How Ken Kratz Ruined A Simple Plan
Ryan Hillegas as Teresa Halbach’s killer is the simplest of all possible scenarios, and the only one that really works, and we know by something called Occam’s razor that:
Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected
Why this hasn’t been more obvious is because we’re all carrying around the baggage of Ken Kratz’s wild, improbable theory despite it’s many, many problems. Brendan Dassey is serving a life sentence for making self-incriminating statements. But if he is to be believed, then the murder had to have taken place in either the bedroom or the garage.
But this is impossible because there should have been an over abundance of physical evidence to corroborate his statements. But without Brendan Dassey’s testimony, the case against Steven Avery begins to rapidly fall apart and we are obliged to start over from scratch.
We know that Teresa Halbach was murdered, and that her body was disposed of in a fire. We also know that a significant amount of her blood was found in the back of her 1999 Toyota RAV4 found on the Avery property covered in a few branches and several rectangular boards in an apparent attempt to obscure it.
Let’s pretend for a moment that Teresa was not killed in either Steven’s house or garage. And let’s leave aside for the moment that if this were true the case against Brendan Dassey, already paper thin, evaporates entirely. Maybe we couldn’t say exactly how Steven Avery might have murdered Teresa or even where, but we can be certain that lots of her blood ended up in the back of her own car. No one disputes this. It’ also fairly certain that Teresa was not murdered in her RAV4 owing to the lack of blood evidence anywhere else in the vehicle but in the back trunk area. If she had been killed by either a gun or knife, likely weapons given the quantity of blood that was found, we should expect there to be blood in many areas of the vehicle than just the one area in the back.
If Steven Avery killed Teresa not in, but near his red trailer, what was the point of transporting her body any further away than the burnpit just a few yards away in the backyard where she would eventually end up? But the gouts of matted blood in the back of the RAV4 strongly suggest that he would have had to have made these nonsensical moves.
On the other hand, if Steven killed Teresa away from his house, what point would there have been in loading her body into the RAV4, driving it back to his house, and dumping it in the semi-public backyard fire pit? Given the opportunity, killers almost always move evidence away from the scene of the crime, and away from where they live. Evidence is destroyed as privately as possible, and there’s hardly few places which offer more privacy than a sprawling junkyard on a forty-acre lot. But in this case, all the evidence seems to has either remained right where it was, or it’s been moved closer to the supposed killer. This is precisely opposite is what happens, which makes this scenario just as nonsensical as the one before it.
We do know that the RAV4 was discovered by Pam Sturm on the Avery property at 9:50am, November 5th, 2005 after she spent about thirty minute looking for it. If Steven Avery is the one who threw a couple of branches on the hood, and leaned a few plywood boards against the vehicle did, we can safely assume that he was sincerely hoping that his efforts would be successful in hiding the vehicle despite the very poor job he did because there is no way he could have benefitted by having the vehicle with so much of Teresa’s blood in it discovered.
But if there were no fingerprints in the vehicle, not even Teresa’s, Steven had a very inconsistent attention to detail. For how could all of the finger prints be removed but far more obvious and also incriminating stains of blood be left behind? We must also ask ourselves why Steven Avery was so haphazard in so many ways. If he threw Teresa’s remains onto his burn pit, why did he neglect the very simple precaution of removing the bones offsite once they had cooled?
For that matter, why was the body even burned in the backyard at all instead of the industrial smelter located on the property? And, why was the car not crushed, and rendered into tiny pieces since the salvage yard featured equipment capable of doing exactly this. Or, we might simply ask why Teresa’s vehicle wasn’t driven off the property to a remote location fifty or so miles away in the dead of night rather than only a few meagre yards on the very property where she had last been seen?
Given what we know for sure about the circumstances of the crime, one of these highly unlikely scenarios had to have taken place if we are seriously consider Steven Avery’s guilt. And if we do, we may as well assume that Steven Avery was indifferent to being caught, which once again returns us back to the land of nonsense.
By now, plenty of other suspects have been considered by the public including other members of the Avery clan who lived on or near the property. But if they wanted Steven out of the picture, killing someone else and blaming Steven for the murder seems highly, highly unlikely. It would have been far easier to kill him, just as sheriff Kenny Peterson said, than to kill a relative stranger and then try to pin the murder on Steven (who could have had an alibi at the time for all they might have known), and unlike with Teresa Halbach, a search party, if one would have ever been formed in the first place, wouldn’t have been organized a few days after his disappearance. You would also have to wonder why any Avery would want to frame the one member of the family who was well positioned to bring the entire clan great wealth. Not even Nancy Grace has dared to speculate that Steven Avery was hated by his own family members that they were willing to go against their own self-interest to frame him for murder.
Who does that leave us with? Perhaps the person who Steve Avery’s new defense team lead by Kathleen Zellner and Tricia Bushnell has implicated, the person who was erasing messages on Teresa’s phone? She didn’t come right out and say who that was, but we all know who she was referring to.
The jealous ex should always be considered the first suspect, and not as a distant afterthought. If Ryan Hillegas could intercept Teresa’s phone records and emails, he would have been able to follow her places without her knowing about it.
If we look at Ryan Hillegas, everything becomes much, much simpler, no conspiracy theory needed. The notion that the cops were involved is the one thing that Ken Kratz got right, and, tragically, the defense team got wrong. And it is by promoting this idea that unnecessary complication and confusion are added to the matter.
The simplest and cleanest explanation is that Ryan was a jealous ex who, as jealous exes so commonly do, had access to her private info. The plan he drew up was based on a key insight: Ryan knew that Teresa had gone out to the Avery property on several occasions and therefore knew that it was only a matter of time before she eventually went back again. Ryan either planned to ambush her as she was leaving, or he might have offered to be a chaperone since it was reported that Teresa felt creeped out by him.
As Teresa was leaving the property, or shortly thereafter, she came into contact with Ryan. At some point Ryan killed her, loaded her body in the back of the RAV4, drove her car to the salvage yard using a back road (Ryan was handy with maps, as the documentary showed) burned her body, and then, under the cover of night, dumped her bones in Steven Avery’s backyard. He then had the leisure to go back to the salvage yard over the next few days to wipe his prints, and to plant Avery’s blood which he managed to obtain somehow (possibly in his role as a registered nurse in the area).
Also working in Ryan’s favor was the pending $36 million dollar law suit which gave the sheriff’s office a strong disincentive to look at any one else, and to bat away alternative scenarios. Knowing basic human psychology, it’s not hard to believe that this wasn’t even done on a fully conscious level.
It appears that Ryan made himself a darling to the police during the police effort, so it’s also not hard to believe that he had open channels with law enforcement. And if he didn’t, the Halbach’s certainly did which was nearly the same thing.
I believe that Ryan’s original intention was for investigators to see this as the relatively simple crime that it was. It was only after Ken Kratz got involved, and Brendan Dassey confessed, that there was suddenly a need for a key in the bedroom, or a bullet in the garage. Before that, Ryan had probably hoped that Teresa’s bones in the backyard burn pit, and Steven Avery’s blood in the RAV4 were enough to do the trick.
Brendan Dassey was one of the bigger problems because without being fingered he would have been a powerful witness for the defense. The story he told changed that, but by so doing created its own set of problems, not the least of which was the requirement of some kind of evidence to corroborate what he was telling investigators. This threw a wrench in how Ryan Hillegas had the circumstances surrounding the murder would be interpreted, but not to worry. Despite an ongoing investigation, he would have even greater access to the Avery property after the family was banned, because he go go again at night after law enforcement investigators had gone home.
And by keeping his ear to the ground, Ryan would have known through direct or indirect open channels, what ongoing adjustments he needed to make..