Ken Kratz’s Letter to Steven Avery Reveals Something Important

To believe in Steven Avery’s innocence is to believe that someone must have planted evidence to frame Steven Avery.  There is no way around this as Avery’s blood in Teresa’s Toyota RAV4, to say nothing of the key, the bullet or the bones in the backyard fire pit, could not be plausibly explained any other way. The usual suspects, so far, have been Colborn, and Lenk, and really all of law enforcement in that area, but as I have made clear, I have reason to believe that there is plenty of reason to doubt there involvement as Ken Kratz is a far more likely suspect as the chief, if not the sole, depositor of false evidence.

There is this thing I read about awhile ago called theory of mind (ToM) which, so far as I can tell, boils down to a formal way of describing the ability to get inside someone’s head.  It can be useful too, especially in sorting out what might have motivated a person’s behavior.

During the crime scene investigation at the Avery property, what was going in the minds’ of investigators?  What was going on in Kratz’s mind?  Most importantly, if Steven Avery was framed, did his framer or framers believe that he was the one who actually killed Teresa Halbach?

The letter that Ken Kratz sent to Steven Avery in late 2015, just before Netflix released Making A Murderer, is interesting for more than the usual character traits we have seen so often in the personage Ken Kratz—his steadfast refusal to question the validity of his own beliefs; his oily cupidity; and his overweening smugness—but daring to peer beyond all of that, what the letter seems to reveal is that Kratz really does believe in Avery’s guilt.  If that were not the case, why else would Kratz be urging Avery to come clean about his involvement in Teresa Halbach’s murder?   Yes, Kratz was trying to make a quick buck, but if he knew in his heart of hearts that Avery was innocent, I don’t think he would have been urging Avery, as he did, to tell him the full story.  If this is true, and we consider the totality of the aftermath of all that Kratz wrought, it redeems his character ever so slightly before it, upon even further consideration, damns it yet again.  We can at least take some comfort in knowing that Kratz did not do something as depraved as framing someone he knew to be innocent, but, on the other hand, if, knowing all that we know about the depraved and sick character of Ken Kratz, we know with reasonable certainty that he sincerely believed that Avery was guilty, it is not too difficult to believe that he stepped in to give matters a helping hand.

And if Ken Kratz believed, up until 2015 that Steven Avery was guilty, there are even more staggeringly important things that can be inferred.  For one, he could not, obviously, have also believed that Ryan Hillegas was also guilty, and this also rules out the possibility that there might have been a sinister collusion between Kratz and Hillegas.  By sinister I mean the sort of collusion wherein Kratz knew Ryan to be the killer but pretended all along that it was Steven Avery.  We might also give Kratz the benefit of the doubt by assuming he did not have full knowledge of the extent of Teresa and Ryan’s relationship until sometime well after Ryan’s repeated trips to the salvage yard after it had been cordoned off as a crime scene in November of 2005.  Despite Kratz’s presence at the Avery salvage yard, the job of questioning possible witnesses did not fall within the purview of his official duties as prosecutor, and there is no reason to think he had any reason to ask Ryan Hillegas, Scott Bloedorn, or anyone else whether they had ever been intimately involved with Teresa Halbach.  If Kratz knew anything about Ryan’s relationship with Teresa, it was probably that they were “just friends” as Ryan liked to say, and that was technically true.

I want to get back to the ToM idea for a moment to make, (or at least try to make) a vital connection.  Kratz is a compulsive, pathological liar as has been fairly well established.  I would point out that there is something about about the pattern of the supposed “evidence” against Steven Avery which, in its sheer volume and variety, bears the tell tale signature of his lies.  If we know Kratz to be a liar, and there can be zero doubt about that, what is the one thing that would propel someone accustomed to performing relatively trivial acts of wickedness into crossing a certain mental threshold whereby more consequential and daring acts of turpitude would be attempted?

A high risk tolerance. Some people are risk averse, while others seek their thrills.  So, where, might we surmise, does Ken Kratz fall on this scale?  I would argue, and adduce evidence, even, that Ken Kratz has shown, even in his own words, that his tolerance for risk is very high and in light of this personality trait, I think my argument that Kratz is the likely depositor of false evidence is further bolstered.

Consider, then, Kratz in the words that he sent Stephanie van Groll, a woman who had sought the services of his office after she found herself the victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her boyfriend:

‘Are you the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA … the riskier the better?’

The riskier the better.  Of course, I don’t know what risk there might have been for Ms Van Groll to have a sexual liaison with Ken Kratz, but there was clearly a lot of risk for Kratz, and we know this because it had been exactly these sort of unwelcome texts, along with even more outrageous and immoral acts that caused Kratz to lose just about everything he had: his job, his house, his status, his relationships, and possibly much else.  For a person in his position to send out even a single text of this sort was to court utter ruin.

So, if by now I have convinced you that Kratz was capable of depositing false evidence, the next question is whether Ken Kratz would have colluded with anyone else?  Well, why would he have needed to?  We have to assume he had unrestricted access to the entire crime scene, and that would have included Steven Avery’s trailer and garage.  Even if Kratz had been seen entering any corner of Avery’s property, be it inside or outside, this would not have raised any eyebrows.

Couple this with the fact that Kratz worked out of Calumet County.  As the District Attorney, he would have probably been the person in the highest position of authority there, and therefore had unrestricted access, night and day, to the areas where evidence in pending cases was stored.  That means he would have had access to Steven’s gun, to Steven’s DNA, to pretty much the whole megillah, as they say.

The timing of the discovery of the evidence also comes into play.  If it had all been there all along, you would expect the discovery of one piece or the other to be staggered.  Maybe the bones on day two, maybe the bullet on day nine, the key at some other random time.  But if the evidence was planted more or less at once, then one would expect the discovery of the evidence to happen all at once, and that’s exactly how it happened.

Kratz, in a stroke of sheer, multifaceted, mastermind, criminal brilliance, knew that others would find the evidence that he left behind.   He could then just sit on the sidelines while they took the blame while at the same time confidently, and, as it turns out, accurately claiming that the theory of a conspiracy on the part of law enforcement was patently absurd.

He could fool all of law enforcement while at the same time doing them all great harm by bringing literally global scorn upon them;  He could fool all of those who believe in Avery’s innocence by erroneously getting them to think Lenk and Colborn played a role (and do a great deal to ruin their lives, as well).  And on and on.

In some ways, I kind of feel like I owe the people of Wisconsin an apology.  I think they, more than anyone else, understand that there is something terribly wrong about the prevailing theories concerning the involvement of law enforcement.  It is this reason, probably more than any other reason, that they have resisted what the Netflix Making A Murderer seemed to be implying, or, may actually have been implying.  If something was off about implicating the protectors of their communities, they would have felt it in their gut, they would have known, more than anyone else, that it just wasn’t so.

As I sit here and write this, I fear that I will convince no one, and probably alienate a lot of people, maybe everyone.  Almost everyone who believes in Steven Avery’s innocence believes Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office had a hand in framing Steven Avery.  But I am not of the constitution to be able to play to an audience, even if that audience agrees with me, and even if we might get along swell if I pretend to agree with them.  I don’t expect anyone in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, much less in the sheriff’s department there to read this and find any of it persuasive.  But it’s what makes sense to me, and  and owing to some constitutional infirmity, I go, unswervingly, wherever my powers of ratiocination guide me.

If Ken Kratz planted one piece of evidence, he planted all of it: the bones, the melted phone and camera, the blood, the “hood latch” DNA, they key, and the bullet.  What we’re left with is a Toyota RAV4 in the remotest corner of a salvage yard on the edge of town, and really not much else except for Teresa’s appointments that day, and the murky circumstances surrounding the visit she was paid by her boyfriend the day before.










  • I took it to mean he was gas-lighting him. Like, an abusive man will say to his wife “you and I both know what really happened. It’s sad that you won’t admit the truth and stop making these ridiculous accusations.” He will say this to her when they are alone, even though they both know what REALLY happened. It’s a form of control. It says “I decide what’s real, not you. You have no power to say what really happened, only I do.” That’s what I took from Kratz’s letter to SA, and it made me even more convinced than ever that he knows and has always known he’s innocent. He’s just rubbing his face in it.

    • I considered that possibility, but it seems to me like Kratz is looking for an easy pay day, and that’s what he’s really being motivated by here. If he truly believed in Avery’s innocence he wouldn’t think that he would be able to get Avery to tell the whole story.

  • I think you are on the right track Daniel.

    I follow your blog and have commented before. I brought up the fact that Teresa had an additional Razr cell phone that was recovered at her home and logged as evidence by police…. But is now missing. Hmm. Could Kratz have gotten his slimy hands on that? Yes. Did it end up in the barrel? Maybe. If not- WHERE IS IT???

    I think it is little details like this that can help solve this crime. Kratz had access to the evidence, so it is definitely suspicious. What the hell happened to that phone? Think about it.

    But you are missing a MAJOR piece of this puzzle.

    Colburn calling in the license plate number of the Rav4 on November 3. He called in via phone line instead of over the radio. (link below)

    The way he calls out this license plate number coupled with his demeanor in court leaves no doubt that he was looking at that Rav4. Some people say: How would he know it was a 99 Toyota? Answer: He could easily see the year on the VIN tag on the inside of the door jamb on the driver’s side.

    I have listened to this phone call over and over and you can hear someone in the background saying “the car is here” or something like that. (use headphones). There is a video of that part isolated. Not definitively saying that, but VERY intriguing. Even without that part, I am still convinced that he is looking at the Rav4 during that phone call.

    Is there other evidence that points to police making contact with that Rav4 on November 3? 2 full days before it was “officially” found?


    The police report that documents the seizure of the Rav4 on November 3! (released last summer)

    Should we believe that is a typo???? C’mon.

    And now we know that it is standard procedure to disconnect the battery when the police seize a vehicle. Plus disconnecting the battery would help to hide the brake lights when they later planted the vehicle on the salvage yard. At some point the blood and DNA evidence was planted as well. Seriously, how can there be blood in the vehicle but no fingerprints?? And no blood in the garage where the bullet with Teresa’s DNA on it was? The key? The SPARE key. C’mon now.

    These are not coincidences people!

    Oh and I live in Wisconsin and MANY people here don’t resist the implications of the documentary. No need to apologize.

    • I really appreciate the comment. I too have listened to the audio of Colborn calling in the plates, but I cannot rule out that he had simply called in to confirm what was on the flyer that was widely distributed in the community that had the license plate and vehicle description printed on it. And because I cannot rule that out, I have to default to the simpler explanation of the two as the simpler explanation is usually the correct one (Occam’s Razor). It is also much easier for me to accept one, rather than multiple planters of evidence for the same reason. A facile explanation would be that all of law enforcement in the area was corrupt, and to leave it at that without providing further detail, but if we implicate Kratz, a person who probably didn’t even know either Lenk or Colborn, we are forced to explain why one or the other would have risked involving the other in highly risky, nefarious deeds. Kratz is the seeker of glory here. He is the one who had the most to gain by successfully prosecuting Steven Avery. Kratz is the one with the chequered past, and a string of highly questionable deeds. Both Lenk and Colborn have always struck me as milquetoasts, Mayberry-esque kind of. That impression could well be wrong, but no one has ever come forward to ever describe them as doing anything remotely like the sort of stuff we know Kratz has done and continues to do. And I would return to this: if Kratz had all of the evidence in his possession, and he had unrestricted access to it, and he had as much time with it alone as he desired, why is it necessary to involve Colborn and Lenk? I’m not saying that I’m right, but I think about this matter a lot, and this is the only scenario that I’m satisfied with. It is the only one that allows me to put all of the pieces together. I have scratched my head about all of this for a long time, and it’s only when I put Kratz squarely in the center of it as the grand puppet master does it fall into place. I think the reason people have trouble seeing it, including myself, owes to the sheer audacity of it all. But speaking even to this point, Kratz’s behavior continues to be audacious. He is an audacious man who does audacious things.