How Ken Kratz Ruined A Simple Plan

Image of Billy Bob Thornton in a Simple plan. He plays a dolt

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..












  • Can you answer some questions?

    I’ve read that Jodi and Scott T were either common law or married after Steve went to jail. Do you know if there is truth to this? I personally suspect Scott and Bobby. If so, could there have been an affair? Scott wanted Steve out of the way?

    I also read that Scott was heard saying something about him putting his laundry in with his step son’s and he stated they were bloody on the weekend she went missing. That seems curious to me. Deflection? It did not specify which son. I also read that Scott has a history of violence against women. Possibly charges?

    I read that Steve’s brother Chucky was found hiding under a pile of clothes. Why? That’s weird. No?
    I often wonder if chucky accidently shot Teresa while rabbit hunting. Possible? I also read that Cadavier dogs hit on his golf cart. Hmmmm.
    Is it true he had a history of child molestation against his own daughters?
    I keep getting bits and pieces of some mysterious German guy. Apparently a woman discovered soiled women’s clothing in her husbands closet. She confronted him and he got cagey. Then she contacted the Sheriff department and they did little about it. Possibly nothing. Anyone else touch upon this?
    Was there any other friends of Teresa’s to come forward with anything against Ryan?


    • I should like to move on to some these questions, perhaps, once I get Ryan Hillegas’ alibi. Till then, I’m going to keep hammering away at that one.

  • I realize you have a lot of research and time invested in this site and your theories, but I’d be interested in your opinion on an alternate theory, one in which Steven Avery did kill Teresa. A lot of the problems with this case come from the fact that people feel compelled to either buy the prosecution’s version of events or reject it completely. I think the truth, along with the most likely explanation, is somewhere in the middle.

    First off, I don’t buy any of the Kratz and Company bunk about the bondage rape scene, the sweaty, sweaty uncle inviting his nephew in for a go at a tied up Teresa, TH having been shot 11 times – followed by a meticulous crime scene scrubbing, or Brendan Dassey’s involvement in the actual murder. That stuff is all ridiculous.

    I also believe that the police planted evidence to secure a conviction against SA and to support their increasingly far-fetched version of events. But that is due to the fact that they were incompetent, rather than complicit in the crime..

    I also believe that Ryan Hillegas had been harassing TH and accessed her voicemail after her disappearance to delete incriminating messages. But not because he killed her. Simply because he knew it would look really bad and he was scared.

    If you listen to the interviews with BD where Kratz’s version of events is corroborated, he is clearly being led by the nose and coerced into supporting the prosecution’s story and timeline. But if you look at BD’s first two interviews with Fassbender and Weigart on February 27th, you get a different scenario and a very different story. One that, to me, sounds not only plausible, but unrehearsed and unprompted. He talks about SA inviting him to the bonfire, where he sees TH’s body. It was not SA’s intention for him to see it, but once he had, SA admitted to having killed her and threatened to kill BD if he told anyone.

    This version of events doesn’t rely on anyone planning an elaborate, jilted lover revenge scenario and presents a fairly reasonable sequence of events where almost everyone acts in a believable manner. It still doesn’t explain WHY Steven Avery would kill TH, but it does explain how and it squares with the believable physical evidence (not the stuff planted by police). That Ryan would stalk TH (unseen by any witnesses) to the Avery lot, somehow intercept her after she left (unseen), burn her remains at some remote location, sneak her bones back onto the Avery property (again, unseen), plant her car on the lot, and then take a central role in finding the car, all while speaking to the media about wanting to find her… seems less likely than Steven Avery assaulted TH and ended up killing her.

    I’m happy to discuss the evidence if you want.

  • I have not watched the documentary yet so excuse me if my questions were answered there.
    Did the handcuffs and leg irons have DNA on them and was there any residue or fibers from the rope, that the victim was allegedly tied with, ever found?
    The nephews chain of events seems to have too many details in that stabbing and slit throat followed by 3 minutes of strangling I can swallow but then tied her limp body with rope, why, putting the body in her car, plausible, only yo remove the body and place it on the garage floor then go get a .22 and return to shoot the body 10 times does not make sense as there are too many unnecessary actions?
    Any enlightenment on these questions out there?

    • I just watched a Jerry Buting (Avery’s defense attorney in the case) on AOL talk about this very thing.

      The ‘handcuffs’ were pink fluffy novelty sex toys. There are pictures of them on the internet.
      There was DNA from someone on them, but not Teresa’s.

      Here’s the whole interview if you’re interested. But would strongly suggest you watch Making a Murderer first.

    • You have to get inside the mind of a prosecutor. How do these people make a name for themselves? What are their ultimate ambitions? I don’t believe that the cops planted evidence (though I believe there’s an outside chance that it’s possible), but I do believe that KK saw this as the moment that offered the possibility to go further in his career. He basically saved that town from near ruin, and I think, had the sex scandal not occurred, he could have become the mayor, a state representative, or something even more important if he wished. All of the questions that he world now has about the case were inconveniences to him at the time. And whenever something was starting to appear to raise concerns, he was able to employ misdirection to look at some other card that he’s just taken out of his sleeve. This basic strategy is the same one he is still using today on shows like Nancy Grace. Of course, unlike much of the rest of the public who believe in AVery’s guilt, she is in on it. Kratz will insist that the documentarians left out a bunch of evidence, and it’s always a lot for good measure, and then will claim that no one wants to talk about it.

      To make a brief digression, this piling on of evidence is de rigueur for KKK and all American prosecutors as a routine matter of basic strategy. It wouldn’t occur to an ordinary person to accuse of another of spilling blood if they’d only spilled milk, but it would to a prosecutor, in addition to spilling beans and guts. By the end of the ordeal you’ll end up thanking the bastard because you’ll eventually serve time with some unlucky soul who did twenty to life for spilling less milk. That’s how fucked up things are right now in the land of the free and home of the brave where children are sent to jail for not pulling their pants up.

      At the same time, KK sagely avoids addressing the things that are nonsensical if his theory is to be believed. You listed several of them yourself. KK is telling us to trust him, and not our own senses. OUr suspicions of AVery’s innocence are baseless, as if the “excluded” evidence he seizes every opportunity to trot out should somehow explain away the weaknesses of the old. I would urge everyone to see this as the affront that it is because who the hell is Ken Kratz to tell us that we shouldn’t trust our senses, or our logic, or our misgivings about, oh, say, no blood of Teresa’s in the garage or the bedroom? The infernal cheek of a charlatan seems to have no bounds.

      Complicating all of this, or, I should say worsening it, is the fact that the documentarians, Demos and Ricciardi perhaps being of a liberal, brahminic bent, are staying high above the fray as is the wont of their ilk and basically leave KK to wreak as much havoc as he pleases. In a nutshell that’s how we ended up with a president like George W Bush, and I pull the goddamn hair out of my head almost every day wondering when they’re going to put up a fight. So it’s left up to me, the felon, to tell the world that KK and his wicked hoplites need to be stopped.

  • Here is an article from 11/13/2005 when Ryan was staying at the Halbach rental home to keep an eye on things:

    A few interesting quotes:

    *”She always seemed to be one of those people who knew what to tell you,” Hillegas remembered. “I’m going to miss most just being able to sit down with her and talk. She was the person I’d go to for relationship advice. She provided my girl perspective on things and I feel like a real jerk for lying about the RAV4 and working with the MCSD and Mike Halbach on the cover up and the web of lies we continue to perpetuate.”


    *”I think she liked the freedom it gave her,” Hillegas said. “She’d dance and point and play the character of the person in the song. We’re all going to do a karaoke in her honor and I am going to sing about how bad I feel about my direct involvement in her murder and my role in the cover up. There is no way 10 years from now a super popular documentary will be released on Netflix that will cast suspicion on me, so I know I will get away with what I have done. Gee, it sure is nice here in Wisconsin today. Thanks for writing this story about us.”

    *some of these quotes may be doctored.

    Really hard hitting stuff here guys. =)

  • I’m sure you’re already aware but SA has a new defense team from Chicago… And they hinted they have new evidence and they didn’t mention by name but they said it points to the “person who hacked into her phone records as either the perp. or at least in on the whole thing.”

  • Your Ryan H theory has more assumptions, BY FAR, than any theory involving Avery. Under Occam’s Razor theory, Avery is far and away the most logical suspect.

  • I think that RH is a very plausible suspect but for this scenario to make even more sense (even less assumption) the Manitowoc SD would be involved. I think it may have gone down similar to how you described up until the planting of evidence. We don’t have to assume that MCSD had acces to SA’s blood somehow. We know they did and there’s evidence that the box containing the blood and possibly the vial of blood itself was tampered with. We don’t have to assume they snuck back to SA’s to plant a key. They were already right there at the scene of the crime from the beginning. A MCSD deputy actually “found” the key after the room had already been torn apart multiple times.

    The likely scenario in my mind is that law enforcement found the bones and car and felt they could not connect SA to the actual murder so they planted evidence to prove it was him. It made absolute sense to them that this “horrific” man did it and the thought of him getting away with murder was not fathomable. They did search after search with no evidence turning up so as a last ditch effort they decided to “help the investigation” out a bit by planting unquestionable, undeniable evidence of SA’s involvement. Fear of the pending civil suit settlement and how it would devastate their county was motive as well. The extreme they went to to convict this man of the rape of PB when there was evidence proving someone else may have done it, then denying after he was fully exonerated that he is actually innocent shows just how much disdain they held for this man. After they were humiliated with SA’s exoneration their hatred of him grew and there was no way they were going to let him wreak any more havoc on Manitowoc County.

  • Ryan Hillegas has been my number 1 since the start. He got off way too easily.

  • From the article of what the prosecution believes happens

    “Seeing that she was still alive, Avery choked Halbach for two or three minutes, Brendan Dassey told police, then went into the bathroom to wash. The two unshackled Halbach’s limp body, tied her up with rope and carried her to the garage. They then placed the body in the cargo area of Halbach’s car.

    Avery told Dassey he planned to dump the body in a pond on the salvage yard. But the pond was dry, and Avery decided instead to burn the body in a fire pit behind the garage. A fire already smoldered in the pit.

    Before carrying her to the pyre, Avery lay Halbach on the garage floor and walked to his house for his .22 semi-automatic rifle. He then fired 10 rounds into Halbach’s body.

    Using Dolores Avery’s golf cart, the two collected old tires, brush and a wooden cabinet to place in the fire as the body burned.”

    After stabbing and strangling Halbach, why take her to garage to shoot her if you plan on burning her? Why not just take her to directly to fire pit and shoot her there? Also, why the total overkill? Usually, overkill is from a personal relationship. Also, why anymore than two when it could bring possible unwanted attention of who the hell is shooting up the yard?

    Also, about finding just her car key. What about her other keys? NO ONE carries just a car key. So if he managed to get rid of all her other keys, and just forgot about the most important one? This case is crazy. The more you learn about this case, the less sense everything makes.

  • I’m sure you’ve seen this, but in case you haven’t.

    • Thanks for sharing that one. Gleened a lot!
      – Ryan said he called Theresa on the 1st. NO calls on the phone record, just from Chicago
      – Ryan accessed her computer (at home?); was it password protected? Where is it now?
      – swab DNA was collected from SAvery by a nurse – where is this sample? Chain of custody matter. Hood latch…
      – The recent mention of ax-man Martinez goes back to at least 2006 with an accusation by SAvery himself

      And the BIG one:
      Brendan Dassey’s biological father (divorced when Brendan was 2) married SAvery’s ex-wife LORI.
      I wondered what happened to her and Steve’s kids. They didn’t go very far, and in fact were still somewhat in the picture if at arm’s length, through Brendan and Bobby.

      Think about that one for a moment. Out of all the gin joints in the world….. (Casablanca)

  • Are you still on location? This is my new favorite blog! Keep up the awesome posts