On Monday, a Wisconsin judge ordered the release of Brendan Dassey, now 27, whose trial was featured in the much-talked-about Netflix documentary Making a Murderer, The New York Times reported. Dassey was originally convicted for the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. In 2007, Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery, were found guilty in the sexual assault and killing of Halbach. Dassey's conviction was overturned in August, and though the state's attorney general filed an appeal, Monday's decision will allow Dassey to be released for the interim period, and perhaps permanently, depending on how things work out in the long run. But could Dassey go back to prison? According to court documents, his release is contingent on a number of factors.
As NPR noted, court documents indicate that Dassey's release will be supervised by probation officers, and that he must remain in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Though it's unclear when Dassey will be released, The Times noted that once Dassey is released, he's not allowed to obtain a passport, nor will he be allowed to possess weapons or controlled substances. The conditions also stipulate that he be prohibited from making contact with Avery or with Halbach's family. Apparently, Dassey has until Tuesday to provide his intended new address to court.
According to the Associated Press, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said he plans to file an emergency motion to prevent Dassey's release.
It's certainly been a complicated case, with many eyes closely watching, thanks in part to the widespread interest gained from the Making a Murderer documentary.
Judge William Duffin overturned Dassey's conviction in August and indicated that the 27-year-old would be released within 90 days from the date the case was overturned, unless prosecutors filed an appeal, NPR reported. Attorney General Schimel did indeed file an appeal in September, but according to The Times, the decision to release Dassey regardless was due to the fact that authorities "failed to demonstrate that Dassey represents a present danger to the community."
The ruling also stated that Dassey's "prison disciplinary record is exceedingly benign," The Times reported.
It remains to be seen when Dassey will be released, if he'll meet the conditions of his release, or whether the appeal will be successful. As the Huffington Post reported, Dassey's conviction was overturned in a decision in which the judge ruled his initial confession at 16 years old was involuntary. Avery, who was convicted in a separate trial, is currently serving a life sentence for Halbach's murder.