In the fervor surrounding the Netflix documentary series, Making a Murderer, thousands of people have begun to question whether justice was actually served in the murder case against Steven Avery. The 10-part documentary series follows Avery’s 2005 conviction for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach, raising troubling allegations of misdeeds by the Manitowac County Sheriff’s Office. But for several people close to the case, the facts remain quite clear. For example, what Teresa Halbach's family thinks of Making a Murderer hasn't changed since they released a statement last month. Given the trauma of losing Halbach, the series probably won't affect their views of Avery — regardless of any mishaps that happened in the case.
So far, several people connected to Avery’s defense have commented on the project’s popularity, but not many from the victim’s side have spoken out. Halbach’s brother, Mike Halbach, is a prominent voice in the documentary, but he has been silent about the viral success of the series. In a statement released in mid-December by Wisconsin ABC-affiliate WQOW, the family framed the series as turning their daughter's death into entertainment driven by financial gain:
Having just passed the 10-year anniversary of the death of our daughter and sister, Teresa, we are saddened to learn that individuals and corporations continue to create entertainment and to seek profit from our loss. We continue to hope that the story of Teresa’s life brings goodness to the world.
It isn’t surprising that the Halbachs would take that position, given their relationship to the series. Filmmakers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi told Vulture magazine that the Halbach family knew about the project, but weren’t interested in participating:
We invited the Halbach family to participate in the film, and we had coffee with Mike Halbach, the official spokesperson for the family, to discuss the idea, but they decided not to participate. So we filmed Mike at all the press conferences that he held, but that was the extent of our interaction with him.
Of course, the invitation from Demos and Ricciardi likely came when the pair began working on the series in 2005, following Avery’s arrest for Halbach’s murder. Since the Halbach family's comments in December, tens of thousands of viewers have formed strong opinions about the case based on the details available in the series. So, it would be interesting to hear the family’s take on the many Making a Murderer fan theories that have cropped up — not to mention the 300,000 people who’ve signed petitions calling for Avery’s immediate release.
Still, it’s clear that the massive popularity of the project — and the renewed interest in the case against Avery — means that the family is forced to relive the painful details surrounding Halbach’s death. Even after 10 years, it must be difficult to hear that people are rallying around Avery and questioning facts the family might have finally put to rest. While fans of the show may all wonder what they have to say about the viral success of Making a Murderer, the Halbach family is certainly justified in keeping silent.
Image: Making a Murderer/Netflix