, son of Barb
KA = Karla Avery, cousin of Brendan Dassey
EA = Earl Avery, brother of Steven Avery
CA = Chuck Avery, brother of Charles Avery
JS = Jodi Stachowski, SA's ex-fiance

LE = law enforcement
KZ = Kathleen Zellner, Avery's new defense attorney
KK = Ken Kratz, former special prosecutor who prosecuted SA for TH's murder
PB = Penny Beernsten, victim of sexual assault in 1985, who mistakenly ID'd Steven Avery as her attacker

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